When you think of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit runway show, what do you imagine? Probably perfectly proportionate super models, strutting their stuff down the stage right? Their tight yet voluptuous bodies, perfect skin, and flawless face just being their pretty little selves…
That might’ve been what they promoted in the past, but this year’s runway show has taken a turn—for the better, AND for the inclusivity.
The 2021 runway show was held at South Beach’s Mondrian Hotel on July 10, featuring models such as Jasmine Sanders, Natalie Mariduena, Brooks Nader, Katrina Scott and Kathy Jacobs, as well as a few Sports Illustrated Swim Search finalists. Additionally, the finalists included a variety of athletes, models, entrepreneurs, students, moms and more.
“Its annual Miami runway show which collectively rounds out this remarkable group of authentic and aspirational women has become the go-to show during swim week in Miami,” Sports Illustrated said in a statement.
There were models with curves—like real, relatable curves and extra skin. There was cellulite! There was even a model in a wheelchair, something that would’ve never happened just a few years ago. Best of all? Confidence radiated off the faces of the models who walked up and down the aisles like the champions they are. It was so amazing to see.
“The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit franchise is all about empowerment and is a platform championing diversity, inclusion and positive change,” the company said in a statement. “As our audience evolves, as the conversation around beauty, size, race and gender change, we are working even harder to celebrate unique beauty and draw awareness to inspiring stories that might otherwise go untold.”
We do have to give Sports Illustrated some credit. In recent years, they have definitely been trying to stray away from the stereotypical supermodel that once was. Last year, they featured model Valentina Sampaio, who became the first transgender woman to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. And back in 2016, the first plus-sized model, Ashley Graham, to pose on the cover.
What do you think of this selection of models was for this year’s runway show? How do you think Sports Illustrated has gotten more inclusive over the years? What would you like to see in next year’s show that perhaps you didn’t see this year and that could make it even better?