Not everyone is a fan of Sports Illustrated‘s groundbreaking 2016 Swimsuit Issue.
More: Ashley Graham embraces her thigh jiggle in a powerful way
Former cover model Cheryl Tiegs, in particular, has some harsh words for the magazine’s decision to include Ashley Graham, a full-figured model, on its cover.
“I don’t like that we’re talking about full-figured women, because it’s glamorizing them — because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]. That’s what Dr. Oz said, and I’m sticking to it,” Tiegs told E! News Wednesday. “No, I don’t think it’s healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don’t think it’s healthy in the long run.”
But Sports Illustrated‘s decision to include Graham has been widely praised, Tiegs’ criticism aside. One source told E! News that the cover model shake-up was “a nod to female empowerment,” and we couldn’t agree more.
Graham, who poses in the ocean in a skimpy purple and yellow bikini on the cover, said she was thrilled to be one of SI‘s rookie cover models this year.
“I’ve got plenty of friends [of all sizes] and different shapes and everything,” she said. “And I don’t want any of them to feel like they aren’t ‘real women.'”
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She said landing the cover was particularly exciting after she’s struggled to build her career in an industry that tends to be obsessed with skinny.
“I had agents tell me, ‘You’ll never get on the cover of magazines. You’ll never be an editorial model,'” she said. “I had agents wave money in my face and say, ‘If you drop some pounds, you can have a lot more of this!’ And not even that was something that encouraged me to lose weight!”
She continued, “The moment I realized I had to be healthy and happy in who I was, that’s when my career took off.”
Ultimately, Graham’s goal is to inspire other women to be comfortable in their bodies.
“I am hopefully going to change the lives of so many different young women,” she said. “So many young women who have been told that their cellulite is ugly; that their inner thighs that jiggle and touch are ugly, because I have all those things, and I’m on the cover of Sports Illustrated. So they must be beautiful!”
More: Meet the gorgeous model who’s the oldest to appear in Sports Illustrated
After the backlash, Tiegs responded with one tweet:
Do you agree or disagree with Cheryl Teigs’ comments? Let us know in the comments below.
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