Ashley Graham has shared how her family were once “racist” towards her African-American husband.
The Sports Illustrated model, who is married to cinematographer Justin Ervin, admits that they went through some difficult moments when she first introduced him to her family.
Ashley, who was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, has opened up about her relationship in an excerpt from her new book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like, published by Glamour magazine.
“I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was black,” she explained of introducing her husband to her family. “I naively hoped everyone would be color blind – which is not what happened.”
The 29-year-old was most stunned by the reaction of her grandmother, whom she described as “cordial but cold” towards Justin. The brunette beauty shared that her grandparent didn’t even acknowledge him when they left the initial meeting.
“Instead my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, ‘Tell that guy I said goodbye.’ I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock,” she noted.
In spite of the resistance met from Ashley’s family, the couple’s relationship has flourished. And Justin eventually won over the model’s grandmother by calling her on her sixtieth wedding anniversary.
“He’s not a texter or an emailer; he’s a pick-up-the-phone-and-call-you person, and anniversaries are a big deal to him. Afterward grandma called my mom and said, ‘You’ll never guess who called me.’ And from then on out, she loved him. Loved him,” Ashley gushed in the book.
A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like is due to be released on 9 May (17).