Ashley says that she's "thicker" now when she first began modelling. (Picture: Instagram)

The 31-year-old supermodel was the first plus-sized woman to cover Vogue and Sports Illustrated magazines and while she's faced criticism for losing weight, she insists that's far from the truth because her body hasn't really changed, except for getting a little "thicker" due to getting older.

In an interview with Glamour, she said: "It sucked that everybody had to go in on me like, 'Oh, you lost so much weight.' If these people actually knew me--which, you know, they don't and maybe never will--they would know that my body just hasn't changed. 

"To be completely honest, I've gained weight in the last five years, not lost weight. If you actually look at my IMG Polaroids from when I first signed with them to now, you can tell I'm thicker. I mean, it's just age. Geez. Whatever!"

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Ashley believes she's been given opportunities over the last few years to trailblaze for curvy girls in part because she's white, but her husband, Justin Ervin opened her eyes to racial disparities. 

She said: "I've had this conversation with some of my white friends, and it's hard for them to understand what that means. 

"The only reason I understand is because of the hard conversations that I've had with my husband. He's the one who really opened my eyes to that and made me understand.

"When you're the first of something, you are always going to have to answer the hard questions. People aren't going to like you. People are going to hate you. 

"People are going to be confused by you because you're the new kid in town. But if you ask me, I'm not the new kid in town--this body's been around for centuries and now I've just been given a voice."