Model Ashley Graham’s family is about to expand to one more because she is a couple of months away from becoming a mom for the first time. In her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday (Nov. 7), she talked about how insane pregnancy has been and also revealed the sex of her baby.
Graham tells DeGeneres that she’s due in January, to which Ellen says she should hold it in until the 26th because that’s Ellen’s birthday and then they can have the same birthday. DeGeneres then plays a rapid-fire Q&A game with Graham and gets her to reveal that she’s having a boy.
Before baby boy Graham arrives, here’s what you need to know about Graham’s family.
1. Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin Met at Church
A decade ago, Graham and her now-husband Justin Ervin met at church and hit it off.
They actually met at “Porn Sunday,” which Graham told InStyle UK is “a day where ex-porn stars came in and talked about how their life had been changed by church and god.”
She tells Glamour she wasn’t at church to find a boyfriend. She was actually there to figure out “the person [she] wanted to be.” But on that particular Sunday, she met Justin while working the elevator and he rode up and down her several times, then asked her out for coffee.
When the two became engaged in 2010, Graham told People that even though they “come from different backgrounds,” they “have the same viewpoints on religion and family.”
2. It took Graham’s Family a Bit to Accept Ervin
Despite their shared views on family, there were still some obstacles between Graham’s family and Ervin because of his race — Graham comes from a white family from Nebraska and Ervin is African-American. She told Glamour in a 2017 interview that it was a hard situation at first.
When she brought him home to meet her family, she didn’t tell them he was black, she just “hoped everyone would be color-blind — which is not what happened.” She says her grandmother was “cordial but cold” and it really surprised Graham.
“I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock,” says Graham, adding that Ervin helped her see that someone like her grandma, who hadn’t been around very many black people in her life, only saw the way black men were depicted in media — “in situations involving guns, rape, and violence, situations that perpetuate racist stereotypes against black people in general.”
But Ervin called Graham’s grandma on her 60th wedding anniversary and “from then on out, she loved him.”
3. Ashley and Justin’s Wedding Was Unconventional
Let’s face it, usually, it’s the bride-to-be who does the lion’s share of planning a wedding. But not in this case. Graham tells Harper’s Bazaar that she actually wanted to spend their money on buying a house, but Ervin really wanted a big wedding. So what did Graham do?
“I said, ‘You’re marrying a girl that doesn’t care about weddings so you plan it, and I’ll just show up.’ Sure enough, he planned the whole thing with a wedding planner. When I showed up, and when I saw what Justin had done I was in shock.”
But the one decision Graham did have to make herself was about her wedding dress. She chose to return to her home state of Nebraska to go wedding dress shopping with her mother and grandmother. She had to buy it off the rack because they got married just two months after they became engaged.
“It was a size 10 with a corset, and so we had to put a whole panel in the back so it was a whole situation—my boobs were spilling out—but it didn’t matter because it was my wedding day, and I loved the dress.”
4. Some of Graham’s Family Loves the Spotlight Too
Ashley has two younger sisters, one of whom prefers to stay out of the spotlight. But the other one, Abigail Graham Ralston, recently joined her sister for a Swimsuits for All campaign called “Growing Up Graham.”
“Despite our six-year age difference and busy lifestyles, my little sister and I have always been strong presences in each other’s lives,” said Graham in a statement. “We’ve shared countless memories together and going through our childhood photos was a trip down memory lane. Abigail has always been my rock, and I was honored to have her by my side during this photoshoot. Plus, she’s a new mom and has never looked hotter in a swimsuit!”
This comes on the heels of her 2018 swimsuit campaign with her mom, Linda. She told Vogue at the time, “What I want is for women my mother’s age to feel empowered and to know that they too can look just as hot in a one-piece, a two-piece, or string bikini. I believe that beauty is beyond, age, race, or size, and it’s not a trend—at every stage of your life, you can feel beautiful.”
And in 2017, Graham appeared on Family Feud with her mother, sister, mother-in-law Kathryn and sister-in-law Kia. Now that is a tightknit family.
The one person Ashley doesn’t talk about much is her father. He was around during her teen years because she recounts in her memoir how he told her if a modeling agent told her to lose weight, she should consider losing weight. She also writes how she knows she struggled at times with romantic relationships because she “never got the love and attention” she needed from her father.
5. Ervin is Talented Cinematographer
Ervin, a director/videographer who is seven years Graham’s senior, graduated with an MFA in Social Documentary Filmmaking from School of Visual Arts in New York in 2012, then later completed a Master Class in Cinematography at the American Society of Cinematographers in Los Angeles.
Shortly thereafter, he filmed a documentary about Senegalese immigrants living in Italy called As In a Mirror, then in 2013 he won Best Documentary Short at the Garden State Film Festival with Elephant in the Room, a film about a female boxer and her business partner mentoring two teenage girls at their non-profit gym. His most recent work, LEAP, won an audience award at the New Filmmakers LA festival. It explores a young woman’s journey as she goes on a getaway with a friend who wants to be something more, expressing a wide range of emotions “while utilizing only one word of dialogue.”
Ervin has also worked on campaigns for Vogue, Guess, CNN, The Gap Inc., Pantene, BET, and Netflix, among many others.
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