Ashley Graham Makes a Startling Confession About Past Abuse

Ashley Graham is opening up about her past experience with sexual assault.

In her latest cover story with Glamour, the 29-year-old reveals she was once cornered by a man who exposed himself to her. The Sports Illustrated model — who, in A New Model, wrote about being forced to touch a penis by an older family friend when she was 10 — claims the incident happened on the set of a photo shoot when she was just a teenager.

“There was an incident on set of a campaign job when I was 17 years old—I haven’t told this story—and there was a photo assistant who was into me. He was like, ‘Hey, come here,’ and he led me into a closet. And I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was going to show me something. And he pulled me in, and he pulled his penis out,” she remembers. “And he was like, ‘Grab it.’ And I was like, ‘No! That’s disgusting.’ I freaked out. And thank God I was closer to the door, and I just bolted out.”

Ashley Graham Glamour Cover
CREDIT: Nathaniel Goldberg

According to Ashley, she still sees the man from time-to-time due to the nature of their jobs. To this day, she struggles with the decision on whether or not to tell people about his past behavior.

“And sure enough, I’ve seen him at jobs since. I even knew a girl he dated,” Ashley continues. “I didn’t tell her because there was a voice in me that said, ‘Maybe he’s changed.’ It was my young mentality. But I told myself, ever since that incident, that I wasn’t going to allow someone at work to manipulate what I wanted to do on set. So any image that you see out there is one that I wanted to take.”

Ashley Graham Glamour Cover
CREDIT: Nathaniel Goldberg

In the same interview, Ashley also recalls a traumatizing experience with an ex that inspired her to practice abstinence before marriage. Though she’s now happily married to cinematographer Justin Ervin, Ashley admits she hasn’t always had a healthy, sexual relationship with men.

“There was a point in my life where I had dated a terrible guy. Our whole relationship was based on sex. And I was letting him dictate who I was by his behavior, drinking problem, and abuse,” she shares. “One night he chased me around the kitchen with a butcher knife, and I ran into the bathroom and called my mom. I feared for my life. I was like, ‘He’s going to slice my face open and I’m not going to have a career.’ That was an eye-opening experience for me. So with my next relationship, I didn’t want it to be based on sex.”