Diversity was at the forefront of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit show that debuted during Swim Week in Miami.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit put together an unconventional runway show that left a Miami crowd roaring in approval as models with prosthetics, cellulite, full-figure bodies, and different skin tones strutted the catwalk.
Held Saturday, July 15 at the W South Beach Hotel, models donned the latest pieces from swim lines by Stella McCartney, Reina Olga, Jonathan Simkhai, Paraiso, and 40 other brands.
Models were their authentically true selves–whether a woman had a disability, curvier shape, or wore a curly Afro–all while walking a runway with a backdrop LED screen that displayed Ashley Graham and Candice Swanepoel.
The history-making show kicked off with American snowboarder and Paralympian Brenna Huckaby who proudly debuted her prosthesis foot, leg, and thigh.
Model Mara Martin strutted the runway during the Paraoiso show while breastfeeding her five-month baby to the audience’s applause. She said the reasoning behind it is simple–she wants to show women that it’s normal to publicly breastfeed a baby.
“Words can’t even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit,” she wrote in a post on her Instsgram profile. “Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine. I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day.
“It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that.”
The post has reached over 27,400 likes.
The fashion show was part of a three-day, outlier event dubbed #SISwimSearch, where Sports Illustrated Swimsuit stacked its own claim to history during Miami’s Swim Week.
The event also featured a two-day model search hosted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s Editor MJ Day and influencer Kate Upton–who announced her pregnancy. The casting call drew a line of model wanna-bes in all shape, color, and size from the W Hotel on 23rd Street to STK.
The casting call was a departure from Sports Illustrated Magazine’s tradition of featuring solely tall and thin models.
For Swim Week, the magazine powerhouse hosted an open, all-inclusive casting call which attracted over 1,000 model hopefuls throughout Miami-Dade County.
Models Hunter McGrady, Myla Dalbesio, Vita Sidorkina, Georgia Gibbs, Chase Carter, Anne De Paula, Jasmyn Wilkins, Camille Kostek, and Haley Kalil were on hand to give contestants modeling tips and contribute to the Miami Swim Week diary that includes behind-the-scene footage at Paraiso.
The panelists choose women who represent America’s diversity.
While sipping sweet beverages made of Whispering Angel and Ron Barceló, over 900 guests attended the show and watched Justine Skye perform.
The runway show attracted celebrities such as actor Ryan Phillippe, basketball player Joel Embiid, Victoria’s Secret model Joy Corrigan, Christie Brinkley, and Olvia Culpo.
The open casting call took place at Paraiso during Miami Swim Week and models were chosen by a panelist comprised of celebrity photographer Yu Tsai, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s Editor MJ Day, and influencer Kate Upton.