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These New Swimwear Ads Speak Volumes for Women's Empowerment

swimwear ads curvy models women

By Lauren Chan

Between the 2012 Crystal Renn editorial, 2013 and 2014 Kate Upton covers, and Robyn Lawley's 2015 Rookie feature, Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue has proved that it's on a steady mission to celebrate curves in all sizes. To date, the biggest body-positive media splash was made by Ashley Graham when she appeared in last year's issue by way of a Swimsuits for All ad—and SFA is running with that momentum. This year, its ad features Graham alongside Ghanaian model Philomena Kwao and 56-year-old Nicola Griffin.

In an exclusive interview with Glamour, Kawo said, "I think the ad speaks volumes in terms of self-empowerment for each and every woman. We’ve looked at the specific body types, skin tones, and ages in the media for so long, and we’ve compared ourselves to that. Now, we're moving toward individualism and uniqueness as the standard."

Though Kwao admitted she never imagined herself in these pages, she's proud to be flipping through them today." Sports Illustrated has set the standard for what a swimsuit model should be," she said. "For a magazine that has that much influence to include models of different body types on their pages shows that they’re breaking down old beauty ideals while opening the doors of diversity and inclusivity."

Ashley Graham's 2016 Swimsuits for All #SwimSexy Ad

The new #SwimSexy campaign is meant to usher in the golden age (get it?) of body positivity by spreading the message that women of all ages, shapes and sizes are beautiful. In just a few hours, there are already Instagram users flooding @swimsuitsforall with positive comments like @bigbadwolfe's "#SLAYAGE!!!!!!!" and @oli_and_lou's "Serious #lifegoals over here. This makes me excited about getting older!"

On Kwao's Instagram, she's getting comments like "This is me!" and it's hitting home: "I keep seeing people comment that—and it’s humbling to know that I represent a wide range of women that had previously felt alienated," she said. "I hope any woman who feels their ethnicity isn’t well represented in mass media—whether that be Asian, Hispanic, or black—sees this and feels accepted."

Also on the SI swimsuit docket: Ronda Rousey will appear in body paint and it's also been announced that Graham will be one of the rookies appearing in the issue. See the first snap, here:

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