Sports Illustrated celebrated the release of its 2019 Swimsuit Issue in Miami this week, and the red carpet for the event proved it’s the most body-diverse cast yet.
Days after the issue hit stands on May 8, the magazine hosted the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit On Location at Ice Palace on Friday, inviting models from the issue and other stars to pose for pictures, participate in a panel, and party.
And snaps from the event show that this may just be the most body-positive and inclusive issue ever: While there were certainly plenty of classically slim ladies in attendance, there were also several plus-size models, muscular athletes, and even a pregnant Samantha Hoopes, who cradled her baby bump in a very sexy black bodysuit.
Check ’em out! In celebration of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, out this week, the magazine is hosting events in Miami, Florida with a star-studded guest list
Ooh-la-la, mama! Among the attendees was Samantha Hoopes, 28, who showed off her baby bump in a sexy cut-out bodysuit
The model, who appears in the issue and is due in August, proudly showed off her pump in the sexy meets sporty look
Smile! She even had a bit of an accessory switch up, changing between heels and flats at one point during the day
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2019: A year of firsts
The 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is filled with ‘firsts’ and a level of age and body diversity never seen in the magazine before. Here are some the highlights this year:
Halima Aden, 21: First model to wear a burkini
Winnie Harlow, 24: First model with vitiligo
Veronica Pome’e, 29: First Polynesian model
Megan Rapinoe, 33: First openly-gay woman
Tyra Banks, 45: Oldest cover star. In 1996 and 1997, Tyra was also the first-ever black model to cover the magazine.
Paulina Porizkova, 54: Oldest model to pose in the magazine
Tara Lynn, 26: Oldest SI Swim rookie
Samantha, 28, is expecting her first child and due in August — and she’s certainly not hiding her bump.
The star wore a lacy black bodysuit with a plunging neckline and cut-outs over the tummy, which she paired with shorts and a white blazer.
Earlier this week, she posted another snap of herself wearing the same bodysuit and wrote: ‘Never felt sexier than I do now. Creating a human has been one of the most beautiful experiences in my life.
‘From watching my stomach go from flat to round and cellulite that I never had before appear, I really could care less because I know that this is the process to becoming a mother!’
Samantha doesn’t appear to have been pregnant, or at least wasn’t yet showing, when she posed for her photoshoot that appears in the issue. She was slim and toned for the shoot, in which she wore several tight one-pieces and skimpy bikinis.
Also at the event was Hunter McGrady, 26, who was a rookie in the magazine’s 2018 issue. She turned up in a floral dress, which she paired with pink shoes and a matching bag.
Double dose! Hunter McGrady, 26, was a rookie in the magazine’s 2018 issue and is back again this year
All dressed up: The model turned up to the event on Friday in a floral dress and hot pink sandals
Va-va-voom! Hunter posed for James Macari on a beach in Costa Rica
Working it! She posed confidently on the beach in a black-and-white one-piece with cut-outs
Myla Dalbeso also came to the Miami event today, showing off her tiny tummy
Bikini babe: The 32-year-old has been called a plus-size model in the past
Third time’s a charm! This is the model’s third shoot for the magazine
She’s the first: Halima Aden wore her hair wrapped to the event and is the first-ever model to wear a burkini in the magazine
Winnie Harlow, meanwhile, is the first model with vitiligo to pose in the issue
Speaking to Sports Illustrated this week, the plus-size model talked about the importance of diversity in media.
‘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,’ she said.
She also told InStyle how important it is for her to showcase her figure.
‘I just do what I feel is sexy — it’s never about hiding anything. It’s never about “Oh, let me tuck this in, let me do this, let me do that.” I really want to showcase my body as it is. It’s so important that it’s prevalent in the images that are picked,’ she said.
Myla Dalbesio, 32, is another ‘plus-size’ model to pose for the issue who attended the event, wearing a stretchy pink skirt and a blue-and-white striped button-down knotted below her chest.
The total pro: Tyra Banks waved as she arrived at the event in black jeans
45’s the new 25! Tyra is the oldest-ever cover model at 45 years old
Amazing: This is the supermodel’s third time covering the iconic issue
Rockin’ it! Paulina Porizkova wore a loose blue dress and cork platforms
The 54-year-old is the oldest model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
She spoke about struggling with the decision but ultimately embracing it
Boundary-pushers: Tara Lynn wasn’t at the event in Miami, but the plus-size stunner also posed for the magazine
Making waves: At 36, she is the oldest rookie to be cast for the issue
Myla, who at a size ten was called ‘plus-size’ when she posed for Calvin Klein in 2014, has been all about bucking labels for years.
Another plus-size model, Veronica Pome’e, also posed for the issue. Veronica is also the first-ever Polynesian model to pose for the magazine.
And it’s not just ladies with more curves that made it on the books — there are more ladies with muscle than ever, too, as several athletes posed for the magazine.
They include MMA athlete Paige VanZant, 25, who showed off her toned arms at the even in a strappy orange dress.
Also in the issue are Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, 22, Olympic soccer stars Alex Morgan, 29, Crystal Dunn, 26, Abby Dahlkemper, 25, and Megan Rapinoe, 33, and skier Lindsey Vonn, 34.
There’s been plenty of age diversity this time around as well: At 45, Tyra Banks is now the magazine’s oldest cover star, while 36-year-old Tara Lynn is its oldest rookie.
The issue is also full of athletes, like MMA fighter Paige VanZant, who wore an orange dress to the event
Sports takeover: US soccer player Alex Morgan stars on one of three covers, and chose three of her soccer teammates to appear in the pages as well
Woohoo! Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is back for the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as well
Fun! Simone was shot by Walter Chin on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta
Paulina Porizkova, 54, also looks stunning within its pages, and is the oldest model to pose for the issue, ever.
‘I’m deeply offended on behalf of all of us women who are rendered socially invisible once we look a certain age,’ she said in an essay for SI. ‘While I am, at times, proud to look my age, when someone on social media calls me a wrinkled hag, I have to do a lot of slow breathing.
‘So I had to wrestle with the question: How do I feel about being the old lady in SI? Do they really want me—or am I here because of what I represent?
‘By hiring me, [editor MJ Day] had cracked open the door to another possibility: the visible mature woman. Or, let’s just say: the hot old lady,’ she said.
Other models at the event today included Jasmine Sanders, Lais Ribero, Danielle Herrington, Kate Bock, Kate Upton, Olivia Culpo, Camille Kostek, Hailey Clauson, and Halima Aden.
She’s back! Danielle Herrington wore a very glitzy rainbow dress that flaunted her figure
Bikini model: She starred on the cover of the 2018 issue just last year
Showing off: Jasmine Sanders flashed her midriff and some underboob in this pink ensemble
She posed up a storm, smiling for photographers in her moto outfit and sneakers
Fan fave: Kate Upton looked ladylike in a floral peplum skirt and hat
Turning up the heat: Olivia Culpo was all leather in this sizzling jumpsuit
Summer fun: Kate Bock poses in a crop top and matching white slacks
Supermodel legs: Lais Ribero wore a seriously short dress that showed off her long legs
Hailey Clauson looked flirty in a red dress and lace-up sandals
Halima arrived in a stylish ensemble of fringed bell bottoms, an oversized blue jacket, and a turban to cover her hair.
Halima, 21, typically wears a hijab, and is the first-ever model to wear a burkini in Sports Illustrated.
‘You don’t know what it’s like to experience being kicked out of a pool or banned from a beach for wearing a burkini. I want girls to see, no matter what sometimes you are going to get backlash from your own community. But you shouldn’t let that bother you.
‘And really, the fact that in 2019 a swimsuit creates this much attention … I mean, why are women still being judged for what they wear?’ she told the magazine.
‘There are people that think I shouldn’t be [in the magazine] and there are people that think I’m not representing [Islam] in the right way. So I’m getting it from both sides.’