You know the world is changing when a publication like Sports Illustrated starts making some body positive moves. Last year, the magazine featured curvy model Ashley Graham in a swimsuitsforall ad while Robyn Lawley became the first model visibly above a size 6 to land an editorial in its annual Swimsuit Edition. And this year, Robyn Lawley is in Sports Illustrated yet again, taking her from rookie status to full-fledged star of one of the most coveted modeling gigs in the whirlwind industry.
What a year for the Swimsuit Edition, guys. Ashley Graham is a cover girl, and she, British Ghanaian model Philomena Kwao, and mature model Nicola Griffin were all featured in another swimsuitsforall ad within the publication. The trio is undoubtedly breaking rules and broadening definitions of beauty with every sultry glance toward the camera. And now Lawley's back to top things off? This is the most body positivity ever contained in the pages of the swim issue, and that makes this particular edition one to remember.
While I know that Lawley isn't what many might consider "plus size," the fact that Sports Illustrated is branching out into territories above a size 2 or 4 is still pretty groundbreaking. I'm a big believer in the fact that we need more model representation in this world, and particularly more representation of women above a size 22 within the plus industry. But I know I can expect that kind of representation from the indie brands — the ones that live and breathe body positivism. Diversity is unfortunately not something I expect from my glossies. Especially not the Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated.
So maybe Lawley isn't visibly plus size, and maybe Sports Illustrated could've included a fat-presenting plus size model alongside Lawley, Graham, Kwao, and Griffin. But three years ago, I wouldn't have ever expected to see these four babes in its pages. Three years ago, I would've thought anyone above a size 4 was "beneath" this magazine.
The fight for all kinds of diversity, size diversity included, is one that's far from over. But in a world where size discrimination is still a very real thing, I'm personally willing to celebrate some of these victories along the way.