This Famous Swimsuit Runway Show Proved That Beauty Can’t Be Measured in Years or Pounds
Sports Illustrated has been in publication since 1954, but it’s the magazine’s annual swimsuit runway show that made it famous. Just recently, this runway show was very much like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, but this year, they decided to change its concept. In the show now, women who don’t fit outdated beauty standards proudly walk the runway.
At Bright Side, we decided to look at the photos of the 2022 Sports Illustrated swimsuit runway show to understand why it was deemed “body-positive.” And in the bonus section, you’ll find the magazine cover, showing a 75-year-old woman who is still a sought-after model.
What makes the Sports Illustrated swimsuit runway show unique?
The 2022 show was not only body-positive, but also not as traditional. In fact, ordinary women, including a physicist and a construction worker, walked the runway alongside professional models.
Another unusual thing about this show was that any woman could take part in it. Those who appeared on the runway were selected by the editors of the magazine based on the photos and videos sent by the applicants. And we decided to get to know some of the models who walked the runway and really stood out.
Hunter McGrady started her modeling career at the age of 15. However, by the age of 19, she moved from being a straight-size fashion model to a plus-size one because she couldn’t maintain the necessary weight and size 2. And this is exactly what the agency demanded of her.
Today, 29-year-old Hunter is Sports Illustrated’s curviest swimsuit model and says she feels great in her natural body. By the way, Hunter’s older sister, who is her co-host on their podcast dedicated to modeling, also participated in this year’s show.
Jasmine Sanders’ modeling career began at the age of 13, but she still had a lot of insecurities. “Being in the industry at a young age, you’re dealing with a lot of negativity,” 30-year-old Sanders said. “But I just tried to make a name for myself and get people to understand that my body’s beautiful as well.”
"If you’re going to see me on a runway in a bikini, you are going to see my cellulite, you’re going to see stretch marks because my body does fluctuate like everyone else’s. She continued, “I absolutely love my body and have learned to embrace every bit of change and every curve.”
Before walking the runway, Ashley Byrd used to be a construction worker. Byrd wanted to move to a big city and try herself in modeling. But she had to save some money to fulfill her dream first, and construction workers were paid well at that time.
Byrd says that she didn’t plan to work in construction for long, but eventually stayed there for a few years. According to her, it even helped her modeling career because other work didn’t seem hard after many shifts in the terrible cold or scorching heat.
Byrd says that taking part in the Sports Illustrated runway show has always been her dream. But for a long time, she didn’t dare to send in an application, fearing refusal, as all her previous attempts to get a job in modeling ended up with a “no.” Nevertheless, she plucked up her courage and sent her video to the magazine, proving that she was eligible for the show.
Camilla Kostek began to work with Sports Illustrated in 2017, but she took her first steps in the modeling industry a few years earlier. However, her career didn’t develop smoothly: agencies kept telling her she wasn’t tall enough (she stands at 5’8″) or thin enough. But the creators of the magazine were impressed by her beauty, and since 2017, she has appeared on the pages of the magazine 5 times and once on its cover.
In addition to modeling, Kostek is involved in social activities. For a few years now, she has been touring American universities and colleges for her own show, where she conducts talks on self-acceptance and body image.
Unlike other models, Manju Bangalore’s collaboration with Sports Illustrated magazine began precisely with the 2022 show, and the issue with her photo won’t be released until next year. Bangalore is probably one of the most unusual models, being that she is a physicist and scientist-astronaut candidate.
In addition to working in the science field, she leads 2 charitable projects. Her first project helps women get necessary personal hygiene products, and the second one provides free painting kits and art classes to those affected by Parkinson’s disease.
Shannon Burton started modeling 15 years ago. At that time, she turned 35, an age when many models finish their work in the fashion industry. The model admitted that she was told “no” many times because of her age, but she didn’t even think about giving up, saying, “I turned 50 in March and felt it was the perfect way to celebrate such a big milestone. So I went all in.”
“I have 2 teenage daughters who are always observing,” Burton said in an interview. “I want them to see their mom pursuing dreams, pushing boundaries, and standing strong so that they too will feel empowered in their lives to do the same.”
Denise Austin can rightly be called one of the pioneers of the fitness industry. She’s been a trainer and author of books on healthy lifestyles for 40 years. Denise is 65 years old now, but as you can see in the photo, she is in perfect shape. Austin helps women over 50 get the body of their dreams.
In the 2022 show, Austin participated with her daughter, Katie, who is also a fitness trainer. “I had a unique feeling when I walked the runway with my daughter,” said Austin, who was the most senior model of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit runway show.
Bonus: Maye Musk
Even though Maye Musk didn’t participate in the swimsuit show, her photo appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2022. Musk has been in the fashion industry for more than 50 years and will turn 75 next year.
Do you think women of all sizes should walk the runway, or it is a place exclusively for those with a “perfect body?” Share your opinions in the comments below.