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Ashley Graham Is a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie of 2016

In advance of the Sports Illustrated 2016 swimsuit issue release next week, the brand has just announced model Ashley Graham as their second rookie of the year. (Barbara Palvin was announced yesterday, and three more rookies will be revealed in the coming days.)

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Robyn Lawley took the honor last year as a 2015 rookie of the year—making history as the 'first-plus-sized' model to appear in Sport's Illustrated's swimsuit issue. It was last year's swimsuit issue that also marked Graham's first SI appearance, in a headline-garnering ad for Swimsuits for All's #CurvesinBikinis campaign—the first time a plus-size ad ran in the magazine. (Read our interview with Graham to find out why she has a problem with that whole 'plus-size' label.)

The body positive activist has continued to break down barriers in the modeling industry with her Ted Talk, "Plus-Size? More Like My Size" and through her various partnerships with brands that embrace women of all sizes, including NYDJ's "Fit to Be" campaign and Lane Bryant's #PlusIsEqual. And now, bringing everything full circle, Lane Bryant has announced that their just-launched campaign, #ThisBody—celebrating women's curvier bodies and shutting down the notion that 'sexy comes in one small form'—will debut their ads in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. 

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Kudos to Graham for continuing to shut down antiquated ideals of what it means to be a model. And to paraphrase her own words, we can't wait for the day when curvy models appearing in the pages of Sports Illustrated is so common, we can't even keep up with it. (Next up: 12 Times Ashley Graham Showed Us What Fitspo Was Really About).

 
 
 

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