Ashley Graham weighed in on the ongoing dialogue about sexual assault in the fashion and entertainment industries on Tuesday while appearing on "The View." Graham told the story of how she's been assaulted on the job — and recounted what she felt like as a teen when she booked a gig with alleged serial abuser Terry Richardson.
"We did work together when I was 17, 18 years old," Graham explained when asked if she'd shot with the famous photographer. "It was interesting because I got the call to do the job. And of course, you know the rumors, you've heard them from everyone about him. And I said yes to the job, because you want to work with the best of the best. You want those images in your portfolio."
When asked if she'd considered that she might be putting herself in harm's way by working with someone she'd heard nasty whispers about, Graham responded immediately, "Of course I did," explaining that she was living in New York on her own as a teen and making her own decisions.
"I thought 'Oh my gosh, I could be a victim. Who knows.' But you don't know walking into it, because you also have people who praise him... who are like, "Oh, he's an amazing person," this and that. So on the set with him, it was normal enough. But of course you have that feeling of, 'Is he gonna ask me to take my shirt off?' You just don't know because you've heard so many rumors."
While Graham's shoot with Richardson involved none of the ugly assault reported by other models who have worked with the photography giant, she's no stranger to inappropriate sexual advances on set. At a different shoot in her teens that didn't involve Richardson, Graham was cornered by a photo assistant who exposed himself and tried to make her touch him.
Despite her negative experiences, Graham is hopeful about how movements like #MeToo might be changing the game for the models of the future.
"The movement is working and I really feel like there's women who are standing up and saying, 'No. Me too, and I'm going to watch out for my sisters on set.'"
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