Sports Illustrated unveils plus-sized cover star

Ashley Graham is the second plus-sized model featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition.
Ashley Graham is the second plus-sized model featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition.

Sports Illustrated has turned a new leaf.

Not only has the popular magazine released three covers for its 2016 Swimsuit Issue, but it has chosen three stunning women with different body types.

Plus-sized beauty Ashley Graham, MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and model Hailey Clouson each grace a cover of the annual bikini special.

"All three women are beautiful, sexy, and strong. Beauty is not cookie cutter," the magazine's assistant managing editor MJ Day said.

"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 was revealed last month as one of the cover stars, pictured stripping off and posing in a painted-on bathing suit.

"It's a real honour being part of such a historic issue that really pays homage to different body types of women and not promoting just one cookie cutter image for every woman, but showing that the healthiest version of every body type is the sexiest version out there," the 29-year-old said after the covers were unveiled in New York on Saturday.

"And I couldn't be happier ... I think I was just as honoured to get it as to be there in person to watch Ashley's reaction."

Graham, a size-16 lingerie model, is the second plus-sized star to feature in the mag's swimsuit edition - but the first to clinch a cover.

Meet our third 2016 #SISwim cover model @haileyclauson! ??

A photo posted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on


Say hello ???? to 2016 #SISwim cover model @rondarousey! The best part, she's one of three.

A photo posted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on


Introducing the second 2016 #SISwim cover model @theashleygraham! ????

A photo posted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on


The 28-year-old is pictured wearing a skimpy purple and yellow string bikini as waves crash around her.

After the announcement, she burst into tears and said, "I'm shaking. I'm so honoured."

Meanwhile Clouson, 20, is a two-time SI swimsuit model who began modelling at 14.

"Hailey is the cool girl who doesn't even know how cool she really is," said editor MJ Day.

Because one just wasn't enough. Here are your THREE 2016 #SISwim cover models! ????

A photo posted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on


"She's not only every man's dream but also every woman's 'girl crush.' She's goofy. She's smart. And she's completely humble. What's crazy is you don't even feel like she knows that when you're around her."

Last year's cover featuring American model Hannah Davis left very little to the imagination.

Davis donned a microscopic bikini, even pulling down her bottoms to reveal her ... lower region.

Previous SI cover stars include Kate Upton, Irina Shayk, Chrissie Tiegen, Nina Agdal and Lily Aldridge.

- news.com.au

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