Karen Fratti
April 22, 2017 3:22 pm

Making Time‘s Most Influential People list is an accomplishment in and of itself. When the blurb is written by an admiring colleague, like Tyra Banks’ tribute to Ashley Graham in this year’s issue, it means even more. Banks basically anointed her fellow model the Queen of Beauty with her short, sweet, and simple description of why Graham deserved the honor. Banks wrote:

“It is time for everyone to bow down to the fashion industry’s — no, make that beauty’s —new queen.”

You think Beyoncé will mind that there’s a new queen in town? We think not. Banks played with her words, too, because we all know how good she is at that. (Are you smizing yet?)

“Every word she speaks shouts to all who lack faith in their reflections. Every Graham of her body embraces anyone who ever doubted themselves,” Banks wrote. The tribute was all about Graham breaking into fashion as a supermodel, helping our culture redefine what it means to be “plus size,” and questioning whether we really even have to differentiate sizes into separate categories or not. Banks said that Graham stirred the pot to make sure everyone knew that “all of our beauty matters.”

PREACH.

Graham calls herself a “body activist,” and we have to agree with that description since she’s always taking on commenters and standing up for body positivity. Just this winter, some people were upset at a Vogue cover, where she’s posing with other models including Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, and her hand is the only one propped on her leg. Social media users just assumed that Vogue had made her “cover up” or tried to make her leg look skinner.

Graham said, “I chose to pose like that..no one told me to do anything.” Case closed.

She’s also responded in the past to people complaining that magazines, like Sports Illustrated, photoshop her and to complaints that she’s either too curvy or not curvy enough to really be a “plus-size” model. All of which Graham handles with grace and candidness, but remaining firm in her stance that we should all probably just stop using “plus size” altogether and accept all bodies, of all shapes and sizes, on our magazine covers and in department stores.

Just putting that idea out into the world is worthy of an award. Keep spreading the good word, Ashley!

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