And we're girl-crushing hard on Hailey Clauson, Ronda Rousey, and Ashley Graham

By Lauren Mazzo
February 16, 2016

The Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue has been graced by the likes of legends like Beyoncé, Heidi Klum, and Tyra Banks, but it's making history this year with even splashier cover models. (Yes, plural). SI announced not one but three cover stars for their 2016 issue, and they're breaking the mold: Hailey Clauson, Ronda Rousey, and Ashley Graham.

"All three women are beautiful, sexy and strong. Beauty is not cookie cutter. Beauty is not 'one size fits all.' Beauty is all around us and that became especially obvious to me while shooting and editing this year's issue," said Sports Illustrated Assistant Managing Editor MJ Day in their announcement.

From Barbie to our favorite celebs, the body positivity movement is booming, and we couldn't be more excited that SI picked women who add fuel to the fire.

You may have seen Hailey Clauson, the blonde bombshell with Kate Upton-like curves, working with designers like Calvin Klein, Dsquared2, and Gucci. She's previously been in the SI swimsuit issue, but worked hard to get her hands (and the rest of her body) on the cover. With an Instagram of the new issue, she wrote, "...words can't describe how grateful I am. I have worked my butt off and never gave up on my dream!"

You may know the next cover model, Ashley Graham, who made waves for appearing in the swimsuit issue last year-but in an ad for Swimsuits for All's #CurvesInBikinis campaign. That ad marked the first-ever plus-size campaign in the issue and ran alongside the first appearance of a plus-size model (Robyn Lawley).

This year SI upped the ante; Graham has been named 2016's "rookie of the year" and is the first-ever size 16 on the cover. (There's a reason we aren't calling her 'plus-size.' See our interview with Graham to find out why.) She's the embodiment of sexy confidence and body positivity; she stood up to the modeling industry in her TED talk, "Plus-Size? More Like My Size" and is featured in the new Lane Bryant #ThisBody ad campaign, which debuts in the issue. (She also works hard to maintain her killer curves; see the 12 Times Ashley Graham Showed Us What Fitspo Was Really About.)

And last but certainly not least-you already know we're all about Ronda Rousey (just see the 15 Times Ronda Rousey Inspired Us to Kick Some Ass). She shows off her strong, sexy self on the cover in just a little bit of body paint. Though she's been in the Swimsuit Issue before (also in body paint), this is her cover debut. We'll consider this her rise from the ashes after being defeated by Holly Holm in November. We're looking forward to seeing her back in the ring, showing off the muscles and the skills that make her one of our favorite Women That Prove Being Strong is Dead Sexy.

Three very different women, three gorgeous covers. This body positive victory should serve as a reminder that all you need to have a beautiful bikini body is, well, a body.


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