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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Women of Western: Ashley Graham

By Alyssa Evans

Take a guess.

What does a 28-year-old size 16 model, a thin 20-year-old model and a 29-year-old mixed martial artist all have in common?

They are all cover models for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Ashley Graham, Hailey Clauson and Ronda Rousey made history this month as the first women to appear on a three cover edition of SI Swimsuit.

Each female showcases a different body type. From Graham’s debut as the first “plus-size” model to grace the magazine’s cover to Clauson’s tan, tall and lean physique to Rousey’s strength as a mixed martial arts fighter, the three women each have something different to offer to women.

The magazine’s decision to include Graham as a cover model has gotten several people talking.

It’s simple to say that not everyone is a fan of Graham’s presence on the cover. People have claimed the model’s looks are simply a result of her height:


While others have called out the magazine for allowing Graham to even be on the cover:



Yet like usual, with criticism come compliments. Several people praised Graham for her looks:



While others questioned why Graham wasn’t given a cover to herself:


Sophomore Rebecca Fitzgerald, a vocal performance major, also questions if this year’s edition of the swimsuit magazine should have only had one cover model.

“It’s nice to see a different woman on the cover. I like that they have three different body types, but I feel like this might not be the issue to do that with,” Fitzgerald said. “If they’re advertising that the first plus-size model to be on a Sports Illustrated cover is on the cover, why does that have to be the issue that we have three different women?”

Fitzgerald believes that Graham should have been given a single cover spot, without other models.

“I feel like [Graham] should get to be the only cover. She’s a beautiful girl and she deserves to be a swimsuit model,” Fitzgerald said. “Lots of women who are going to be going out to buy swimsuits look like her on average today.”

Outside of her modeling career, Graham also acts as a model, designer, motivational speaker and body activist. In 2015 she presented a speech at a TEDx event where she discussed her experience as a model and her views on body empowerment. Watch the video here.

Do you think that Graham should have been the only cover model for SI this year? Do you think that she shouldn’t have been chosen as a model? Let The Western Front know by tweeting @TheFrontOnline.


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