Women Posed Like 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Models & The Results Are Super Empowering

Sports Illustrated made headlines this year for widening the scope of the types of models it features in its Swimsuit Issue; curve model Ashley Graham, MMA star Ronda Rousey, and model Hailey Clauson all made covers. A recent BuzzFeed video features women posing like Sports Illustrated swimsuit models for covers of their own, and showing what an even more diverse set of covers might look like. The photo shoot proved to be an empowering experience for the six models, and the resulting covers show inspiring photos of women being bold, proud, and body positive.

Writing about their experiences during the photo shoot for BuzzFeed, a number of the participants explain that they have rarely, if ever, seen people like them represented in publications like the Swimsuit Issue. Nina, for example, explains, “I don’t think I’ve ever really seen myself fully represented on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers. There’s only been a handful of women of color on these covers, and all the women tend to have a very similar body type: big boobs and flat stomachs.” Shannon adds, “As a paraplegic woman I definitely don’t see my myself represented on an Sports Illustrated cover, but then I don’t see myself represented on any covers.”

Although these cover girls suggest that the shoot itself was more difficult than they had expected, involving uncomfortable posing and sand everywhere, they ultimately enjoyed themselves, and most were excited about their mock-covers. “When I saw my picture for the first time, I felt empowered,” Shannon explained. “It’s a strong image, my disability is front and center.”

Sheridan, who rocks a red bikini on her cover, emphasized how important representation is, saying, “When we see an image that somewhat reflects ourselves, it gives us the confidence and determination to live a life in which we don’t hate our bodies.” She added, “We’re all coverworthy.”

Check out the covers in the video below:

Boldly on YouTube

Images: YouTube (3)