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Then she demonstrates the proper blading position, leaning forward, butt out, feet gliding. Soon we figure out that holding hands is our most comfortable position.Graham loves imagining the thoughts of passersby who glimpse our intertwined fingers.“To not see black or Latina women as famous in my industry is crazy! I want to give those women kudos because they are the ones who paved the way for me.” ’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” She never appeared on the cover of a major fashion magazine.One elite photographer ran out of a shoot screaming, “ ‘I am not shooting this fatty! “Being the first one, I had a lot of pies thrown in my face.“They’ll be like, ” Sure enough, we get an obligatory construction-worker catcall.Later, I will run into a lesbian friend and tell her about my day of Graham and Rollerblades and sweaty hand-holding. That’s not to say that today’s crop of top models is devoid of fun personalities (Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, the Instagram powerhouses of Kendall Jenner and Gigi and Bella Hadid).
“Now this is a bitch right here, the brick,” she says, showing me how to lift up my knees to get over uneven surfaces.
“I was with an agent who told me, ‘You’re not a cover girl,’ and I took that as, ‘Okay, he’s right,’ ” she says.
“Then I went to an agency” — IMG — “that said, ‘Why aren’t you?
But I’m so proud of Ashley blowing it all up for the next generation so people could go, ‘You know what? ’ ” 100, Graham went to the Met Gala for the first time, in a stunning couture gown from H&M, with a fitted bustier and burst of red tulle at her shoulder. ’ ” Once inside, she hung out with Kim Kardashian West, who picked spinach out of Graham’s teeth, then recruited Serena Williams to take a picture of her with Graham.
“Rihanna said I looked ‘hot as fuck,’ ” says Graham. Graham actually had been “on hold” (a prelude to an invitation) for the Met Gala the year before but ended up staying home. “You can’t just show up in jeans and a T-shirt.” She insists it’s just because she didn’t have the right designer relationships and there hadn’t been enough time to get a custom gown (at the time she was convinced it was because her husband made the faux pas of hugging Anna Wintour not long before the gala), but likely a factor was that Graham is well out of sample-size range.