Ashley Graham’s Historic 'Sports Illustrated' Cover Proves Beauty Is Not “One-Size-Fits-All”
By Ashley Michelle Williams--Wanting to change yourself to meet arbitrary standards of beauty is completely overrated—and I’m happy to say that plus-size model Ashley Graham just proved that to the world.
In a major move, Sports Illustrated made plus-size model Ashley Graham one of its highly-anticipated annual swimsuit issue cover models. It was an amazing body-positive moment for every person who has ever felt insecure about their body or like they were not enough.
After the announcement, the 28-year-old model posted on her Instagram that she was grateful for the history-making decision, saying: “Truly speechless!!! This cover is for every woman who felt like she wasn’t beautiful enough because of her size. You can do and achieve anything you put your mind to. Thank you so much to the entire @si_swimsuit team! I’m so excited to be a part of your family. I love you all!!! #siswim #beautybeyondsize”
On top of this decision, for the first time in over 50 years the renowned annual issue also featured two other women who represent different body types, American model Hailey Clauson and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey.
Sports Illustrated assistant managing editor MJ Day told The Huffington Post, “The three covers of Hailey, Ronda and Ashley celebrate the new SI Swimsuit. All three women are beautiful, sexy and strong. Beauty is not cookie cutter. Beauty is not ‘one size fits all.’ Beauty is all around us and that became especially obvious to me while shooting and editing this year’s issue.”
As someone who has personally struggled with body image, I can tell you that it is so empowering to see Sports Illustrated recognizing the importance of their covers representing a variety of body types. Many of the girls who came across previous Sports Illustrated cover photos probably felt like they needed to be stick-figure thin or have a different body type in order to be considered beautiful.
Graham is an admirable role model; she is the epitome of how accepting and believing in yourself can make anything possible. I hope that her belief in herself and her successful career will inspire people to stop thinking that they should aspire to be anything other than who they truly are.
This epic move by Sports Illustrated is a declaration to every woman, proving that beauty is not one-size-fits-all. And actually, what is most beautiful about a person is when they choose to embrace and accept themselves for who they are.
What do you think of Ashley Graham's new Sports Illustrated cover? Tell us in the comments below!
About this blogger: Ashley Michelle Williams is an energetic, world-traveled broadcast and digital journalist. She currently works at NBC Network News. For her efforts in journalism, Ashley has received many honors, including the 2011 Student Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists; the Pat Tobin Scholarship from the Black Journalists Association of Southern California, a Hearst Journalism Award Nomination; and more. Having overcome anorexia and bulimia, she hopes her involvement in NEDA and her support of those battling eating disorders will help many people, especially African-Americans, who are suffering from eating disorders. The opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect those of NBC.
Also by Ashley Michelle Williams:
Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated