When Ashley Graham first graced the pages of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 2015, she was modelling plus size swimwear for an advertisement (the first plus-size ad to ever run in the issue) —who knew that she’d land the sought-after cover a year later? Graham has essentially paved the way for other plus-size models to flaunt their curves in the world-renowned magazine.
This year, curvy model Denise Bidot will proudly show her stretch marks in a groundbreaking, unretouched Lane Bryant swimsuit ad to be featured in the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
“It’s an honour to be in the @lanebryant ad featured in the pages of the 2017 @si_swimsuit , completely unretouched,” the model captioned next to a sexy photo of her in a blue and white striped bikini. “It’s amazing to be a part of the change thats helping women see once and for all that nobody is perfect. We can still be beautiful in spite of our imperfections. It’s time we celebrate each other and learn to love the skin we are in.”
“Thank you @lanebryant for loving my body, stretch marks and all,” she captioned a photo weeks earlier, teasing fans with another bikini photo.
Bidot’s followers are loving the un-retouched images, calling her “unbelievably sexy” and thanking her for “being real.”
One Instagram user told the model, “I have had a really tough time loving myself lately, your bravery of not only loving yourself, but doing it publicly has given so many people including my self a great example of what embracing your body looks like. Thank you for all that you do, and please never forget that you are so gorgeous and worthy of love no Photoshop needed.”
In a recent video, the model, who is also founder of There Is No Wrong Way To Be A Woman talks about learning to fully embrace her stretch marks after having a daughter. The model said she didn’t get her first stretch mark until about seven-and-a-half months into her pregnancy.
“It took a little while to get used to my body to figure out who I was post-baby, which I think a lot of women struggle with,” she said. “It’s like, how do you find your sexy again?”
For the last six years of her career, the model said her stretch marks were Photoshopped out. She was afraid that they were limiting her modelling jobs, so she began spending “way too” much money on laser treatments and IPLs.
“I had been covered and shielded for most of my career,” she said. “And then I was finally allowed freedom to be myself and to share my body the way it was—with the imperfections, with the cellulite with stretch marks, and I dug it.”
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