Diversity Becomes Priority at Sports Illustrated

By Taylor Bushey

Like many brands, several are making political statements with each new campaign released, promoting gay rights, supporting the beauty of body peace and many more. Following quickly behind the trend, Sports Illustrated has literally stepped up their game this year to express more diversity within their magazine.

Ashley Graham, an American plus-size model, has people talking as she struts on the cover of this month’s issue. She’s noted to also be the first curvy girl to ever be on the cover for the publication. Not only that, but there are actually three main girls on separate covers of the magazine, all showing a different body type. Joining Graham are Rhonda Rousey and Hailey Clauson for the swimsuit issue.

Each girl has a different body type and they all created a valuable reputation for themselves in a distinctive way. Rhousey was chosen for her inspiring personality and balance of beauty and cleverness. Clauson is the classic glamour girl who is down-to-earth and radiates with confidence.  By all of them having a cover appearance on one of the more iconic issues of the magazine, they are able to make a direct statement about the natural, modern body type.

Despite this being one of the more major statements for the magazine, Sports Illustrated has also made other diverse engagements recently. Last year, Graham was featured in a section of the magazine, and that’s how more people associate her as she’s become more public.

56-year-old Nicola Griffin was also featured in a swimsuit feature last year in a metallic bikini rising out of the water. She strikes a confident and elegant pose. This was another way for the magazine to come out as more diverse. More specifically, they targeted age as factor, and in releasing these photos, they acknowledge that everyone can look sexy no matter how old.

Sports Illustrated is headed for a more positive state of mind and consumers will start to associate the magazine as one to admit people of all forms—not only one thought as being “right” or “acceptable.” By picking up this magazine, readers are given an open-minded view, which promotes the diverse image and right way of thinking the publishers wanted all along.