When the annual Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Issue hits newsstands Feb. 9, readers may notice something a little different.
For the first time ever, the magazine will feature a plus-size model.
Ashley Graham, age 27, will be the first size 14-16 model to appear in the much-hyped annual issue.
Graham’s appearance is part of an ad for the plus-size bathing suit company, swimsuitsforall.
She says in a statement: “I know my curves are sexy and I want everyone else to know that theirs are too. There is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt.”
Graham, a Nebraska native who was discovered in a mall at age 12, has previouslyappeared in campaigns for Levi’s, Target, Hanes, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Old Navy, and many more.
Just last year, she was one of five plus-size models that earned a spot on IMG’s coveted modelling roster.
In 2010, Graham starred in a commercial for plus-size clothing retailer Lane Bryant that was later banned for apparently being too hot for TV. Lane Bryant, however, argued that networks stopped airing the ad because they’re “turned off by big gals.”
In a recent essay for The Edit, Graham writes of body image:
I was told to look up to Marilyn Monroe and J.Lo, because those were the only two curvy women considered beautiful. We need role models for young girls who say, ‘Embrace your curves. Who cares that your body isn’t perfect?’ There’s too much anorexia, obesity and suicide in this generation and nobody is addressing the issue.
Young girls don’t have much to look at, curvy women are not on covers of magazines, they’re not talked about on social media as much as other celebrities. Jennifer Lawrence is the media’s poster girl for curves — [but] she’s tiny.
Watch Graham’s #CurvesInBikinis commercial below for SwimsuitsForAll.
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