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Upcoming Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to Feature Plus-Size, Middle-Aged Models

During recent years, Sports Illustrated has faced increasing criticism over its consistent usage of models with the same traditional body type in its annual Swimsuit Issue. Many feel that particular body type — very thin — is not representative of most women. This year, the magazine is trying something different.

The 2016 edition includes Ashley Graham and Philomena Kwao, two models who defy that traditional look, along with Nicola Griffin, who at 56 years of age is a bit older than the usual swimsuit model. All three women can be seen wearing the same gold bikini under the #SwimSexy hashtag in a three-page ad for Swimsuits for All, a company which produces swimwear for plus-size women (size 8 and higher).

Graham, who frequently models lingerie for Lane Bryant, has appeared on multiple magazine covers, but this is her first S.I. swimsuit pictorial. “This is a dream come true,” she wrote on her Instagram. “Thank you to everyone who stood up for curves.”

Also appearing in this year’s Swimsuit Issue is professional mixed-martial-arts fighter Ronda Rousey, wearing only body paint. The issue will feature more well-known models from past editions as well, so this is not a complete departure from years past.

This year’s cover will be revealed on Saturday, February 13, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT. Last year Hannah Davis appeared on the front of the issue for the first time.

Confidence is my golden rule. Have you seen my new #SwimSexy campaign with @swimsuitsforall in @SI_Swimsuit?

A photo posted by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on

It’s the golden age of body positivity and I’m so proud to be a part of it. #SwimSexy @swimsuitsforall #PhilomenaKwao

A photo posted by Philomena Kwao (@philomenakwao) on

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