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For Love You Body week, we're sharing words of wisdom from Ashley Graham: a supermodel, author and body-positive activist who has been outspoken about redefining standards in the fashion industry and sharing honest images on social media. She's appeared on the covers of Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Self and many more. She even has her own Barbie!
I have had a love-hate relationship with my cellulite. But that's why I put it on Instagram.
The more you're vulnerable with the people you are sharing with, the easier it is to love who you are. So that's why I always tell women: Just be who you are. Don't retouch your photos. Talk to yourself in the mirror. It's only going to change your attitude toward your body.
At the end of the day, we are all created equally. We cannot put each other in labels. We have to learn to grow together and work together.
I don't want to be placed in a category just because of the number inside of my pants.
And I don't want to be told that I'm not good enough or pretty enough because I have cellulite. My cellulite is pretty cute.
I've always been a mentor in a sense because I'm the oldest of three girls. All of my fans and the women who follow me, I just consider them my sisters. If all it takes is me just telling my personal story and talking about the hurdles I've had to go through, then I'm happy to share it.
When you put a photo that's unretouched on Instagram and then you get people saying, "You're fat," "You're a hippo," "You're making fat cool and you're going to kill someone" — a real comment that I'll never forget — you get a few of those and then you get a lot of the good comments. Women and men are saying, finally, I'm seeing someone who looks like me when I look in the mirror.
Confidence isn't something you're born with; it's something you have to work on. Over time, I've really just looked in the mirror and told myself:
You are bold. You are brilliant. You are beautiful.
And I say, "I am." Because anything that I say "I am" after, is.
As told to TODAY's Emily Sher.
This article was originally published on Dec. 22, 2016 on TODAY.com.