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Ashley Graham never saw her breakout moment coming.
“I always felt second best. I was never the prettiest, never the skinniest, never the fastest in my sports. Never the smartest, because I have dyslexia. Then, all of a sudden, people were like, ‘You’re gorgeous.’ And I was like, ‘What?!'” the supermodel revealed in the October issue of Self.
While Graham, 28, has come out of her shell and taken the fashion industry by storm since then, the brunette bombshell admitted she often second-guessed her self-worth, which pushed her toward abusive relationships.
“I dated all the wrong men. I thought I could feel appreciated in my body through guys,” she said. “… [My ex] never hit me, but he did throw me up against a wall. I didn’t know to get out then because I was so insecure.”
Graham eventually found her fairy-tale ending with husband Justin Ervin, though the pair never slept together until their wedding night.
“I was like, ‘Look, I’m not having sex ’till I’m married.’ And he was like, ‘Great! Let’s not.’ We stuck to it. [On our Jamaican honeymoon], we had sex all the time for, like, 10 days,” Graham shared.
With a stable relationship and an explosive career, Graham doesn’t take her success for granted. In fact, her work is far from finished.
“I’m trying to change how women think about themselves. Some people just don’t get it — I’ve been denied jobs because I was too big. I’ve also been denied jobs because I was too small,” she explained. “At the end of the day, I’m never going to conform to what anybody wants. This is my body; I’m happy in it.”