Ashley Graham Named Sports Illustrated 2016 Swimsuit Rookie, Hates "Plus-Size" Label

Model advocates for "beauty beyond size" and tells E! News why she hates the term "plus-size"
By Rebecca Macatee Feb 09, 2016 9:33 PMTags

It's official: Ashley Graham will be making her debut in the Sports Illustrated 2016 Swimsuit Issue!

SwimDaily announced Tuesday that the 28-year-old model would be joining their rookie class this year. Ashley also Instagrammed a photo from her S.I. shoot, writing, "This is a dream come true."

"Thank you to everyone who stood up for curves- our voices were heard and together we can help me win Rookie of the Year," she added. "Stay tuned for voting instructions #beautybeyondsize #siswim"

On Monday, Swim Daily announced Barbara Palvin as the first member of the S.I. Swimsuit 2016 Rookie Class. Ashley was announced the following day, and the remaining three rookies will be announced on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Related: Ashley Graham Talks Growing Up in a "Naked House"

Ashley is clearly thrilled to be a part of the a S.I. Swim family, but she'd prefer we not categorize the different models by their body types. "I hate the word 'real woman' and I hate the word 'plus-size,'" she told E! News' Zanna Roberts Rassi before the debut of her Ashley Graham lingerie collection for Addition Elle.

"I've got plenty of friends [of all sizes] and different shapes and everything," Ashley continued, "and I don't want any of them to feel like they aren't 'real women.'"

Related: Ashley Graham Loves Beyonce's "Formation"

As for the term "plus-size?" Ashley said she understands "that a lot of women still love this word" and the culture of inclusion it's come to represent. "I totally respect that," she said, "but for someone like me, I don't feel the connection to the word 'plus-sized.'"

Well, no matter how you label Ashley and the rest of the S.I. Swim models, they'll all look as sexy as ever when the 2016 issue hits stands later this month.

Watch the videos above for much more from Ashley. Then, watch the clip below to find out what she thinks of Barbie's recent makeover by Mattel.

Related: Ashley Graham Gushes Over New Curvy Barbie Doll