Sports Illustrated got its first Black, plus-size swimsuit model and she’s so damn hot

Believe me when I tell you I thought Ashley Graham would be the last curvy girl to appear in Sports Illustrated. Since the magazine’s inception, there have only been three Black women to grace its cover, and they were all straight-size models.

But as of yesterday, plus-size model Tabria Majors has made history, breaking her body type into the pages of SI.

She’s embracing the saggy boob look, too

In my adolescence, all the guys in my class would drool over the skinnier girls in middle school mathematics, but these gorgeous pics of Tabria’s Sports Illustrated spread will hopefully convince people that there are other tasty-looking snacks at the table other than the ones we’ve been celebrating for the past zillion decades.

If you’re like me and shop plus, you may even recognize Tabria in your shopping cart after carrying out your addiction at Forever 21:

She’s literally the whole first row of bralettes

Even though big names like Vanessa Williams, Tyra Banks, and Dannielle Harrington have blessed us with their brown beauty, my heart is warming to see that the media is still taking steps forward to include more races and even more body types besides the more common hourglass figure.

She’s got saggy boobs AND a little tummy!

What can be most appreciated about S.I.’s choice to include Tabria in this issue is that she’s not the stereotypical body type we see in the industry. While “it” girls Iskra Lawrence and Ashley Graham have a tighter waist in proportion to their hips, Tabria is less curvy and with straighter proportions.

She says although it didn’t take her long to reach this level of success, she worked hard to get there. “To think just a little over a year ago I was still working part-time as a maid, literally scrubbing floors after I completed photo shoots, constantly questioning if this ‘modeling thing’ was going to work out,” she said of the issue.

Maybe one day if I get naked enough on Instagram, Sports Illustrated will hire my ashy butt to pose for its next issue. But I’ll probably just keep professionally thirst-trapping instead.

@aribines

SI Swimsuit’s plus-size model is embracing her curves

In a stunning black-and-white photo for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Hunter McGrady, 24, is the picture of confidence.

She’s nude, boldly looking at the camera, with a series of empowering words scrawled across her body. McGrady, who earned a coveted spot in this year’s issue, is a size 16 — the average for US women — and she’s not shy about showing off her curves.

But she wasn’t always so fearless.

As a child growing up in Los Angeles, she believed that being in front of the camera was in her blood. Raised by a model mother (Brynja McGrady) and an actor father (Michael McGrady), she always thought she would follow in her family’s footsteps. She got her first agent at age 16, but the nearly 6-foot-tall blonde quickly learned that even at a size 2, she was considered too “big” for the fashion world.

McGrady used to be a size 2 as a young [email protected]

In an effort to fit in, she stopped eating anything but salad — dressing on the side — and exercising for four hours a day to get down to a size 0.

“I was gaunt and very unhealthy,” McGrady, who now lives in New York, tells The Post. “I battled severe depression.”

Eventually, she decided that her dream of becoming a model wasn’t worth the toll it took on her physical and mental health. She got her high-school diploma, found work as a nanny and, finally, let herself eat.

By age 20, she’d transformed from a sickly teenager into a curvaceous woman, with hips, cellulite and even stretch marks. Rather than fight against nature, she made a vow that changed everything: She would love her body no matter what. It was a turning point for her career.

At the time, McGrady didn’t know much about plus-size modeling, but she always remembered the June 2011 “Vogue Italia” cover, with three voluptuous women in lingerie — Tara Lynn, Robyn Lawley and Candice Huffine — sitting seductively at a table set with red wine and pasta.

“I had never seen such a gorgeous cover in my entire life,” she recalls. “I didn’t know what it was, or what I was seeing, but these girls looked like me.”

Inspired by that image, she mustered the confidence to approach Wilhelmina Models, the same top agency that had once represented her mom. She was signed on the spot, and almost immediately booked jobs at Miami Swim Week in 2013, as well as gigs with top brands such as Nordstrom and Forever 21.

Her success was instant, and enormously validating. The shy, sickly teen who couldn’t book a job was reborn as an in-demand plus-size model who didn’t even have to bother with castings, because clients were requesting her.

“I wasn’t changing my body anymore,” McGrady says. “I wasn’t fighting to be something I wasn’t — and still, I was living my dream.”

Danielle Herringtonion graces the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which features McGrady.Ben Watts/Sports Illustrated

Then, Sports Illustrated called.

She first appeared in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue last year, with a single photo of her wearing nothing but body paint. This year, she’s more prominent, posing in a groundbreaking, black-and-white series that’s the issue’s homage to the #MeToo movement. She got to choose the words that appear on her skin.

“Confidence,” written down her leg, is an important reminder of how far she has come. But “worthy,” scrawled across her chest, is the most meaningful to the young pinup.

It reminds her of the affirmation she’s spoken every single morning since those days — now long ago — when she felt so insecure about her body that she would do anything to change it.

“I am beautiful in the skin I’m in,” McGrady tells herself daily. “I am worthy of success and feeling these wonderful things.”

Robyn Lawley Makes History as the First Plus-Sized Model to Appear in the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Sport’s Illustrated

Congrats to Australian model Robyn Lawley, who was just named one of Sport’s Illustrated’s “2015 Rookies of the Year.” But it’s not this honor we’re excited about: As a U.S. size 12, she’s the curviest model to ever appear in the Swimsuit Edition-and she’s flaunting her toned body in a bikini from her own self-titled swimwear line, no less! (Find out The Best Bikini Bottoms for Your Body Type.)

Technically a plus-sized model, Lawley looks gorgeous and healthy with a shape far more of us can relate to than most models we see. “I don’t know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not,” Lawley told TIME. “I just consider myself a model because I’m trying to help women in general accept their bodies.”

As if we don’t love her enough already, Lawley, who is now nine months pregnant, did the SI shoot during her first trimester. Talk about not showing! (And we’re adding her to this list of Inspiring Women Who Are Redefining Body Standards stat.)

Lawley is no stranger to high-profile modeling gigs, having graced the cover of Vogue Italia and Cosmopolitan Australia and shot ads for Ralph Lauren, Chantelle and Barneys. But she’s also experienced in representing confident, curvy women: She took part in a viral campaign last year for plus-size swimwear line SwimsuitsForAll, which recreated the iconic 2014 SI Swimsuit Edition cover, this time with plus-sized models.

In a funny twist, SwimsuitsForAll also broke new ground in the Swimsuit Edition with an ad featuring plus-sized model Ashley Graham-also a first for the magazine. (We love their new ad campaign too!)

We always love the SI Swimsuit issue for its fitspiration (start following these 10 Stunning Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models on Instagram), but it’s a refreshing change of pace to be able to picture both Hannah Davis (who graced the cover of the issue) and Robyn Lawley next time we want to snooze through our morning workout.

  • By Rachael Schultz @_RSchultz

Brides face enormous societal pressures when it comes to how they look, and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Hunter McGrady is no exception.

She recently opened up to Glamour about her disheartening experience shopping for a wedding dress.

“One of the first questions salespeople asked me was whether I was planning on staying this size for the wedding,” McGrady told the magazine. “It made my heart sink. I walked in feeling confident and dreaming of a dress that was romantic and whimsical, and suddenly all I could think was, ‘Wait a second. Should I lose weight?’ I even had salespeople say that they could cover certain areas to hide my hips or my tummy.”

But McGrady, a successful curve model who’s well-known for her body-positive posts on social media, had no plans to change for the big day.

Sports Illustrated model: I’m happier at a size 16 than a size 2

July 27, 201701:33

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“Are you kidding? I want to accentuate my curves!” she said of her response to the salespeople. “Here’s another thing: We need to start educating the people who work in retail about how to speak to customers, because if they want to help, they need to do it the correct way.”

“Not every woman is ashamed of her body,” she continued. “We need to stop pushing that narrative.”

McGrady, 26, married Brian Keys this past weekend in California.

In her interview with Glamour, which took place before the big day, she added that the way wedding dresses are sized (women typically wear two sizes up in bridal) didn’t help.

“There’s so much emphasis placed on the number inside your dress, and we’ve been told our entire lives that larger numbers are bad — society has brainwashed us to believe that being anything larger in a number size is worth freaking out about it, and that’s bulls—,” McGrady said.

Women for years have counted calories and embarked on fad diets in anticipation of their big day — a part of wedding prep that’s become such a given that it has its own hashtag: #sheddingforthewedding. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, a point McGrady also makes in her interview, she’s one of a new wave of women who are pushing back against the stereotype that all brides want to lose weight.

Take the woman who, after being shamed via text message by a personal trainer who offered to get her in shape before her wedding, had to politely explain that she’s already in shape and happy with her body. Or the bride who did lose weight for her big day but also called out the unfair “fat tax” that’s added to plus-size wedding gowns.

In Chicago, one woman has even opened a wedding dress shop that’s exclusively for plus-size brides, who are often turned away from other boutiques or have to resort to a single rack of gowns among dozens filled with dresses they can’t wear.

Plus-size bridal shop offers curvy women a place all their own

July 13, 201802:42

As for McGrady, she ended up with a custom dress from Watters Bridal — one that showed off all the curves she’s proud of.

“A lot of people asked me if I was going to wear a figure-hiding ballgown,” she told Glamour. “If you know me, you know I want to show off my body because I am proud of my body, damn it! I wasted too much of my life and too much of my time when I was younger obsessing over how I could change it and how I could be different. It was exhausting.”

Ashley Graham Has Had Mixed Feelings Over Her Pregnancy Weight Gain

In the second season of her ‘Pretty Big Deal’ podcast, Ashley Graham is yet again keeping it SUPER real. This week, the 32-year-old model and mom-to-be sat down with fellow model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to talk all things motherhood and what it takes to be a successful businesswoman.

During the interview, Rosie revealed she gained 55 lbs. during her pregnancy with her son, Jack, and had to learn how to accept the changes her body went through during pregnancy.

“By the end, I just felt really empowered in my body, but it took a minute to get there,” she shared with the podcast host.

Meanwhile, Ashley explained that she’s struggled with a “rollercoaster of emotions” as she watches her body change during her first pregnancy.

It was amazing to have a real conversation with @rosiehw about all the changes your body goes through during pregnancy on the latest episode of @prettybigdealpod. And when I say changes, I mean all the POUNDS!! Rosie, thank you for being so open & honest about your pregnancy weight gain, and what inspired your journey from countryside girl to badass businesswoman!

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@ashleygraham) on Dec 3, 2019 at 6:55am PST

“I have had really terrible days, I’ve had really good days,” Ashley admitted. “I mean everybody can tell you how cute your bump is, but when your body is changing so rapidly it’s like, you kind of have to succumb to it.”

Throughout her pregnancy, Ashley has taken to social media to share her journey with fans, documenting her new stretch marks and growing stomach.

“Getting bigger and bigger and trying to embrace my new body everyday,” she captioned a video of her bump. “It’s a journey and I’m so thankful to have such a supportive community.”

The former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model announced her pregnancy on social media back in August. She is expecting her first child with husabdn Justin Ervin.

“Nine years ago today, I married the love of my life,” she gushed in the caption alongside the adorable post. “It has been the best journey with my favorite person in the world! Today, we are feeling so blessed, grateful and excited to celebrate with our GROWING FAMILY!”

See all of Ashley’s gorgeous photos from SI Swimsuit 2018:

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by milkbaby bikini by Cat Thordarson.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Morgan Lane.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Top by Honey Punch. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by milkbaby bikini by Cat Thordarson.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Salty Mermaid.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by IZTALI SWIM.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Sports Illustrated Swim.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Top by Honey Punch. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Salty Mermaid.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Indah Clothing.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by milkbaby bikini by Cat Thordarson.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by PEIXOTO.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by milkbaby bikini by Cat Thordarson.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Morgan Lane.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Salty Mermaid.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Sports Illustrated Swim.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Top by Honey Punch. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by IZTALI SWIM.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by PEIXOTO.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Morgan Lane.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by TAVIK.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by INC Swim.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Top by Honey Punch. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by PEIXOTO.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Top by Honey Punch. Swimsuit by Ola Vida.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by Swimsuits for All x Ashley Graham.

Ashley Graham was photographed by Josie Clough in Nevis. Swimsuit by TAVIK.

1 of 37 Ashley Graham 2018: Nevis Advertisement

When Ashley Graham first graced the pages of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 2015, she was modelling plus size swimwear for an advertisement (the first plus-size ad to ever run in the issue) —who knew that she’d land the sought-after cover a year later? Graham has essentially paved the way for other plus-size models to flaunt their curves in the world-renowned magazine.

This year, curvy model Denise Bidot will proudly show her stretch marks in a groundbreaking, unretouched Lane Bryant swimsuit ad to be featured in the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

ALSO SEE: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue editor poses in a bikini to share an important message

“It’s an honour to be in the @lanebryant ad featured in the pages of the 2017 @si_swimsuit , completely unretouched,” the model captioned next to a sexy photo of her in a blue and white striped bikini. “It’s amazing to be a part of the change thats helping women see once and for all that nobody is perfect. We can still be beautiful in spite of our imperfections. It’s time we celebrate each other and learn to love the skin we are in.”

“Thank you @lanebryant for loving my body, stretch marks and all,” she captioned a photo weeks earlier, teasing fans with another bikini photo.

Bidot’s followers are loving the un-retouched images, calling her “unbelievably sexy” and thanking her for “being real.”

One Instagram user told the model, “I have had a really tough time loving myself lately, your bravery of not only loving yourself, but doing it publicly has given so many people including my self a great example of what embracing your body looks like. Thank you for all that you do, and please never forget that you are so gorgeous and worthy of love no Photoshop needed.”

ALSO SEE: Iskra Lawrence: ‘Your fat rolls are beautiful’

In a recent video, the model, who is also founder of There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman talks about learning to fully embrace her stretch marks after having a daughter. The model said she didn’t get her first stretch mark until about seven-and-a-half months into her pregnancy.

ALSO SEE: Mom shares before and after pregnancy belly shots as cheers to ‘mummy tummy’

“It took a little while to get used to my body to figure out who I was post-baby, which I think a lot of women struggle with,” she said. “It’s like, how do you find your sexy again?”

For the last six years of her career, the model said her stretch marks were Photoshopped out. She was afraid that they were limiting her modelling jobs, so she began spending “way too” much money on laser treatments and IPLs.

“I had been covered and shielded for most of my career,” she said. “And then I was finally allowed freedom to be myself and to share my body the way it was—with the imperfections, with the cellulite with stretch marks, and I dug it.”

Let us know what you think by tweeting @YahooStyleCA!

In this op-ed, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Hunter McGrady shares what it’s really like to shop for swimwear as a plus-size woman — and how the experience inspired her to design her own size-positive swimwear collection.

As summer approaches and magazines are featuring the obligatory ”How to Get the Best Beach Body” articles, there’s one thing on most plus-size women’s minds: swimsuit shopping. In addition to all the pressure the media puts on women to look a certain way, we are now feeling that same pressure when we’re shopping for swimwear.

Being a plus-size woman, swimsuit shopping has never been fun or easy for me. As I’d rummage through the racks of swim at retail stores, I’d usually find only a few pieces that are size XL. Still, I’d head to the dressing room to try on pieces that I already know will be disappointing. I’d look in the mirror and the cute little bikini that I’ve always wanted — the one that all my girlfriends wear — is barely covering my nipples, let alone my breasts. The straps are digging into my shoulders, already leaving red marks, and the bikini bottom might as well be a tissue with a string attached. Every single time, I leave defeated. This is what it feels like to shop for swimwear when you’re plus-size.

Hunter McGrady Plus-Size/Curve Red Wrap Bikini Top, $51, and Bottom, $34, playfulpromises.com

For a long time, we have been told that plus-size women are not worthy of wearing the same things as thinner women — especially when it comes to swimsuits. And even when there are plus-size swimwear options, they usually consist of all-black one pieces that cover you from your neck to your knees, because, once again, we are told by society that if you are a bigger size and you have stretch marks or cellulite, you need to cover up.

Swimsuit shopping needs its own makeover. Instead of telling women something is wrong with our bodies, we should be encouraging people to wear whatever we want as long as we feel our absolute best. Whether that is a one-piece, a tankini, a high-waisted brief and bikini top, or a little string bikini, wear it. No one should be chastised because of their size.

The truth is, we live in a blinded and brainwashed society that benefits from making women feel bad about their bodies. Dr. Gail Dines once said, “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” What’s more, we live in the generation of Facetune and Photoshop. We can morph our images into unrealistic versions of ourselves — versions we think people will be more approving of. Nothing is more disheartening, inauthentic, and self-alienating than desperately trying to look like someone you are not. And yet, that kind of airbrushing — and the negative body image it perpetuates — has become the norm.

Plus size swimsuit edition

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