Sports Illustrated Issues First “Plus Sized” Model

After 52 years, the magazine's annual swimsuit issue has "Plus Sized" model Ashley Graham on the cover

Ashley Graham

On Monday, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue hit newsstands and made waves by having their first “plus sized” model grace the cover. Despite the magazine producing its annual swimsuit issues since 1964, it has never been diverse in terms of body shape despite claims that encourage their models to “eat a burger.”

This year, Ashley Graham, a size 14 model graced the cover, after last year’s issue came under fire for having another supposed “plus size” model that hardly looked the part, Robyn Lawley size 12. They faced less protest with this issue and more support over the casting of Graham. Although she auditioned for the 2015 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, she was not hired but did appear in an advertisement within for a plus size swimsuit company.  The 28-year-old Nebraska native has also graced the cover of Elle Quebec.

At age 12, Graham was discovered in a mall and five years later she moved to New York to pursue modeling full time. She has been modeling for 15 years now originally a size 18, but went down a size after adapting a regular exercise schedule and diet. She has worked with several brands such as Lane Bryant, Target, Levi’s, and Bloomingdales, with hopes to work with high-end fashion houses such as Givenchy. Graham is currently signed to IMG models who also represent Alek Wek, Candice Swanepoel, Chanel Iman, Gigi Hadid, and Georgia May Jagger.

Ashley-GrahamIn addition to being featured in Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar, she has also done her own TED Talk titled “Plus- Size? More Like My Size.” In an interview with The Daily Beast, Graham said that she viewed Marilyn Monroe and J. Lo as her idols despite them both being a size 6.

Supermodel Gigi Hadid and UFC fighter Rhonda Rousey also are in the issue. The Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue has helped to launch and further the careers of other models such as Kate Upton, Heidi Klum, and Chrissy Teigen.

Although Graham is proud of size and her weight, she hopes that the term “plus sized” will dissolve within the next year or so; she prefers the term “curvasexalicious.”

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