56-Year-Old Model Makes History as the Oldest Person to Grace the Cover of ‘Sports Illustrated’

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The swimwear brand Swimsuits for All made history when they featured a plus-size model in its Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue ad. Now they are back in the headlines because they are featuring the oldest woman to ever appear in the issue.

The model is Nicola Griffin. She is 56 years old, which is thirty to forty years older than the usual bikini model. The brand has a new #SwimSexy campaign, which is promoting body positivity by including women of all ages and shapes.

Griffin told the press, “It’s not all about being 20 and 5’10”. We’re bored of that! We are all different ages and sizes and that’s the beauty of it. We’re real women.”

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In the ads, which was shot in the Caribbean, Griffin is wearing a shiny gold two piece. At first, she was nervous because all the girls were younger than her. She was put at ease by the photographer, and soon her nervousness went away.

She worked with Ashley Graham for the campaign. Griffin says of her costar, “[Ashley’s] body is so beautiful! She’s got the most beautiful body. And it’s so refreshing to see a natural body in the magazine, she’s a big, healthy, buxom woman. I think it’s about time that we see proper women, models, whatever.”

Many people are happy to see an older woman modeling a swimsuit. Among her fans are her daughters. They were surprised to learn of the campaign, yet they are proud of their mother.

The whole experience has been good for Griffin who never thought she would book a campaign like that at her age. She thought that only young women would get featured in an ad like that. She adds, “It’s like a dream. I feel like I’m going to wake up at any minute.”

She says this is not the best thing she’s ever done and that being reminded that she is the oldest woman to ever be on Sports Illustrated makes her feel even older. But insecurities aside, Griffin certainly looks great.

She wants more brands to join the action to include women who have a different look for ad campaigns. She explains,”I’m not large, but I want to see someone who is showing me clothes that I can actually see myself buying. I want to buy stuff from someone who looks like Ashley Graham, who looks beautiful and healthy!”

She says the inclusion of women with different body types has been a long time coming. On catwalk shows, the women are so thin that she claims no one would want to buy the clothing. Now is the time for society to promote healthy, realistic body shapes and sizes. There shouldn’t be any prejudice against a model because they don’t fit the standard of beauty.

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