Ashley Graham would not really feel responsible about “me” time

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Putting yourself first is easier said than done. For young mothers, it can be almost impossible. According to a survey of 2,000 parents, most moms only get a meager 32 minutes a day to themselves.

Despite a busy schedule of meetings, photoshoots and playdates, supermodel, curvy icon and mom Ashley Graham has officially taken back her “me” time — and she doesn’t feel guilty about it, either. Graham, who welcomed her twin sons Malachi and Roman this January along with her two-year-old son Isaac and husband Justin Ervin, says reclaiming this time for herself would not be possible without the help of friends and family.

“We’ve built an impeccable support team around us,” Graham says, “and in order for me to really thrive as a mom, that support is something I lean on every day.”

Below, Ashley talks about her favorite summer beauty staples, how Affirm has helped her on her at-home fitness journey, and how making time to herself a priority is helping her navigate her way as a busy mom of three.

Well+Good: Congratulations on the twins! I can imagine there are times when your schedule requires you to be in and out of the house very quickly. What is your beauty routine when it has to be quick?

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Ashley Graham: The night before, I prepare for what’s to come. If I’ve got my bag ready, already picked my outfit, and then the night before I have to prepare everything that needs to happen to my hair so it’s just easier to get out of the house, I do it. I think preparing the night before is the only way I can get out of the house looking like a decent person and not forgetting anything.

W+G: As far as last-minute beauty goes, do you throw something special in your bag to touch up on the go?

AG: Yes, definitely. I’m a lipstick girl. It’s all about Revlon lipstick and lip liner. I also think that good skin makes you look really good too, so make sure I have a rosewater or something just to freshen things up.

W+G: Speaking of skin care: Many women’s skin changes after pregnancy, be it the texture or the degree of dryness. Has this happened to you?

AG: Yes, actually. I had rosacea when I was pregnant with Isaac. And when I was pregnant I started trying this new brand that had just come out but it was really quiet. It’s called fig 1. It cured my rosacea and was also really helpful after pregnancy to rehydrate because you’re just so exhausted after having your child – or children, in my case. It added that extra layer of moisture so I’m a big fan of Fig 1. It also has a really affordable price range and is also something you can use with your other favorite products in your medicine cabinet. It’s my favorite.

W+G: We’re having a pretty bad summer heat wave right now. What’s your number one summer skincare product?

AG: Definitely sunscreen. I have a million different sunscreens that I use, but I always go back to my favorite at the moment, which is actually Winnie Harlow’s. It’s called Cay Skin and I like it so much because it has one color. The color does not rub off. Do you know how some sunscreens that are one color can rub off on your clothes? Not this one. Also, Supergoop is awesome. Anything on a stick is really good for the kids because they don’t sit there and let me lather them up before we jump in the pool. It’s less of a fight.

W+G: You said earlier that you are a prepper. When it comes to your hair in the summer, what’s your favorite style?

AG: I like it when my hair isn’t washed on the second and third day. I usually part it down the middle and make two tight braids. In the morning I let it go and it’s kind of a beach wave situation. if [the waves] feel a bit too tight from the braid, i just brush it a bit with a mason [Pearson] brush and throw in some dry shampoo. And then I just get on with my day. When it’s shampoo day I’ve been using the same trick since I was 15 years old. After the shower, I part my hair where I want it and don’t brush it. And then I spritz John Frieda Dream Curls over it and either mist it up or let it air dry. It’s the perfect waves in my hair. My hair used to be very curly and now, since pregnancies and breakouts and birth control and blah blah blah, it’s gotten a lot less curly. Now it’s super wavy.

W+G: Let’s talk about fragrance. What is your favorite summer scent right now?

AG: My husband and I went to this great spa in the Hamptons and I found this body oil. I believe it’s made in Australia and is called AYU. I also like to keep a roll-on oil with me. I love this one I’m pulling out of my bag right now because I want to get the name right. It’s the Riddle Roll-On Oil and the jasmine scent is my favorite. This small oil roller perfume roller was the best. I love it.

“I say to myself, ‘This is guilt-free training. You have to be strong for your children.” – Ashley Graham

W+G: Now that you’re a mother of three, how do you fit training into your life and work to your schedule?

AG: I’ll be honest, I put them on my calendar. I tell myself, “This is a guilt-free workout. You must be strong for your children. And I really remember that even though it’s very difficult, this will be my guilt-free time.

W+G: You recently partnered with Affirm, a buy-it-pay-later shopping service. Any home gym must-haves that you recommend buying through Affirm?

AG: When it comes to training, there are a few things that you can easily buy from Affirm. Because I’m not going to get up at 5am to exercise before the kids wake up – I’m just not that person – at the end of the day I’m exhausted from being a mom all day. It has to be in the middle of the day so I can train well. This workout could consist of HIIT workouts using the Tonal. The best thing about Affirm is that you can buy the really expensive pieces, the investment pieces, and create the payment plan with Affirm so you can have what you want in a moment, but know you won’t break the bank, like buying a tonal or a theragun. I now have the Theragun Mini and it’s really great for travel. The TRX I just added to my garage gym, love it. It’s that good and it’s something anyone can use. And all the Target yoga gear.

W+G: When you find other small periods of time for yourself throughout the day, how do you spend your “me” time?

AG: I create these moments for myself. I know that’s easier said than done; My mom helps with our kids, she is so amazing. She also understands – she has three children, and she understands how important it is for you to take care of yourself too. She even tells me, “Go away, do whatever you have to do, I’ve got this.” Whether it’s writing something, working on a script, preparing for a job, putting together mood boards, whatever. I think the biggest thing for moms is to do it without guilt. That’s one of the things I keep reminding myself is to do it without guilt. It has to be a guilt-free process because then I can really get involved with what I’m working on.

“It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.” —

Ashley Graham

W+G: For new moms who are overwhelmed by the change in their lives, what advice would you give them?

AG: It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to scream and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. I’ve been there and I know a lot of other moms have been there. It just works for me to create systems and a schedule. I wake up at 6:15 before the kids and even Justin and I have my time to myself. Then the children get up at 6:45, 7:00 and we start the day. As long as I get that time to myself, I feel connected and I feel like I can be a better mom. There is no manual and there are really tough days. But I also remember something my mother used to tell me: each of these stages of life is not forever. I remember that this phase will come and go. It won’t be stressful forever.

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