Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue Is an Ode to Curvy Women

Elise Solé

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is a yearly nod to the leggy, thin supermodels of the moment, but this year, the magazine is straying from its typical formula by featuring plus-size models.

Plus-size model Denise Bidot appeared in an ad in Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit issue, stretch marks and all. (Photo: Getty Images)

While it’s business as usual on the outside — SI veteran and self-proclaimed curvy girl Kate Upton graces all three covers — the inside pages are a groundbreaking push for body diversity. First, in an advertisement for plus-size clothing company Lane Bryant, model Denise Bidot, 30, poses in a bikini from the brand’s Cacique Swim line, bearing stretch marks on her stomach and an IDGAF look on her face.

Denise Bidot for Lane Bryant in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. (Photo: Lane Bryant)

“It’s amazing to be a part of the change that’s helping women see once and for all that nobody is perfect,” Bidot wrote about her unretouched ad on Instagram. “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.”

Plus-size model Ashley Graham (who currently graces Vogue’s March cover) stars in a campaign for Swimsuits for All that’s also on the inside pages of the SI issue. The ad shows Graham and a group of nonmodel pals, burning up the town of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Plus-size model Ashley Graham, center. (Photo: Instagram/swimsuitsforall)

The Lane Bryant ad is somewhat of an encore for the company. Back in December, the company debuted the Escape Collection, in which Bidot wore a nautical-themed bikini, proudly revealing stretch marks on her stomach. While body-positive ads were nothing new for Lane Bryant, the fact that Bidot’s stomach wasn’t digitally retouched sent shock waves through social media, with many commending Lane Bryant for showcasing “real beauty.”

Denise Bidot, pictured not retouched — just beautiful — in a Lane Bryant ad in December. (Photo: Lane Bryant)

Bidot even weighed in then, writing on Instagram, “Loving this new image and how real it is. Thank you @lanebryant for loving my body, stretch marks and all.”

She also told Yahoo Style at the time, “As a model I do not have say over whether or not images are retouched or kept authentic. It was refreshing when the images launched, and I was really excited to see they did not remove my stretch marks or who I am and let me be free in my body. I think the consumers really appreciated that.”

In 2015, Bidot also starred in a Swimsuits for All campaign that ran a behind-the-scenes video of the model without digital alteration. For the line’s newest campaign, featured in the current Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, size-16 beauty Graham rocks her own colorful designs alongside women of varying ages and body types.

Graham and friends. (Photo: Instagram/swimsuitsforall)

Cheers to body-positive swimsuit models!

Read More:

Ashley Graham Is Breaking Gender Barriers and Promoting Body Positivity in V Magazine

Kate Upton’s Promoting Her Bikini Cover in a Very Prim Dress

Ashley Graham Brings Diversity to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

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