Ashley Graham, the first plus-sized model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine’s annual Swimsuit Edition, recently revealed in an interview that she was raised in a Christian home.  However, the modeling lifestyle can leave you feeling empty.

“When I moved to New York, I got away from God. Then I realized that living here, you need something to keep you grounded or you’ll go crazy,” Graham told the magazine Elle UK.

“I think that faith is definitely something that got me through the hard times in fashion. It got me through the hard times with body confidence, and the terrible decisions that I had made. My faith is something that brought me back to finding truth and value in who I am,” she previously said in another interview.

Graham met her husband Justin Ervin at church in 2009.  She said they decided to abstain from sex until they were married.

In an excerpt from her book posted to the website Glamour, Graham writes:

“Eventually I joined a church. I didn’t go there to find a boyfriend; I truly wasn’t looking for anyone other than the person I wanted to be. One Sunday my volunteer position was to stand in the elevator welcoming people, passing out candy and pushing the button to the eighth floor. When two tall men walked in, I didn’t bat an eye. One nudged the other and said, “If you don’t talk to her, I will.” His friend left the elevator, but he stayed on.

I shrugged. This guy wasn’t my type. With his short hair, ill-¬fitting, baggy Old Navy jeans, white Hanes T-shirt, and Converse sneakers, he exuded a major nerd factor. But there was something sweet about Justin, and I was at church, so I had to be polite. He rode up and down with me a few times, and he seemed to be looking into my soul when we talked. He was smart and funny and had traveled the world. So I agreed to go out for coffee. …

My romance with Justin was innocent and sweet. He cooked for me. We went rollerblading and biking; we did karaoke, went to the movies, took an improv class together. Because we weren’t sleeping together—for Justin, abstinence was a firm commitment to his faith—we never tempted ourselves by going over to each other’s apartments late at night. But we’d go to late movies or take walks through the city together. We had a spot on 14th Street and Seventh Avenue where we loved to sit and chat.”

Source: Charisma Magazine