On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit showcased obese model Hunter McGrady. “Exposure to diversity is the catalyst that will ignite tolerance, acceptance and understanding,” said McGrady; the quote captioning a photo of the model laying on the beach.
The magazine also posted a video of the 26-year-old posing during the shoot:
Sticking with their theme of “diversity,” SI touted their first ever “burkini” and hijab-clad model, 21-year-old Somali-American model and activist Halima Aden, last month. Both McGrady and Aden are featured in the same issue.
“Once again, so proud to be a part of this incredible issue,” the model captioned a tweet from SI showcasing Aden.
Writing for the outlet, McGrady fittingly went in-depth discussing the running theme of diversity and praised global connectivity.
“For too long we have heard talk that we need of diversity in media, but what exactly does that look like,” she said. “The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and not only recognizing our individual differences, but accepting them wholeheartedly. Differences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs or other ideologies need to be fully embraced as the very fabric that make up our modern understanding of the world today.”
The model noted Aden gracing the pages of SI, which she said joyously “brought tears” to her eyes.
“All-encompassing representation in media is important for many reasons, the main reason being that the more we shed a positive light on any and all stereotypes, we increase the chance that they may be eradicated. As a society we see ourselves through a social lens and because of that, it is imperative to see images each of us can relate to,” McGrady continued.
“The influx of technology and the way the Internet has obliterated the borders that separate various cultures and geographical locations means the stage is no longer just America. The entire world is at our fingertips. It is more important now than ever to allow these various cultures to be seen and heard,” she wrote. “It’s more important than ever to expose people to the richness of diverse cultures and the traditions and perspectives of the people who make up the world we now communicate with.”
“It takes one person, one publication or one label to make that leap into being inclusive and diverse and to speak out on behalf of those who are not able to,” McGrady added. “Exposure to diversity is the catalyst that will ignite tolerance, acceptance and understanding. Every generation has the opportunity to do something great to impact the world in a positive way. We will be the generation that shatters perceptions.”