The Editor of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue Posed in a Bikini to Make a Powerful Point

"There's not a singular definition of beauty."

Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue 2017
(Image credit: Sports Illustrated)

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is usually known for featuring impossibly gorgeous models wearing next to nothing. (Exhibit A: this year's cover model Kate Upton, basically wearing some string.) So it's not normally associated with body acceptance—rather, it's known for inspiring envy in women everywhere.

But despite its reputation, the editor of the annual issue is speaking out about body diversity. In a new campaign, editor MJ Day points out that this year's magazine is apparently "the most inclusive ever," featuring models of many different ages, backgrounds, and body types. And the mom is jumping into the fray herself with a bikini-clad video.

Day posted the video to the Women IRL Instagram account to kick off a campaign to celebrate all body types. The campaign is now asking people to pose in their own swimsuits and explain the traits and aspirations they "model" to others.

She explained the concept while wearing a black bikini and holding her 2-year-old son at her hip. "We want to celebrate strength, beauty, and more," she said. "I'm determined to get out the message that there's not a singular definition of beauty."

Day reposted the video to her own account, adding an empowering message about accepting body diversity not only in the pages of the magazine, but also in her own life.

"Deep. Breath. If I'm going to talk the talk I am going to walk the walk. Please consider participating. It was equally terrifying and liberating for me. Funny how I have spent my life on a beach since childhood and I have never truly felt comfortable in a swimsuit. Even at my thinnest. We need to love ourselves in the present. No matter what. I invite you all to do so."

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Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.