Ashley Graham has said she was left “a little speechless” after hearing Cheryl Tiegs's criticism of Sports Illustrated’s decision to put the UK size-16 model on their Swimsuit cover.
Last week, when Teigs was asked what she thought of Graham's groundbreaking cover by E! News, she said: “I don’t like that we’re talking about full figured women because it’s glamourising them because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]. That’s what Dr Oz. said and I’m sticking to it."
The 68-year-old, who graced the cover several times throughout her modelling career continued: “I don’t think it’s healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don’t think it’s healthy in the long run."
At the Vanity Fair post-Oscar party, Graham was asked about Tiegs' comments by Access Hollywood.
“Oh my goodness," she said, "It’s so interesting because Cheryl has been an inspiration because she is a Sports Illustrated girl for so long and I think what this is doing is proving that beauty does come in all shapes and sizes and I applaud Sports Illustrated.”
But the body-positivity campaigner said the remarks did leave her "speechless".
“I thought it was an interesting comment and honestly, I was left a little speechless when I heard it but you know Cheryl’s beautiful and I wish her the best.”
Graham said the two had not had a conversation but if Tiegs reached out to her she wouldn’t object, adding: “I’m sure we’d both have a lot to say.”
Tiegs apologised on Friday, a day after making the comments, saying she “truly just wants everyone to be healthy and happy”. The tweet came after she reportedly shared an initial tweet saying: “To clarify re bodyweight. Being anorexic/bulimic/overweight all connected to health problems. I want all to be as healthy as they can,” although this was later deleted.
Graham, along with UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and model Hailey Clauson, was announced as a 2016 cover star for the coveted issue in January. The 28-year-old, who is also a prominent body positivity campaigner became the first woman of her size to appear on the issue.