On Feb. 15, the newly released 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue made history. From featuring plus size WOC model Precious Lee in an advertisement to celebrating mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey and plus size model Ashley Graham on covers, it's the most diverse edition of the publication to hit magazine stands since the swim issue's launch in 1964. But one of my favorite moments in February's Sports Illustrated issue was the swimsuitsforall #SwimSexy ad, featuring Graham, British Ghanaian model Philomena Kwao, and 56-year-old mature model Nicola Griffin rocking gold metallic bikinis for the body positive brand.
In a contemporary world that still struggles with issues of sizeism, racism, and ageism, seeing these three women in Sports Illustrated's Swim Issue — a publication that has long celebrated mainstream, supermodel-esque beauty and women like Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigen, and Cindy Crawford — is undoubtedly meaningful for many people. Not just because of how the three women look. But because of what these women stand for. In their own ways, they each fight for inclusivity in an industry that's never cared much for celebrating diversity.
Body positivity, although a current buzzword of sorts, is of utmost importance for a more fulfilled, self-loving existence. But when we are told repeatedly that fat is ugly, that white skin is the best skin, that getting old is normal but looking old is not, achieving a sense of self worth can be tricky. Thankfully, Graham, Kwao, and Griffin have some words of advice for us. Here's what these babes would tell their younger selves about body positivity if they had the opportunity. Let us all take note, too.
Image: Bustle (1)