Ashley Graham just made history by being the first ever plus-size model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In an announcement made on Saturday, the well-known sports media magazine stated this year’s issue will be having not one, but three covers – also a first for the publication – and that Graham will be joined by UFC star Ronda Rousey and fashion model Hailey Clauson.
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 first in the magazine’s 52 years of existence, the three covers showcase the ladies in different sexy looks. Ashley Graham, who is a size 16, is shown posing on the beach wearing a purple-and-yellow string bikini. Rousey’s cover, on the other hand, shows the former UFC champion wearing nothing but an intricate body paint swimsuit, and Clauson sports only a tiny pair of bikini bottoms.
A photo posted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on
The three lovely ladies attended a Sports Illustrated cover reveal special, which was hosted by Nick Cannon and Rebecca Romjin. Ashley Graham was visibly shocked by the announcement and couldn’t contain her emotions as the three magazine covers were unfolded on stage.
Ashley Graham, Ronda Rousey, Hailey Clauson Cover SI
Hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska, Ashley Graham is not only a model but also a body activist who has publicly spoken multiple times on body image issues that dominate Hollywood and mainstream media. Because of her natural beauty and advocacy, the 28-year-old model was selected to promote Lane Bryant’s #PlusIsEqual movement and walk on the runway for Addition Elle’s Modern Boudoir line of lingerie.
— HuffPost Canada (@HuffPostCanada) January 17, 2016
In an interview with People magazine, Graham talked about the revolutionary move by Sports Illustrated to explore female physiques other than their usual slender and sometimes skinny models.
“I thought Sports Illustrated was taking a risk by putting a girl my size in the pages,” said Ashley Graham. “But putting me on the cover? They aren’t just breaking barriers. They are the standard now. This is beyond epic.”