Sports Illustrated’s new swimsuit edition has three different covers, and one of them features the first plus-size cover model in the history of the annual issue.
Ashley Graham, size 16, was delighted to be chosen as the issue’s cover. She wrote on Instagram:
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 part of your family. I love you all!!!
SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day told Yahoo, “It was so obvious when we were looking at all of our photo selects. So when I saw the beautiful picture of Ashley, the beautiful picture of Hailey, and the beautiful picture of Ronda, it wasn’t ‘Are we gonna do this?’ It was ‘This is happening.’”
Willi Koopman, a former model for Vogue, told CBS Los Angeles, “Women feel they are never good enough. There is never a right weight … [But] if they are healthy, they feel good.” Personal trainer Lisa Raffay added, “It says how times are changing. ‘Skinny’ is not ‘good.’”
Plus-size super model Emme told Good Morning America, “It’s a very, very big stake in the ground saying this is a point in history that we are going to roll forward in a more positive, a more inclusive way on how we see women, images of beauty. I think it’s going to reverberate across the industry, whether it’s fashion, toys, magazines. It’s not a trend.” She added, “It’s a wonderful time in history. There’s a whole line of beautiful young ladies right behind Ashley who are not going to make this a trend,” she said of the cover model. “They’re all going to be a part of this beautiful momentum, rolling forward, for women and girls and, quite frankly, for the men who love them.”
The other two covers will feature wrestler Ronda Rousey and model Hailey Clauson.