Sports Illustrated has released its 2017 swimsuit issue featuring one of its most diverse line-ups yet - Serena Williams, Simone Biles and Robyn Lawley all star in the magazine, with Kate Upton on the cover.
The issue is full of beautiful women sporting different swimsuits, but one model in particular has set tongues wagging because her body is larger than the rest.
Hunter McGrady is bigger than the women we normally see emerging from the sea or arching their backs in the sand, and so of course her inclusion is still causing a big reaction.
McGrady says she cried when she found out she was going to be a part of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.
“I was shocked because this was a dream of mine. I don't even think it's hit me yet. I think that once it comes out I'll be like, ‘Oh my God, it's really real!’ You know what I mean? It still feels like a dream to me.”
And instead of wearing an actual swimming costume or bikini, McGrady is in fact wearing bodypaint cleverly designed to look like a swimsuit.
She undoubtedly looks fabulous, but McGrady is the only woman of her size in the line-up - the vast majority are the ‘straight-size’ models that dominate the industry.
However the issue also features top athletes Serena Williams and Simone Biles, and has received praise for including strong women whose bodies help them achieve incredible sporting feats.
McGrady is a champion of diversity in the modelling industry and is an inspiration for women all over the world because she doesn’t try to hide or cover her body, as so many of us who aren’t model-sized do.
“My main goal is to get across to women that you are able to love your body at any size and that you're sexy and beautiful at any size,” McGrady said. “Beauty is not a size and I'm really happy that the industry is accepting body diversity.”
Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue was first created in 1964 to boost sales, but many people now find it unbelievable that it still exists, seemingly objectifying women just as much as many now defunct lads mags did.
In 2013, the swimsuit issue sold ten times more than an average edition of the magazine. But in an age where naked women are just one internet search away, the magazine has been forced to create some sort of controversy or talking point each year.
For 2017, that talking point may just be Hunter McGrady. We only wish her inclusion wasn’t such a big deal.
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