LIFESTYLE
01/06/2015 07:02 BST | Updated 01/06/2015 07:59 BST

'Rolls, Curves, Cellulite... I Love Every Part Of Me': Ashley Graham's TEDTalk Can Teach The World A Lot About Body Confidence

It's not often you hear a woman stand in front of a mirror and compliment her own appearance, but that's exactly what happened when model and body image activist Ashley Graham took to the stage to deliver an inspiring TEDTalk on body confidence, the power of self-acceptance and why she rejects the term "plus size".

Standing in front of a full-length mirror on stage she said to herself: "You are bold, you are brilliant and you are beautiful. There is no other woman like you."

But she didn't stop there. While most women are preconditioned to berate their reflection, Graham has nothing but good things to say about her appearance.

"Back fat? I see you popping over my bra today, but that's alright I'm going to choose to love you. And think thighs? You are just so sexy you can't stop rubbing each other. That's alright. I'm going to keep you," she added.

"And cellulite, I have not forgotten about you. I'm going to choose to love you even though you want to take over my whole bottom half. You're a part of me and I love you."

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But Graham hasn't always been so comfortable in her own skin.

Growing up in Nebraska, she was known as "the fat model - the girl who was pretty for a 'big girl'". She says that people would raise their eyebrows when she told them she was a model and her confidence was knocked.

"I would go home and stand in front of the mirror and only hate what I saw," she admits. “My body, like my confidence, has been picked apart, manipulated and controlled by others who didn’t necessarily understand it.”

It was only when she started defining her own beauty, independent of society's restrictions, that she learnt to accept herself.

"I felt free once I realised I was never going to fit the narrow mould that society wanted me to fit in. I was never going to be 'perfect enough' for an industry that defines perfection from the outside in."

As a result, Graham is critical of the use of the term "plus size". She notes that in the US, the term "plus size" relates to any model between a US size 8-16, the equivalent of 12-20 in UK, which she rightly points out includes a lot of women.

"The fashion industry might persist to label me as 'plus size', but I like to think of it as 'my size'," she said.

Well said.