5 Reasons We Love Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2018

Sports Illustrated released their 2018 swimsuit issue about two month ago, and it stuck to themes that resonated with recent trends such as female empowerment and the #MeToo movement. Here's how they did it:


1. MJ Day, the editor-in-chief of the swimsuit issue, envisioned an issue in which models are more than just objects being photographed.

Day began working on her vision last spring – long before the #MeToo movement became widespread. She wanted the models to be active participants in the magazine creation process.

During portions of the shoots, Day left the room to allow the models to direct themselves; she didn’t want her directions to diminish their authenticity. She also allowed some models to play behind-the-scenes roles. Rookie model Brinkley Cook is a full-time photography student and worked with the crew; model Robyn Lawley, too, was the director of photography for a video that shows the shooting process. Models also wrote pieces for the issue. Day gave them a voice — not just a series of picture.


2.  A diverse group of women made up the modeling cast.

In addition to shifting towards including women of various body types, race and ethnicities, this year’s issue featured more athletes and models of varying levels of experience. The cover featured Danielle Herrington; she's the third black woman to receive a solo spotlight on the front. Among the athletes who modeled are U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman and Canadian tennis player Genie Bouchard. Another segment of the issue included both the 1984 cover model, Paulina Porizkova, as well as Cook.


3. The models’ comfort were among Day’s highest priorities.

She wanted the swimsuit issue to serve as a safe, supportive space for the women. To help foster that atmosphere, she refused to hire photographers reputed to be unprofessional. Day also wanted the models to be confident in the idea that the brand would continue to respect them after the shoot — if not even more.

She seemed to have met her goals: several models praised their experience of shooting nude or scantily clad. Cook said she felt emotional and sexy after the shoot; Raisman, too, said it helped her accept herself.


4. Women made up the entirety of the core crew that put the issue together.

Day surrounded herself with an all-female group to create a magazine that appeals primarily to a male audience — talk about girl power. This issue's central piece was photographed by a female photographer and an all-woman crew. Together, these boss ladies produced one of the most anticipated, iconic magazine issues; this particular edition enabled them to educate their male audience on female empowerment.


5. This year’s edition featured the first-ever nude spread.

The photographer of the spread, Taylor Ballantyne, told Day about the idea to do a nude shoot in which the women would write self-chosen words on their bodies as a way to project their voices.

Titled as “In Her Own Words,” the spread shows black-and-white images of the models with powerful, positive words on them; the words embody who they are and tell of what they believe. For example, Raisman wrote “Every voice matters,” “Survivor” and “Abuse is never OK” on her body. This allowed the SI swimsuit edition to incorporate elements of raw truth and education, in addition to their status-quo themes.


This is a time for change; women everywhere are demanding more respect and equality. It’s refreshing to see a magazine use its platform to support the movement. Other publications, follow suit!