Ashley Graham surprised the world earlier this summer by announcing her second pregnancy. About a year-and-a-half since she gave birth to her son Isaac, the 33 year-old revealed that she and husband of 11 years, Justin Ervin, are set to become parents again.
Ever-conscious of the world she is bringing her children up in, the supermodel - who is outspoken on issues such as racism and body confidence - has become the face of the Pandora Brilliance collection, which is not only certified carbon neutral, but features lab-grown diamonds, which are much more sustainable than their traditionally mined cousins.
ELLE UK sat down the the soon to be mother of two to discuss which pieces of jewellery she will hand down to her children, the best advice she has for new mums and how she bought her own push present.
Which are your favourite items from the Pandora Brilliance collection?
'I'm an earrings girl. I think I have 17 or 18 holes in my just my ears - I sleep in them, I work out in them, I do daytime mum life, I do nighttime date night life in them. I just feel like all of them are so great because you can mix and match, you can stack. They're all very stackable. So honestly, hands down any of the earrings are my favourite.'
Why is the sustainable element of these lab-grown diamonds important to you?
'I'd never really thought about diamonds in the sustainability sense until Pandora called me, but I think that it's such a positive way to make a big difference and to be responsible about building a better future for our kids.
'And it's an easy, affordable switch - I still feel chic and gorgeous wearing my sustainably lab-created, carbon neutral certified products.'
What is your most treasured piece of jewellery?
'Definitely my wedding ring.
'When Justin gave me my ring, it was just one diamond on matted gold bands. And then on the wedding day he added like a little cluster of diamonds to it. Now every five years, he's added diamonds onto it.
'When it's our anniversary we say it's another year of victory, we made it. Just because divorce rates are so high around the world and we we really fight to to have a happy marriage and to have a partnership.
'I said, "I think every five years we should do a bigger celebration." My my idea was add to my wedding ring, his idea was to like go fly away somewhere like the Seychelles or something. We both got our way.'
What jewellery will you pass down to your children?
'When we were first dating, Justin gave me a ring that he called the "ring of significance". He wasn't asking me to marry him yet, but he was proclaiming how important our relationship was. It was the first ring that his father had given his mother. His mother had saved it for him to give to his future wife.
'I will definitely save that to give to Isaac when he meets his one. If he wants it.'
What's your stance on push presents?
'I said to Justin, "So you're going to give me a push present?' He had no idea what it was. So instead I bought myself an expensive bag. He was like, "Whatever you need to do to give yourself a pat on the back." So that's what I did. I bought myself an expensive bag as my own push present.
'I look at this one Chanel bag and I appreciate it so much. It takes me out of the only label of being a mother.'
How is your second pregnancy different to your first?
'I am not as in shape as I was with Isaac.
'I'm not working out as much, I'm eating a lot more, I'm sleeping a lot more, I'm running after one kid and then when he's napping, I'm napping. But it's going by a lot faster, which I did hear was going to be happen, so I'm thankful for that.'
How did you find home birthing?
'Honestly, [home birthing is the] best experience. I had a fabulous experience. And I'm going to do it at home again.
'I know what to expect: it's great pain, and it's a lot of determination and focus.'
What is the best advice you've received on becoming a mother?
'My mom gave me two pieces of advice - because mothers will do that and they have the right to.
'The first, that has always stuck with me is "mama knows best". If I'm ever thinking, "I don't know what to do", and I feel like a fish out of water, I know what's best for the baby. Whether that's going and calling a friend, or Googling, or figuring it out on my own, that's the best answer.
'And the other piece of advice: I told her I wanted her here to help with the baby when he first arrived, and she said, "No, I don't think I should be there. I think you should have a couple weeks alone with him first". And I was like, "Are you crazy? I don't know what I'm doing. There's no manual." And she's like, "You'll figure it out. But I don't want to be the one to tell you how to burp him feed him and change his diaper. He'll tell you."
'I still thank her a year and a half later for telling me that, because Justin and I got to bond with Isaac for two weeks straight without any other family or voices or noises to tell us what to do. And it was it was so magical to have that those bonding weeks with him.'
How do you deal with mum shaming on the internet?
'Yeah, I honestly don't care.
'It's not your child, it's not your body, it's not your baby, so shut up.'
'But I definitely have had a lot of it and I think that it's harmful and it's ugly. It perpetuates this culture of divisiveness and who's better and who's worse. As mothers we're all in this together, we're all trying to do our best. We're all trying to just really, truly just get through life, keep our kids alive and have the best life that we can afford them.'
Have you struggled with body image during your pregnancies?
'100%, it's like an alien is taking over and you have no control.
'But the thing is, I learned with Isaac, my body is going to change, my body is changing, and it will forever be changed, period.
'I have to keep reminding myself that I created life, and there's no cooler thing than being able to create life inside of you. So if the repercussions of that are extra stretch marks, saggy skin, and more weight on my body, so be it.'
'But let me tell you something, it's a journey every day. It's not like I just wake up feeling like that.'
Have your feared maternity work discrimination?
'I got really excited and I wanted to tell the world right away [when I got pregnant], but you don't want people to think that you can't do something just because you're pregnant. And I really do hate that - just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I can't do something. I might be a little bit more tired, I might cry for no reason in front of your face, but that doesn't mean I can't get my work done.'
How much have you been crying?
'Honestly, I can't even go on social media.
'Yesterday I saw a video of some mother who was talking about how she was struggling with her first pregnancy and I just started crying with her. I thought: "Ashley get it together".
'Oh, and last night I watched Wonder Boy about Olivier [Rousteing] from Balmain. And I was hysterical the whole time.'
What advice do you have for new working mothers?
'Give yourself so much grace about how you feel after your baby's here.
'You could have so many plans about wanting to go straight back to work or not wanting to go back to work and you just have to give yourself grace for that decision afterwards. You can't make up your mind now.
'Also, get your systems in place for how you want to feed after the baby's here. You can't figure it out now because you don't know what the baby is going to do. Sure, give yourself a tentative guideline, but don't have absolutes for your future.'
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