Ashley Graham: 1st Plus Size Woman to be Featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

    Another score for inclusive advertising. The 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will be featuring a plus size woman for the first time ever— and in a bikini, no less. Go, girl!

    Ashley Graham: 1st Plus Size Woman to be Featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

    Ashley Graham, a 26 year old model from Lincoln, Nebraska, recently posed in the #CurvesInBikinis campaign for the brand swimsuitsforall, which was picked up by the magazine for this season’s Swimsuit Issue (undoubtedly the most anticipated magazine launch each year).

    It was only last year that the publication featured Barbie— as in, the doll— on the cover-wrap with the caption “The Doll that Started It All” as she (it?) showed off her unrealistically skinny physique. Many referred to the spotlight as the cherry on top of an already skewed representation of women’s bodies (with an ode to the unrealistic standards Barbie has set for young girls since 1959).

    Whether intentionally making up for the debacle or not, all thumbs are up in regards to Graham’s feature in the upcoming issue. Redefining what it means to have a bikini body, she confidently flaunts what she’s got unapologetically up and down the beach, rocking a classic black triangle bikini.

    The tagline, “You’ve Got It. Flaunt It.” is an empowering mantra that helps to break down the body type standards that Sports Illustrated had perpetuated in the past. While the fashion industry has notoriously inflated sizes so that “plus size” can mean anything above a size 6, Graham represents our nation’s average at a beautiful size 16.

    “I know my curves are sexy and I want everyone to know that theirs are too. This is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt. The world is ready for more curves in bikinis,” Graham said in a statement.

    She told The Edit back in December, “We need role models for young girls who say embrace your curves, who cares if your body isn’t perfect? […] There needs to be more education in schools, because that’s where eating disorders start. It’s not just about being healthy; it’s also about loving who you are.”

    “Tastes and body types change over time and curves have never been more ‘in,'” Moshe Laniado, CEO & President of swimsuitsforall said. So true, as seen in the latest viral video from Buzzfeed. Let’s hope it’s not just a fad, and body acceptance actually starts becoming the norm.

    The 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue launches online Monday 2/9 and will be available on newsstands on Tuesday 2/10.

    What’s your response to Sport’s Illustrated’s first plus-size model?

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