With the 2016 edition of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue set to hit newstands Monday, the magazine held a one-hour television special Saturday night to promote their product and their models.
Part of the show, which aired directly after a wildly exciting NBA slam dunk contest, was used to unveil the issue’s covers. For the first time ever, the magazine will released three unique covers with different models.
Models Hailey Clauson, left, and Ashley Graham, center, will join mixed martial arts superstar Ronda Rousey as featured models on the magazine fronts, with each having something unique to offer. SI.com’s assistant managing editor, MJ Day, spoke about the decision:
“Every single woman that is booked for this magazine is cover worthy. The collective beauty in the magazine is overwhelming. SI has always been and will always be about the models; the pictures you see here are a celebration of them.
“The three covers of Hailey, Ronda and Ashley celebrate the new SI Swimsuit. 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.”
Rousey joins Maria Sharapova, Danica Patrick, Lindsey Vonn, Serena Williams and several other female athletes to be in the magazine, but she is the first ever to be on a cover.
Graham, who wears a size 16, was in the magazine last year, but was pictured as part of a paid advertisement. This year, she is one of the plus-sized models to be featured in the pages, continuing a trend that started last year when Robyn Lawley became the first plus-sized model to appear as editorial content in the annual issue.