Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is making headlines for featuring its first ever plus-size model and it’s first plus-size advertisement in the 2015 issue.

Ashley Graham Stars In First Plus-Size Ad In SI Swimsuit Issue

Ashley Graham, 27, is being praised as the first plus-size model to be featured in Sports Illustrated, and, while she is one of the first, Graham is technically not appearing on behalf of the magazine – she did not pose for the magazine, nor was she asked to. She is, however, the star of an ad campaign for swimsuitsforall, which specializes in creating fashionable swimwear for plus-size women. The company, which sells sizes 8 through 34, paid Sports Illustrated for the ad space, placing a plus-size model in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

“I know my curves are sexy and I want everyone else to know that theirs are too. There is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt. The world is ready for more curves in bikinis. Swimsuitsforall helps women feel confident and sexy in swimsuits and I am so thrilled to be a part of the #CurvesinBikinis campaign,” Graham said in a statement.

Robyn Lawley: First Plus Size Model In SI Swimsuit Issue Editorial

While the ad’s placement in the magazine is historic, and allows Graham, size 16, to continue her legacy of breaking down barriers for plus-size women, Graham is technically not the first plus-size woman to pose for the famed SI Swimsuit Issue, as she is not featured in the editorial portion of the magazine. (The confusion likely stems from the fact that swimsuitsforall is debuting their ad in Sports Illustrated.)

The title of the first plus-size model featured in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue editorial actually goes to one of 2015’s featured ‘rookies,’ Robyn Lawley, 25. Lawley, one of the most successful plus-size models in the fashion industry, is actually a size 12, putting her right below the average size of women in the US. (In the fashion world, sizes 10 and up are considered ‘plus.’)

Lawley appears in the issue wearing a bikini from her own swimsuit line. However, unlike Graham, Lawley does not want to be labeled a plus-size model, saying, “I don’t know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not. I just consider myself a model because I’m trying to help women in general accept their bodies.”

In comparison, Graham embraces being a ‘plus-size’ role model for women. She co-founded ALDA with fellow plus-size models Danielle Redman, Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson and Marquita Pring, and the group advocates for teaching women body acceptance. “We need role models for young girls who say, ‘Embrace your curves. Who cares that your body isn’t perfect?’ There’s too much anorexia, obesity and suicide in this generation and nobody is addressing the issue. Young girls don’t have much to look at, curvy women are not on covers of magazines, they’re not talked about on social media as much as other celebrities,” Graham said in an interview with Net-A-Porter.

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