Not too long ago, Sports Illustrated was considered a pretty typical men’s magazine. Alongside its regular sports content, the magazine featured stereotypically beautiful, highly sexualized female models in various stages of undress. It wasn’t until 2015 that the magazine began to evolve, printing a Swimsuits For All advertisement featuring now-major plus-size model Ashley Graham. Since then, Sports Illustrated has continued to diversify—and this year’s swimsuit issue is the magazine’s most inclusive edition yet.
In addition to featuring four plus-size models within its pages (and a whole host of non-models), the 2017 Swimsuit Issue includes a stunning ad for Cacique, Lane Bryant’s swimwear line. The ad is impressive not only because it stars plus-size model Denise Bidot in a bikini (which is, obviously, awesome), but because it’s completely unretouched—every “imperfection,” every “flaw,” is presented exactly as it photographed. Over the image, written in simple white font, are the words: “ My Confidence…Inspired By #ThisBody.” What’s most exciting about the ad, is that Bidot, like many women, has stretch marks. They’re not airbrushed out or covered up by an arm or a cleverly-placed strip of fabric, but proudly shown off, as they should be. (Remember when Chrissy Teigen showed hers on Twitter? Seriously, NBD.)
On Wednesday, Bidot posted the gorgeous advertisement on Instagram, writing:
“Its an honor to be in the @LaneBryant ad featured in the pages of @si_swimsuit, completely unretouched. It’s amazing to be a part of the change that’s helping women see once and for all that nobody is perfect. We can still be beautiful in spite of our imperfections. It’s time to celebrate each other and learn to love the skin we’re in.”
Unsurprisingly, Denise Bidot’s post quickly racked up thousands of likes—more than 15k, at last count—and received hundreds of supportive comments from women who are ready for stretch marks to be seen as normal since so many us have them—especially those who, like Bidot, have children. As the model says, “we can still be beautiful in spite of our imperfections.” It’s time to celebrate real beauty instead of unrealistic expectations.
See more stunning body-positive campaigns:
- Nike’s Body-Positive Bra Campaign Is All About the Curves
- Torrid’s #TheseCurves Campaign Features Real Women, And It’s Sexy As Hell
- Plus-Size Brand Lovesick Expands Its Size Offerings With an Empowering New Campaign
Watch: How One Plus-Size Model Learned to Love Her Body