Ashley Graham Was Once Body-Shamed by Fellow Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model

Model Ashley Graham graced the cover of Sports Illustrated back in 2016. While this was a major moment in her career, she, unfortunately, received some criticism from a fellow Sports Illustrated model for the cover. During her appearance on Naomi Campbell's YouTube series No Filter With Naomi back in April, Graham not only opened up about appearing on the cover of the magazine, but she also recalled how a fellow model in the industry (whom she did not name) responded to it, as E! News noted.

Back in 2016, when Graham appeared on Sports Illustrated's coveted swimsuit cover, she became the first size 16 model to do so. Naturally, she was thrilled about the opportunity, as she recalled, "The second year that I tried out, I got it and I was a rookie. It was a fantastic photo shoot, great images and boom! I got the cover." Graham went on to describe that she and Campbell crossed paths shortly after her appearance in the magazine. At the time, the pair discussed some of the conversation surrounding the cover.

"There was another model who was so upset that I had gotten the cover and she said I was very large and that women my size should not be on the cover," Graham said. Campbell, in turn, asked who had said that, but the Pretty Big Deal podcast host did not reveal the model's identity. She noted that Campbell could actually "look it up" if she wanted to. Graham then continued to describe exactly what she and Campbell discussed years prior during their aforementioned meeting.

"You told me, 'I just want to let you know that I was talking about you and I defended you.' First of all, I'm meeting Naomi Campbell for the first time and she just defended me. Heart is racing! Thank you!" she recalled. Campbell responded to say, "Well, I'll defend you again right now because I don't think that person had the right to say that. It's your time now."

Graham did not disclose the identity of the person behind the critical comments, but she did share that the model's name begins with a "C." As E! News pointed out, it's possible that the model that she's referring to is Cheryl Tiegs. In 2016, following the reveal of Graham's Sports Illustrated cover, Tiegs told E! News, "I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women because it's glamorizing them because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]."


Tiegs added, that she believes that Graham's "face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run." As the publication also noted, she later issued an apology to Graham for her negative comments. Tiegs later said, via an open letter in Huffington Post, "I commend you [Graham] on the positive influence you have on helping women to love themselves."