Robyn Lawley Makes History As The 1st Plus Size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Model


Hooray for history-making women! We LOVE Robyn Lawley and everything she stands for because in almost every interview she does, she talk about body image, being a plus size model, not being ashamed of her body, not bending to anyone else’s rules (especially those of the fashion industry) and advice for other girls.

She is already a history-maker by being the first plus size model to head up a campaign for Ralph Lauren, which was essentially what got her noticed around the world. The past few years her dance card has been filled to the brim, and her presence in the industry is certainly damning any lingering antiquated attitudes which think plus size is a “niche” market which doesn’t sell.

Not one to rest on her laurels, the Aussie-born superstar is making history yet again by becoming the first plus size model to be featured in the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. She has been named “rookie” for 2015, and we have no doubt this isn’t the last the magazine is going to see of her.

Also we need to point out that Robyn is a size 12. In the fashion world that is considered plus size, in the real world that is considered frickin’ normal! While it is intensely frustrating that these stupid labels blatantly show what a skewed perception of body image the fashion and advertising industries portray, if women like Robyn can continue to dominate fashion-related headlines, perhaps one day there will be no need for body segregation.


“I don’t know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not,” she told Time magazine. “I just consider myself a model because I’m trying to help women in general accept their bodies.” The shoot took place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming while Robyn was in her first trimester of her pregnancy. She is due to give birth to her first child with fiance Everest Schmidt.

Assistant managing editor of Sports Illustrated, MJ Day, said Robyn had been on her radar for a while and her inclusion in the magazine is because she is a model, not “plus size”.

“She sort of embodies the classic SI girl — she’s interesting, she’s beautiful, she has an incredible body, and I felt that she would make a great addition to the issue. It was simple as that.” Yep, it’s that simple, bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s normal. Still waiting for the fashion world to catch up with reality…

There is another notable inclusion of a plus size model in this Swimsuit Edition. Another one of our model obsessions, Ashley Graham, who models for the SwimsuitsForAll line will have one of her campaign images shown in the magazine fitting in with the campaign’s tagline “You’ve Got It. Flaunt It.” The collection ranges in sizes from 10-34 and is a major statement in a magazine that previously has been notorious for shutting out body diversity.

“I know my curves are sexy and I want everyone to know that theirs are too. This is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt. The world is ready for more curves in bikinis,” Ashley said in a statement.


You can watch Ashley’s campaign video for the line, which we kinda thought promoted women’s bodies as an objectification tool for men, but that’s another issue. We’re here to celebrate body diversity and breaking new ground in fashion and advertising.

Speaking of which, we should give kudos where kudos is due, because back in 1997 Tyra Banks became the first black woman to be featured on the magazine’s cover, which opened up a whole new avenue for many other ethnic models.

In an event celebrating the magazine’s most iconic covers in 2014, Tyra had this to say about her inclusion:

“A lot of the women here say it was their dream. But it wasn’t my dream, because I didn’t think it was possible. And I didn’t think it was possible because of the color of my skin….I want to thank Sports Illustrated…for thinking different, for being daring and for making every little black girl that year that saw that issue go ‘oh my God, mama, I think I’m pretty because a black girl’s on the cover just like me.’ I stand here representing everybody with a dream, to know that if you have a dream and you have tunnel vision, it can come true.”


Since then the mag has featured one other black woman (Beyonce, 2007) and model Chrissy Teigan who is half Norwegian half Thai descent.

It’s a small victory having Robyn included in this magazine. But let’s not lose perspective. She is an amazing woman who has made a successful career out of her high profile fashion jobs and using her platform to speak out about ridiculous industry trends.

On HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight’, host John Oliver summed up why Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue shouldn’t exactly be viewed as any sort of standard, because the fact that the media is still holding women on a pedestal for their looks isn’t exactly progressive.

We need women of all shapes and sizes represented in fashion and advertising, in a way that doesn’t objectify them, emphasizing that a woman’s worth is solely tied to her appearance.



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