Fashion

Body diversity, at last: plus size models and a 56-year-old woman feature in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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Could 2016 be the year that brands finally start embracing body diversity?

From Barbie's new range of tall, curvy and petite dolls to Aerie's unretouched swimsuit campaign featuring a size 16 model, we're certainly not off to a bad start.

And now, Sports Illustrated have released their annual swimsuit edition featuring not only two plus-size models, but also a 56-year-old.

Philomena Kwao

Philomena Kwao

Branded #SwimSexy, the campaign is a three-page advert for plus-size brand Swimsuits for All.

It stars 28-year-old Ashley Graham, a celebrated plus-size model from Nebraska who made headlines last year when she became the first size-16 model to appear in Sports Illustrated in a #CurvesinBikinis campaign for the same swimsuit brand.

Talking about the campaign to New York Daily News Graham said, “I imagined myself as a sexy Bond girl coming out of the water during the shoot. It doesn't matter if it’s an ad or not. The message of inclusion is powerful for all women.”

A fierce campaigner for body positivity, the model also launched her own line of lingerie at New York Fashion Week last year and told Stylist magazine readers they need to learn to love their cellulite in an exclusive video.

Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham

The campaign also stars British plus-size model Philomena Kwao, 26, and Nicola Griffin, 56, who will become the oldest person to feature in the magazine in its 62 year history.

Speaking about #SwimSexy, she told the Mail Online, "I’m not large, but I want to see someone who is showing me clothes that I can actually see myself buying... 

I think it’s important that we go in the right direction — I’ve raised two girls, and they look at the TV and they look at magazines, and they feel bad. And that’s awful."

Nicola Griffin

Nicola Griffin

You can watch a video of the kickass ladies in action on the shoot below.