Ashely Graham stunned at the 2017 Met Gala in a figure hugging, red mermaid-style dress that personified the dancing fiesta woman emoji. The couture gown was custom designed for the brunette model by H&M, hugging her envious curves in all the right places. Last year's Gala however, was a different story.

The model appears on the autumn cover of New York Magazine in (quite literally) head to toe leopard print, where she explained: "I couldn't get a designer to dress me. You can't just show up in jeans and a T-shirt."

Graham explained that she had not developed close enough relationships with designers to warrant having a custom dress designed for her. While other Hollywood models and actresses who are smaller sizes can wear samples from designers that are off the runway, generally speaking, there are not samples designed for larger body-types.  

Graham is a strong advocate and poster girl for body diversity in media. In March she appeared on the cover of US Vogue, making her the first model of her size to appear on the magazine's cover in the publications 125 year history.

"This is the thing," Graham tells the magazine, "I know I'm paving the way for the next generation of girls, and they're not going to have to do this. That's what I hope. I'll take the brunt work and just handle it, and then you guys can just sail right on through."

@NYMag

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Why didn’t Ashley Graham attend the Met Gala last year?