The good news: the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue has more body and age diversity in its pages than ever before. The bad news: now more types of female bodies can be ogled and objectified.
Regardless of how you look at it, SI is at last taking a cue from the body-positive movement and changing with the times. Last year, for the first time, the special issue of the magazine featured a (debatably) plus-size model, Robyn Lawley, in its official spread and a plus-size model, Ashley Graham, in an advertisement for Swimsuits for All.
This year, they've really stepped it up a notch: UFC champ Ronda Rousey is on the cover, proving that strong really is the new pretty, and Graham, a size 16, has officially been named an SI swimsuit model (which, she wrote on Instagram, "is a dream come true"). She'll also appear for the second year in a row in a Swimsuits for All ad — this time alongside British Ghanaian curve model Philomena Kwao and 56-year-old model Nicola Griffin, according to AdWeek.
That's right: a model over the age of 50 will appear in a swimsuit — flowing silver hair and all — in the same pages as bikini-clad twentysomethings.
"People think you lose your sex appeal as you get older — but that's a myth," said Griffin in a statement. "I've never felt sexier. I have two daughters and I'm so proud they get to see me looking sexy and confident in a bathing suit."
Griffin is the oldest woman to ever appear in the magazine's showcase of nearly-nude women since its debut in 1964 (do the math — she was alive then!). While, yes, she's in an ad and not the official spread, we hope she'll follow in the footsteps of Graham and be a part of next year's SI swimsuit rookie class.
Kwao, who said she "never imagined" she'd be featured in the pages of SI, "as a woman of color and curve model," shared a video from the shoot, in which all three women — Kwao, Graham, and Griffin — flaunt their curvy bodies in sexy gold bikinis:
This is how we #SwimSexy. @swimsuitsforall @theashleygraham @nicolajgriffin
A video posted by Philomena Kwao (@philomenakwao) on
The issue doesn't come out until next week, but just by including this campaign — which delivers age diversity, body diversity, and race diversity in one fell swoop — we know it has to be the best one yet.