Sports Illustrated Featured an Inclusive Range of Models on Their Runway

On July 10th, Sports Illustrated held an inclusive runway show at South Beach’s Mondrian Hotel before the release of their well-known swimsuit issue.

sports illustrated swim
Credit: Instagram via Sports Illustrated Swim

Past Runways

In the past few years, Sports Illustrated has tried to break away from their old habits of featuring only a certain type of model: tall, thin, and busty!

In 2016, the brand became more inclusive when Ashley Graham was featured as the first plus-size model to be on the cover of their swimsuit issue.  Last year in 2020, the brand diversified itself even more when LBGTQ model, Valentina Sampaio became the first transgender woman to be featured in their magazine.

Their 2019 show was also one to remember, showcasing a SI model in a hijab, a fitness instructor with alopecia, and a former dancer in a wheelchair.

sports illustrated swim
Credit: Instagram via Sports Illustrated Swim

Who Walked This Year

This year the runway looked a little different than it has in the past.

The 2021 show was their most inclusive one yet! It featured individual’s of all different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and even ages. This year’s SI models included: Jasmine Sanders, Natalie Mariduena, Brooks Nader, Katrina Scott, and 57-year-old Kathy Jacobs.

It also featured 15 other SI Swim Search finalists as well, ranging from models to students and even a medical saleswoman and personal chef. Their focus was finding models with a story, who could also represent and empower audiences of all types.

In a press release, the company said, “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit continues to redefine the cultural conversation around beauty by celebrating a diverse group of women who include professional athletes, entrepreneurs, models, mothers, rookies and swim search contestants.”

Read more about the swim search finalists here!

sports illustrated swim
Credit: Instagram via Sports Illustrated Swim

The Importance of Representation

In recent years, Sports Illustrated has rebranded their image after realizing the importance of representation in the industry.

Inclusion allows for the proper acknowledgement of certain communities that may get underrepresented in mainstream media and in particular, the modeling industry. It is a big deal  for a company as widely known as Sports Illustrated to be using their platform to promote diversity and inclusion.

This year, Sports Illustrated said in a statement, “The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit franchise is all about empowerment and is a platform championing diversity, inclusion and positive change.”

They continued, “As our audience evolves, as the conversation around beauty, size, race and gender change, we are working even harder to celebrate unique beauty and draw awareness to inspiring stories that might otherwise go untold.”

What did you think of the inclusive range of models on the latest SI runway? Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

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