Model Behavior is an A Plus series featuring fashion models who promote body positivity, and work to create inclusivity and diversity within the industry by expanding our definition of conventional beauty.
Beauty pageants may not have the best reputation, but the 2016 Miss USA Pageant was about more than just shimmering evening gowns and tiaras.
The pageant crowned its first-ever military service member as Miss USA. Miss District of Columbia, 26-year-old Army officer and IT analyst, Deshauna Barber, took home the top prize after she gave a powerful response during the interview portion.
And that wasn't the only brilliant thing from the event. Co-host Ashley Graham used the pageant as a platform to champion body diversity.
After the final 15 contestants walked off the stage, Graham discussed how nerve-wracking it can be parading around in a swimsuit in front of an audience — something the Sports Illustrated model knows a lot about. Then she used the opportunity to promote her body positive message,
"Pageants now, I'm hoping, are going to start putting curvy and plus-size women in front of the camera."
It may have only been a quick line, but it was enough to make an impact.
Graham has always been very vocal about championing body diversity in the industry. She gave a powerful response to model Cheryl Tiegs criticizing her Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover. Let's not forget about her modeling for campaigns such as SwimsuitsforAll and Lane Bryant's #ImNoAngel.
Graham continually demonstrates that there is no size or shape restriction when it comes to beauty. Hopefully, that is something that pageants will celebrate too.