News & Runway

Model Denise Bidot Flaunts Her Stretch Marks in the Pages of Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Swimsuit Issue is boundary breaking. True, it has its flaws. White, slim, cis-gender model Kate Upton graces all three of the ostensibly diversity-driven issue’s covers, causing some to wonder if SI’s efforts towards inclusion are simply a publicity grab — or, as Hari Nef would put it, part of “diversity day.” (After all, it wasn’t until two years ago that the men’s magazine thought to include a plus-size model, and even then she occupied ad space, not a feature. After the ad met with tons of positive press, Ashley Graham got her cover.)

Still, politics and marketing tactics aside, visibility is everything and this year’s swim edition has it all: models of varying ages, sizes and races, “everyday women” (thanks to Swimsuits for All’s “Every Body, Every Age, Every Beautiful” ad campaign), the curviest rookie in SI history and, last but not least, stretch marks.

The 2017 Swimsuit Issue features a Denise Bidot-fronted ad for Cacique, Lane Bryant’s swimwear line. In the ad, Bidot poses in a navy blue, nautical-themed bikini. But it’s not the suit’s cute anchor pattern that has the Internet shouting with joy. Like Aerie before them, Lane Bryant appears to have sworn off Photoshop. The photo — which went viral shortly after Bidot posted it to Instagram — is completely unretouched, revealing the model’s stretch marks.

Like Chrissy Teigen before her, Bidot flaunts her stretch marks with pride. “It’s an honor to be in the Lane Bryant ad featured in the pages of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, completely unretouched,” Bidot wrote on Instagram. “It’s amazing to be a part of the change that’s helping women see once and for all that nobody is perfect. We can still be beautiful in spite of our imperfections. It’s time to celebrate each other and learn to love the skin we’re in.” We couldn’t agree more. However, we wish that Bidot hadn’t referred to her stretch marks as “imperfections.” Nearly every woman on the face of this planet has stretch marks — they’re a feature, not a flaw. Part of building body confidence is finding more positive, accurate ways of describing our forms. Still, kudos to Bidot, Lane Bryant and Sports Illustrated for furthering the conversation.

[ via Allure ]