See more of plus-size model Ashley Graham in Madison Plus's Exclusive Ashley Graham Issuu. Photo: Erick Basilio for Madison Plus

Kate Moss who?

Ashley Graham
is the model everyone is talking about, thanks to the controversy over her allegedly censored lingerie commercial for Lane Bryant. As we reported earlier, the plus-size retailer claims the ad was nixed by ABC and Fox for exposing too much cleavage, while an equally racy Victoria's Secret spot -- featuring willow-thin models -- got preferential airtime.

So how does the full-figured model feel about all the fuss and becoming the new face of the pro-curves movement?

StyleList has all the details in this exclusive interview with the 22-year-old Lincoln, NE, native.

StyleList: Did you have any inkling that the Lane Bryant ad would be so controversial when you shot it?
Ashley Graham: I had no idea. I was excited to be doing a commercial for Lane Bryant and promoting curvier women to feel free in their bodies! I was extremely shocked to hear the news, considering all the press that the plus industry has been getting lately. I think the ad is beautiful and very tasteful.

SL: How do you feel about the subsequent censorship controversy, ABC's charges that it's a publicity stunt, and the Victoria's Secret Nakeds ad running freely?
AG:
It's a double standard. The Victoria's Secret models can look amazing in their commercials, why can't we? Our "assets" are just a little bigger. Does it make that big of a difference?

SL: What do you think about the current trend of celebrating curves? Is it a welcome change, or do you worry that it's a gimmick that will fade away?
AG:
I feel fashion is changing and is finally ready to accept a variety of sizes. There has been so much press on this issue, so it's a big issue. Women want to feel empowered, and the mass interest on this issue is slowly but surely bringing about change.

I feel the current trend of celebrating curves is not just a gimmick that is going to fade away. Curves are in, and they are here to stay, along with celebrating all women of every size and shape!

SEE ASHLEY IN THE LANE BRYANT COMMERCIAL



SL: What sort of response from the public have you had since the Lane Bryant ad?
AG:
A very positive response! Women and men love the Lane Bryant commercial and were also shocked to hear about it being banned. People want to see the commercial. Women at every size want to see "themselves" on TV.

SL: Why is it important to see curvier women in their lingerie or as sex symbols?
AG:
It's very important to see all sizes of women in lingerie. All women are different and so are their bodies -- every single one should be praised! I know that women who are in the same size bracket as I am would want to see a woman like them feeling confident in her skin on television. It's sending a message of body acceptance and changing the idea of what beauty is "supposed to be."

SL: What do you say to critics who say the plus-size look isn't healthy?
AG:
I'm wondering what their idea of healthy is. I'm a size 16. I work out 2 to 3 times a week and eat a balanced diet. What makes me not healthy? Everybody has a different viewpoint of what is healthy and what isn't, but if you're taking care of yourself then that's all that should matter.

Ashley Graham poses for Madison Plus's Exclusive Ashley Graham Issuu. Photo: Erick Basilio for Madison Plus

SL: Who are your fashion role models/style icons?
AG:
I turn to my best friend Crystal Renn for all my styling! She is a style icon, and I can't get enough of her effortless and chic style. We go shopping all the time, and I'm always picking up a new tip or two from her.

SL: Have you ever had a negative experience at a model casting because of your size?
AG:
No, I've never had a negative experience with any casting/job. Curves are becoming more and more accepted in the fashion industry, and I don't see this floating away anytime soon either.

SL: How did you get into modeling?
AG:
I was at the Omaha mall in Nebraska when a man from a local agency asked if I wanted to become a model... the rest is basically history from there.

SL: What's next for you?
AG:
So many doors are opening that I can't wait to explore! The fascinating thing about my job is that new things are popping up every day! So watch out, you'll be seeing more of me!

In meanwhile, read more about the plus-size debate.