Ashley Nell Tipton Breaks Taboo in Interview

Most women won't reveal their true weight to just anyone. Some go to extremes to hide the number and would take their number to the grave if given the choice. The number on the scale holds a lot more than one's weight : Vanity, self-esteem, self-worth are all held in the balance. So when a reporter from the San Diego Reader point-blank asked plus size designer Ashley Nell Tipton how much she weighs, we could just imagine how quickly the air left that interview room. The reporter, Elizabeth Salaam, wasn't channeling Stuttering John in her questioning. Salaam, who chronicaled Tipton's career before she won "Project Runway," shared her reason with Tipton and her manager Andrew Bisaha: I explain that it matters to me because the Instagram photo that originally compelled me to seek Ashley out is of a young woman who weighs X and is happily wearing a bikini anyway. If I can’t ask that question, and she can’t answer it, then it’s just going to sit there unasked and unanswered, and that self-acceptance we’ve been talking about for two hours now — in fact, almost two years — has reached its limits. Salaam's explaination didn't move Bisaha, but struck a chord with Tipton: "You just opened my eyes to how other people see me,” she says. “Because sometimes I reflect back on what I do, and I’m, like, ‘How did I have the nerve to do that?’ It makes me feel like, ‘I want to be that person.’ But wait, I am that person.’” A couple of tears fall, making shiny tracks in her matte makeup. She wipes them away. “Now that it’s out in the world, it’s something I don’t have to be afraid of anymore,” she says. While it remains to be see just how many women will now share their weight with the general public thanks to Tipton's transparancy, it's a step in the right direction to make plus size less prohibited in society.

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