Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie Ashley Graham didn’t always have it easy when it came to love.
The 29-year-old plus-size model and body activist got candid about dating in her new book, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like,” which released on May 9th.
The June issue of Glamour Magazine published an exclusive essay from her memoir where Graham described her romantic woes as an up-and-coming model.
“Four months into our knowing each other, my now husband, Justin (Ervin), said, ‘I really like you, and I really want to be your boyfriend. Will you be my girlfriend?’ I said yes,” explained Graham. “But the truth is, I wasn’t sure. One reason: Our first kiss was terrible (To this day Justin says I’m the worst kisser he ever met and that he had to teach me how to kiss).”
As for the other reason, Graham revealed when she started dating at age 16, her first boyfriend of three months broke up with her because she wouldn’t have sex with him said she was going to be as fat as his mom. This resulted in Graham dating anyone who found her attractive for a much-needed self-esteem boost.
“I lost my virginity to a guy I barely knew because he gave me compliments like, ‘Ashley, you look really pretty today,’ or ‘I like when you wear your hair like that,’” she said. “When I left Nebraska to start my modeling career in New York City, my dates followed a similar pattern: A guy took me out, then we had sex, then I wouldn’t hear from him again.”
Graham decided to join a church where she encountered someone who asked her out, but only proved to be another major disappointment. So when it came to dating Justin, the couple chose to abstain so they could focus on their budding romance instead.
“My romance with Justin was innocent and sweet,” explained Graham. “He cooked for me. We went rollerblading and biking; we did karaoke, went to the movies, took an improv class together. Because we weren’t sleeping together — for Justin, abstinence was a firm commitment to his faith — we never tempted ourselves by going over to each other’s apartments late at night. But we’d go to late movies or take walks through the city together.”
Despite the many ups and downs Graham faced with her beau, including her grandmother’s initial disapproval of the biracial relationship, the couple endured — and the wait proved to be worth it all.
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SOURCE: Fox News Entertainment – Stephanie Nolasco
In her new book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like, Ashley Graham opens up about her relationship with Justin Ervin.
In an excerpt released by Glamour, Graham explains she met Ervin, who is African-American at church. She also reveals she initially didn’t think she would go out with him because he was not her ‘type.’
“I joined a church. I didn’t go there to find a boyfriend; I truly wasn’t looking for anyone other than the person I wanted to be,” Graham wrote. “One Sunday, my volunteer position was to stand in the elevator welcoming people, passing out candy, and pushing the button to the eighth floor. When two tall men walked in, I didn’t bat an eye. One nudged the other and said, ‘If you don’t talk to her, I will.’ His friend left the elevator, but he stayed on. I shrugged. This guy wasn’t my type. With his short hair, ill-fitting, baggy Old Navy jeans, white Hanes T-shirt, and Converse sneakers, he exuded a major nerd factor. But there was something sweet about Justin, and I was at church, so I had to be polite. He rode up and down with me a few times, and he seemed to be looking into my soul when we talked. He was smart and funny and had traveled the world. So I agreed to go out for coffee.”
Following the date, Graham brought Ervin home to meet her family. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover star was shocked by the cold reception her new boo received:
“I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was black,” she said. “I naively hoped everyone would be color-blind—which is not what happened. When my grandparents met Justin, my grandmother was cordial but cold. She greeted him and immediately walked away. When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, ‘Tell that guy I said goodbye.’ I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock.”
But Ervin was nothing but kind to her family, and eventually, they did accept him.
“As if his understanding wasn’t generous enough, Justin called my grandmother on her sixtieth wedding anniversary,” she wrote. “He’s not a texter or an emailer; he’s a pick-up-the-phone-and-call-you person, and anniversaries are a big deal to him. Afterward Grandma called my mom and said, ‘You’ll never guess who called me.’ And from then on out, she loved him. Loved him.’”
In the end, love prevailed.
SOURCE: The Grio