Lifetime’s “American Beauty Star” has a new second season host who appreciates the contestants’ struggle for success as equally as their battle to break down diversity barriers in the fashion industry.
“I have been doing this for almost 20 years… and people are finally catching up to what we’ve always known as normal,” the show’s host Ashley Graham told Variety at an exclusive screening and panel for the hit show. “Being the first of so many different things you are always going to have those conversations. Little girls like you and I when we were growing up didn’t have a role model that looked like us. And, now there are role models for them. That gives me chills because that makes me just know that they are not going to have as bad a time growing up.”
The plus-size beauty turned television producer hit the red carpet with show judge Christie Brinkley at the grand soirée that highlighted epic skyscraper views of Central Park.
“Everybody needs to be represented. People want to see themselves,” stated supermodel Brinkley, who is turning 65 next month and whose love for burgeoning diversity in the beauty world continues to grow with the upcoming milestone birthday.
“I have so many women who say to me, ‘Thank you for working,’ and for me staying in the spotlight,” Brinkley said. “They wonder if it’s okay ‘for me to keep my hair long, or should my skirt be longer.’ I always say you know what, you know you better than anybody else. Why are you looking for other people to tell you what to do? If you have great hair then go ahead and rock it… Whether it is age or size or ethnicity, people want to know that they matter. And, that is what our industry is doing right now.”
The fashion icon turned powerhouse entrepreneur had the crowd in awe at the swanky cocktail party as she jumped behind the bar and served up glasses to guests of her own Bellissima Prosecco.
“You will see me cry,” Graham said about the new season. “I sent one person home and I really had connected with them and felt like they didn’t get the chance they deserved… And, some people I am happy to see go home because they have attitudes. It’s real life situations. It happens so quickly. You are given what the concept is, you are given 30 minutes to conceptualize it, and then you are only given two to three hours to make it happen. It’s a lot of pressure. The stakes are high and the prizes are great.”