Model Ashley Graham reveals grandmother was ‘racist’ towards her black husband

In her new book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like, Ashley Graham opens up about her relationship with Justin Ervin.

In an excerpt released by Glamour, Graham explains she met Ervin, who is African-American at church. She also reveals she initially didn’t think she would go out with him because he was not her ‘type.’

“I joined a church. I didn’t go there to find a boyfriend; I truly wasn’t looking for anyone other than the person I wanted to be,” Graham wrote. “One Sunday my volunteer position was to stand in the elevator welcoming people, passing out candy, and pushing the button to the eighth floor. When two tall men walked in, I didn’t bat an eye. One nudged the other and said, ‘If you don’t talk to her, I will.’ His friend left the elevator, but he stayed on. I shrugged. This guy wasn’t my type. With his short hair, ill-fitting, baggy Old Navy jeans, white Hanes T-shirt, and Converse sneakers, he exuded a major nerd factor. But there was something sweet about Justin, and I was at church, so I had to be polite. He rode up and down with me a few times, and he seemed to be looking into my soul when we talked. He was smart and funny and had traveled the world. So I agreed to go out for coffee.”


Following the date, Graham brought Ervin home to meet her family. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover star was shocked by the cold reception her new boo received:

“I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was black,” she said. “I naively hoped everyone would be color-blind—which is not what happened. When my grandparents met Justin, my grandmother was cordial but cold. She greeted him and immediately walked away. When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. 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.”

But Ervin was nothing but kind to her family, and eventually, they did accept him.

“As if his understanding wasn’t generous enough, Justin called my grandmother on her sixtieth wedding anniversary,” she wrote. “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.'”

In the end, love prevailed.