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Curvy Model Ashley Graham Reveals Her Black Husband Was ‘Spat on’ in Italy

Claudine Varela
Jun 21, 2019
08:48 A.M.
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Ashley Graham's husband of 10 years, Justin Ervin had been "spat on" in Italy for being Black. Even Ashley's family at one point gave him the cold shoulder when they realized he was dating the model.

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Ashley Graham admits it’s not easy to navigate through life being married to a Black man. She recently opened up about the problems they’ve had to face as an interracial couple on the July issue of Allure where she graces the cover.

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"IT'S HEARTBREAKING"

In her cover story, Ashley recalled an incident when she experienced the disappointing reality of racism. Her husband, Justin Ervin was “spat at” while they were on vacation in Italy.

“It’s heartbreaking,” the curvy model said of the experience. It can make you really angry. But it’s like, how are you going to change that anger into a teachable moment?”

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IT BEGAN WITH HER FAMILY

It wasn’t the first time Ashley encountered animosity towards her husband. In fact, her own family raised their eyebrows when they first met Justin.

Ashley married the cinematographer 10 years ago and before that, she brought him to her hometown of Nebraska to meet her family. Little did she know he wouldn’t receive the welcome she expected.

"I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock."

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In her memoir, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look Like,” the 31-year-old recounts, she “naively hoped everyone would be colour blind” when she introduced Justin to her family.

“I brought Justin home to Nebraska. Now, I should probably mention that Justin is black, and that I didn’t grow up around many black people,” she wrote. “The sum total of what I learned about African American culture in school was Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and the Underground Railroad. This was more than my mom knew; she didn’t even see a black person in real life until she was 18 years old.”

"My grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, 'Tell that guy I said goodbye,’”

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"I WAS IN SHOCK"

That being said, Justin was given the cold shoulder by her family. Ashley said her grandmother greeted him and walked away shortly after. She didn’t even bother to say goodbye to him before he left.

“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,’” Ashley detailed.

"I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock."

But that was then. Ashley’s family eventually warmed up to Justin. Her grandma learned to love the man after he called her to greet her on her 60th wedding anniversary.

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"We’re going to have to have that conversation of ‘Mommy’s white, Daddy’s black,’ and I want to be prepared.”

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PREPARING FOR THAT CONVERSATION WITH HER FUTURE CHILDREN

Realizing the gravity of racism and its effect on her interracial marriage, Ashley is taking steps to ensure her future children are aware of the repercussions of being a product of her marriage to Justin. She tells Allure she reads books and has constant conversations about it to further understand a Black person’s life.

“I want to know as much as I can as a white woman who is going to be raising black children. We’re going to have to have that conversation of ‘Mommy’s white, Daddy’s black,’ and I want to be prepared.”

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TIA MOWRY SHARES ASHLEY'S JOURNEY WITH RACISM

Ashley’s journey isn’t far from that of Tia Mowry who also recently opened up about the heartaches of growing up with a White father and a Black mother and marrying a Black husband. She said her mother suffered the heat while dating her White father and was forced to leave him because of it. However, her father fought for her mother and they eventually eloped.

Today, Tia has her husband, Cory Hardrict’s own problems with discrimination to deal with. In fact, she shared an incident when Cory was questioned by simply buying something expensive.

It is a sad reality but one that many interracial couples experience every day. Even when there’s a growing number of them, the acceptance remains at a relative minimum.

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