GB Book Club Review: A New Model by Ashley Graham

We hope you enjoyed reading our second GB Book Club pick “A New Model “by Ashley Graham! We loved seeing your discussions on our GB Book Club Facebook Group and we hope you enjoyed the book as much as we did. We’ve got the final word from your host Brittany Gibbons – read on to get her review and keep an eye out for what we’re reading next! 

Review by Brittany Gibbons

Spoiler alert: I am not a model.

I know, my bone structure is insane, but alas, gravity and egg rolls have had other plans for me.

But, that has- in no way- excluded me from deliciously diving into the life and past of plus size supermodel, Ashley Graham.

A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty & Power Really Look Like by Ashley Graham is the second Gwynnie Bee Book Club selection, and I have spent the last few weeks enjoying every page.

It’s hard not to know who Ashley Graham is, these days. Everyone seems to have something to say about her, whether its critics who judge her for size, or activists who do the same. But, it’s about those controversial people that I enjoy reading the most, especially when it’s comes as a firsthand account.

As I started the book, I had to remind myself a few times, the only people that look like models are models. That is to say, they are not representative of anyone, even thin women don’t see themselves in the pages of magazines or on runways, and plus size models haven’t entirely strayed from the concept. Plus size models represent the most societally pleasing version of my body. Would I love “Ashley problems?” Yes, yes I would. I would also love her wardrobe.  But that doesn’t discount her experiences reaching the career milestones she has.

“No matter your size, you are a sexy goddess. Remember that.”

If I could just have someone following me around reminding me of that every morning when I’m late for work and school drop-off and brush my teeth with my finger on the way in, that would be great.

But, in all seriousness, this is a really simple statement that lends itself to a much more important issue. Plus size women are not only not portrayed as sexy outside of fetishes or cartoons, but they never get any messaging showing them that “sexy” is a feeling they are entitled to.

As women, we are inherently strong and sexy in our own right, it’s ours to control and feel as we see fit. It’s not awarded to us by anyone; not trolls on the internet, and certainly not society.

“My (Cellulite) Revolution.”

This chapter name alone is one of my favorite things about this book. Can I call dibs on renaming my first book “My (Cellulite) Revolution: A Totally Original Memoir About my Thighs?”

I don’t think I could name a single woman in my life who doesn’t remember waiting in line at the grocery store next to gossip magazines featuring picture of celebrities in bathing suits with their faces blurred out, making fear inducing exclamations about cellulite.

Instead of seeing that and thinking, “wow, these celebrities are so much more relatable,” we were directed to see them as failures and flawed, even in the face of our own matching flaws.

Ashley Graham is one of a group of women out there every day showing young girls and women her body, and the reason that is important is because for many of them, it’s the first time they are seeing anything that even so much as resembles themselves.

Normalizing women’s’ bodies is needed and necessary, and watching candid Ashley do that on television and Instagram is important.

“Food FOMO.”

Listen, I loved reading about Ashley’s life, the people who tore her down, the agents who tried to get her to diet, and the stylists who rigged clothes to her body. I was so excited every time her success blew past one of them.

But the concept of food FOMO hit me hard.

I grew up poor, and as a result, I am food protective. I don’t share food, I clean my plate, and I get quite a bit of anxiety when food is being served, and concern about it running out before it gets to me.

This resulted in a pretty unhealthy relationship with food. I wasn’t even enjoying it; I was just racing through it.

Fixing that (it’s a process and I’m not at the end of it), has greatly impacted my personal body journey in a really positive way. It became less about filling a space, and more about enjoying the experience. Learning to love food because it’s good and not because it’s scarce has given me so much more freedom to focus on what I want, and not what I think I need, and that translates to everything in my life.

What did you think of A New Model? What parts resonated with you, or hit a nerve? What is your Ashley Graham take-away?

Comment below or join the discussion on our GB Book Club Facebook Group.