Sports Illustrated's models are now also breastfeeding moms, Paralympians and plus-size beauties

Sports Illustrated Swim Search models on the runway
Sports Illustrated Swim Search models on the runway

The modelling world has slowly started to embrace body positivity and inclusivity in their messages, ads, campaigns and shows. In the last decade we’ve seen more models of colour, diverse body shapes and even models with disabilities featured in various campaigns and magazine shoots, but it’s still slow going. 

Especially with a brand like Sports Illustrated, which is well-known for using the same type of model (usually blonde, blue eyed and big breasted) for a lot of their campaigns. They did however feature Ashley Graham as their first ever plus-size model to do a cover shoot in 2016

READ MORE: Yes, 2018! This is what a bra ad should look like

Now the magazine seems to be making strides in inclusivity with their latest fashion show over the weekend. The show’s big news was the model who breastfed her child as she walked down the runway. 

According to Huffpost, 30-year-old Mara Martin was one of 16 finalists in the Sports Illustrated Swim Search – an open casting call that allows anyone to compete for a spot on the runway. CBS4 Miami says the models who auditioned for Swim Search competed via interview and the competition made an effort to include a diverse range of women. 

Footage of Mara soon went viral, with more than 350 000 views on Instagram alone. 

But the Swim Search finalists were all a diverse group of women with models of various skin tones and body types featured and even a model with a prosthetic leg named Brenna Huckaby. 

READ MORE: This wheelchair-friendly jumpsuit is everything (and more) the fashion industry needs

Brenna is a Paralympic gold medal snowboarder and Sports Illustrated model and she led the final walk down the runway. The 22-year-old was the first Paralympian to be featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, ahead of the Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in March 2018.

There’s been a great response to the clips of the show on social media with people saying great and supportive things about the models:

Mommiegonecrazy - "Love this. Different shapes and sizes! And they are all beautiful!"

Maiadoesmakeup - "SI, you’re doing amazing sweetie"

READ MORE: Sudanese-Australian model makes history at Paris Fashion Week for being second black woman to close runway show

Marinabulatkina - "Omg! Amazing variety of models. This makes me wanna shop those swimsuits!"

Here’s hoping all catwalks eventually become this diverse. 

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