Ashley Graham and her husband, Justin Ervin, are expecting their first child together. The happy couple announced the news via Instagram on their ninth wedding anniversary, excited for the next chapter of their lives as first-time parents.
Fans may already know Graham for her runway appearances and activism for plus-size representation and body positivity in fashion, but what about her husband? Learn more about the model’s talented hubby below.
He’s a director and cinematographer.
Justin Ervin is a successful cinematographer, director, producer, and writer, according to IMDb. Per his official website, Ervin has directed several of his wife’s fashion campaigns and has also worked with high profile clients including Netflix, Adobe, Guess, CNN, The Gap, Pantene, Swimsuits for All, Staples, BET, Centric, Topic, and Aspire TV.
Ervin has an MFA in social documentary filmmaking from the School of Visual Arts in New York and has screened his films at festivals all over the world.
They met at church on “Porn Sunday.”
In 2017, Graham revealed to InStyle UK that she met her husband in a pretty unconventional way: when they were both “in church for ‘Porn Sunday.'” Graham explained, “It’s a day where ex-porn stars came in and talked about how their life had been changed by church and god.”
In an essay adapted from her book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, for Glamour, the model revealed that she was working in the elevator during the church event, “welcoming people, passing out candy and pushing the button to the eighth floor.” But everything changed when Ervin got into the elevator. Graham revealed, “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.”
It was then that the pair began talking, and despite Ervin not being her type—”With his short hair, ill-fitting, baggy Old Navy jeans, white Hanes T-shirt, and Converse sneakers, he exuded a major nerd factor,” she told Glamour—she was taken with how “smart and funny” he was, and the fact that “he seemed to be looking into my soul when we talked.”
He faced tensions with her family at first.
In another excerpt from her memoir shared by Glamour, Graham revealed that her relationship with Ervin wasn’t accepted by her family at first. Having grown up in Nebraska, where she “didn’t grow up around many black people,” Graham “naively hoped everyone would be color-blind.”
When the trip was over, her grandmother didn’t even acknowledge Ervin. “Instead my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, ‘Tell that guy I said goodbye.'” Graham continued, “I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock.”
After the meeting, Graham’s future husband said, “Racism is never surprising but always disappointing.” But he didn’t give up, and apparently phoned the model’s grandmother to congratulate her on her 60th wedding anniversary. The personal call changed everything, and Graham’s grandma started to make a real connection with Ervin.
They got engaged after a year of dating and married two months later.
In June 2019, Graham told BAZAAR Bride that Ervin’s marriage proposal surprised her. The couple had been filming footage for what they dubbed The Justin and Ashley Show, when the topic of getting married came up. Though Graham was simply joking around about a hypothetical proposal, Ervin was prepared.
The model explained, “He told me how I was his best friend, how he wanted to do life with me, how he’d never met anyone like me … all these incredible things. And then he pulled a ring out, and said ‘Will you marry me?'”
The groom also put a deadline on the wedding and told Graham, “I want to get married in two months.” The couple just celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary with the announcement that they’re expecting their first baby, proving their love is as strong as ever.
They didn’t have sex until marriage.
In an interview with ELLE in January, Graham joked that she’d “slept with half of New York City” by the time she met Ervin and had been let down by casual dating. So when she met her now-husband, she was happy to wait, especially as “abstinence was a firm commitment to his faith.”
Graham elaborated for Glamour, “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 … 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.” For Graham, Ervin was worth the wait.
And as for their relationship now, Graham told ELLE that the secret to a happy marriage is to “have sex all the time. Even if you don’t feel like it, just have sex. I have found that if we haven’t had sex, we get snippy, and then if we are having sex, we’re all over each other.” Which sounds like great advice, to be honest.