Last year: She recreated Sport Illustrated’s swimsuit edition cover with fellow plus-sized models.
This year: She commanded her own photo shoot in the 2015 issue, as the first-ever plus-sized model to appear in the annual bikini bible.
Australian Robyn Lawley is a gorgeous U.S. size 12, still slimmer than the average American woman (a size 14). She doesn't look obviously "plus size" to us, but in a world where size 2 is so regularly presented as the ideal, we'll take Lawley as the size-12 agent of change that she is: her appearance in the issue marks a historic first for Sports Illustrated.
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Lawley herself shies away from any labels, in an interview with Time magazine. “I don’t know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not,” she said. “I just consider myself a model because I’m trying to help women in general accept their bodies.”
MJ Day, assistant managing editor of Sports Illustrated, echoed Lawley’s thoughts, explaining that the magazine will simply refer to her as a model, dropping the “plus-size” tag.
“She sort of embodies the classic SI girl—she’s interesting, she’s beautiful, she has an incredible body, and I felt that she would make a great addition to the issue,” Day said. “It was simple as that.”
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She shows off her stunning figure in the photo spread, in some shots wearing a bikini from her own swimwear line.
“I never thought this would happen to me, so this is a milestone,” Lawley said. “When I started my career ten years ago, I had to painfully go to castings and people would look at you and say, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’… I want to be there for the regular girls who are my size.”
The swimsuit issue boasts another first, with the inclusion of an ad for Swimsuits For All, featuring plus-size model Ashley Graham. The campaign for the swimwear shopping site, called #CurvesinBikinis, is yet another indication of the rise of the curvy girl.
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