Getting Ready
ashley graham met gala 2018

Ashley Graham Invited Us Over to Get Ready for the Met Gala

She also told us about her most embarrassing red carpet moment and the one product she always uses pre-red-carpet.

By: Jodi Taylor
Photography: Ben Ritter

Stepping into Ashley Graham’s hotel suite felt like walking into a pre-party hosted by one of our best friends. Music was playing, spirits were up, and Graham’s go-to stylists—Meredith Melling, Valerie Macaulay, and Jordan Foster of La Marque—were humming around the bombshell model. We instantly knew we were in the right place (and that we wanted to get ready with these women for every event they attended from this day on).

It didn’t take us long to spot Grahams dress of choice for the night’s Met Gala—a bronze sequined floor-length number by Prabal Gurung. Pretty on-point for the evening’s Heavenly Bodies theme! The dress looked great in the hotel room, but a few hours later, when we watched Graham kill the carpet with a bronzed thigh popping out of the slit, we were officially sent over the edge.

As the La Marque ladies and Graham worked on a few last-minute touches, we talked to them about how the look came together, the one thing Graham always insists on doing herself, her most embarrassing red carpet moment, and who she was most looking forward to meeting.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up on the morning of a big event?

Ashley Graham: “I make sure to take a few minutes of silence for myself. I pray or meditate because I know the rest of the day is going to be fast-paced and high-energy.”

What does your Met Gala prep look like?

AG: “This morning I had my nose hairs lasered! I was traveling last week but was able to sneak in a few extra workouts, and a few days ago I met Mzia [Shiman] for an oxygen facial. Last night I had a midnight spray tan.”

La Marque: “Ashley has a crazy busy schedule, so sometimes we are pulling together looks at the last minute. The Met is different in that the planning period is much, much longer. Months! Plus, it’s one of the only times you have to incorporate a theme for such a major red carpet event.”

Describe your look in three words:

AG: “My look was inspired by Joan of Arc, so: fearless, strong, and feminine.”

What was the process like for choosing it?

AG: “It started with sketches from my stylists at La Marque and Prabal [Gurung]. From there we chose a silhouette, then selected the colors and fabric. The gown was fit to a form, and then I had two fittings to finalize it.”

LM: “[It’s] absolutely collaborative, [and] we wouldn’t have it any other way! Because of her tremendous platform, Ashley has a lot of opportunity to make a statement with what she wears. With every look, there’s always a talking point!”

Can you break down tonight’s look for us:

AG: “[I'm wearing a] Prabal Gurung strapless column gown with a satin-edged watteau cape. [A] Tasaki Atelier gold ear cuff with pearl detail; Tasaki Elegance yellow gold and south sea pearl baroque earring with diamond accent.”

Let’s talk about the jewels:

LM: “Ashley has multiple ear piercings, so we are layering earrings on earrings.”

How do you find clothing that fits Ashley’s personality?

LM: “Ashley appreciates all kinds of fashion from couture to street, so we have a wealth of brands to work with—we love the mix. In terms of selecting pieces for Ashley, the general guiding principle is that it cannot be basic.”

AG: “[It’s] definitely a pre-party-style atmosphere [when we’re getting ready]. There’s always music that we can sing along to—usually a female superstar like Beyoncé or Shania Twain—and a mini behind-the-scenes photo shoot before I head out the door. Right now I’m loving the entire Cardi B album.”

LM: “The vibe is fun! Ashley is seriously funny, so there is a lot of laughing.”

Drink of choice for the evening?

AG: “Vodka, water, and lemon juice.”

What is one thing Ashley always insists on doing herself when getting ready?

LM: “Ashley always puts on her own Spanx!”

Ashley, what is one thing you *must* do before walking out the door?

AG: “Triple-check that I have everything (phone, ID, lipstick) and snap a quick Polaroid.”

Any hero skin-care products you use on event day?

AG: “Carasoin moisturizer.”

Any red carpet tricks?

AG: “Be really nice to the photographers, and make sure to give them all a moment.”

Most embarrassing red carpet moment:

AG: “Last year I made Time’s 100 Most Influential People list, and when I arrived to the venue, my team noticed that a seam in the back of my dress had come undone. I had to throw on a jacket last-minute to cover it up. As I was exiting the red carpet to head into the event, I tripped on the bottom of the jacket! Luckily I didn’t fall to the ground and gracefully recovered.”

Favorite memory from working with Ashley:

LM: “36 hours in Las Vegas for Miss Universe was definitely an adventure! And that time she taught us what ‘thighbrow’ was.”

What are you most looking forward to?

AG: “Seeing Kate Moss, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. I’m also excited that this year I’ll be able to easily use the bathroom because my dress has a slit.”

Anyone you’re dying to meet?

AG: “Jennifer Lopez!”

What do you typically do on the car ride to the gala?

AG: “Check Instagram to see all of the red carpet arrivals.”

Are you heading to an after-party?

AG: “Versace's and Rihanna’s.”

AG: “I’m wearing Rubin Singer [to the after-party], who designed my dress for the Vanity Fair Oscars After-Party this year.”

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