‘Sports Illustrated’ ‘Breaking Barriers’ With First Plus-Size Model on Swimsuit Cover
Celebrity| | By Margo Gothelf
For the first time in history, Sports Illustrated has named three separate cover models for their famous swimsuit issue, and their choices are drawing a huge round of applause.
Ronda Rousey, Ashley Graham, and Hailey Clauson have been picked to grace the coveted swimsuit cover. This is the first time in 52 years that the brand has offered a different girl on three separate covers. Graham is also the first plus-sized model to be featured on the cover.
“The three covers of Hailey, Rhonda, and Ashley celebrate the new SI Swimsuit. All three of the women are beautiful, sexy and strong,” shared Assistant Managing Editor MJ Day. “Beauty is not a cookie cutter. Beauty is not ‘one size fits all.’ Beauty is all around us and that became especially obvious to me while shooting and editing this year’s issue.”
Graham could not “stop shaking” when she found out about the news during the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 Revealed event on TNT.
“I thought Sports Illustrated was taking a risk by putting a girl my size in the pages already, but putting me on the cover? They aren’t just breaking barriers, they are the standard now. This is so beyond epic,” Graham shared with People. “To have somebody who has cellulite, who has things that jiggle, who has back fat and actually talk about them and talk about how you can be an overcome [sic] and not let society take you down for all of that — that’s real and that’s what we need in this society.”
Truly speechless!!! This cover is for every woman who felt like she wasn’t beautiful enough because of her size. You can do and achieve anything you put your mind to. Thank you so much to the entire @si_swimsuit team! I’m so excited to be a part of your family. I love you all!!! #siswim #beautybeyondsize
A photo posted by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on
Rousey, the first cover model to ever wear body paint, also joined in on the excitement.
“This is like a dream I forgot to have and ended up having it anyway,” Rousey shared with People. “And it really is just an honor to be in a real historical issue like this that is celebrating all body types of women. I really feel like media presents a very cookie cutter image for women to aspire to, which for certain body types it’s just not realistic or healthy. I love that all the covers are three different body types in their healthiest form.”
Clauson, who ditched her top for the issue, hopes the cover will “help inspire young women.”
“I think every little girl has somebody to relate to in the issue and every woman stands for something and it’s not just a model,” Clauson explained. “Everybody has a personality.”
Day shared with People that they are prepared for all types of reactions to the updated cover, even the backlash.
“Haters gonna hate. I know that. I’m always like, ‘How am I going to make everybody love us?’”
The 2016 Swimsuit Issue is also making headlines for a different reason.
It will be the first issue available in virtual reality. According to The Verge, about 500,000 special newsstand versions will be issued and sold for around $10. The issue will include a Cardboard-compatible headset. Together with the Google Cardboard and SI App, viewers will be able to see a whole new perspective on the swimsuit issue.
The full Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is now available on newsstands.