Ashley Graham Rules Miss USA With A Plunging Gown And A Message

"What is stopping us from having a very curvaceous woman come in and win?"

06/06/2016 11:22 PM AEST | Updated 06/06/2016 11:22 PM AEST

Ashley Graham's confidence, beauty and self-love advocacy has landed her spots on runways, on magazine covers and in our hearts. Sunday night, she took her message of body positivity to a fairly unexpected place: a beauty pageant. 

Graham hosted the backstage segments of the Miss USA 2016 pageant in Las Vegas, and, of course, looked absolutely stunning.

Ethan Miller via Getty Images
Va va voom. 

Clad in a form-fitting royal blue St. John gown with a seriously plunging neckline, Graham chatted with contestants and posed for cameras.

The gig could be seen as controversial, given the physical pressure and polarizing nature of beauty pageants in general. But as Graham explained to People, she sees the move as positive for the pageant industry as a whole.

"The fact that they've asked me to come and speak backstage means that there is more feeling of diversity of beauty," she said, adding, "I think by having me host backstage it's opened up this door and this question of 'Well, why haven't we had anybody? What is stopping us from having a very curvaceous woman come in and win Miss USA or even be a contestant?'"

Ethan Miller via Getty Images
Graham posing with Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan.

A number of pageants are promoting a broader beauty ideal: Just last month, Israel hosted its first ever transgender pageant, and the Miss Senior America pageant includes only women 60 and over.

Here's hoping Graham's message of inclusion will stick for pageants to come. 

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