Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2016 Cover Girls Revealed: Introducing Ronda Rousey, Ashley Graham & Hailey Clauson

The cover of the annual edition is expected to be revealed Saturday night

By Baker Machado, Beth Sobol, Corinne Heller Feb 14, 2016 4:45 AMTags
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Not one but three women graces the cover of the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, each with a very different body type.

Three separate covers feature a solo shot of either MMA star Ronda Rousey, 29, or models Ashley Graham, 28, and Hailey Clauson, 20.

"It's a nod to female empowerment," a source told E! News.

Rousey is one of several models in the issue who does not wear a swimsuit, but rather body paint, a tactic used before. She appears as though she is wearing a one-piece, colorful, printed Camilla Resort 2016 swimsuit while sitting on the sand. It took artist Joanne Gait 14 hours to paint the outfit.

She and the magazine had teased her racy photo shoot last month. Rousey, who is on a hiatus from fighting after losing her the Women's Bantamweight championship title at UFC 193 to Holly Holm in November, made her debut in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue last year. 

Clauson appears topless, sitting in the ocean while wearing string green printed bikini bottoms.

Clauson, a high fashion model, had appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2015, wearing body paint.

Graham, a curvy model who hates being labelled "plus-size," is one of the magazine's "rookies" this year. She appears on the cover wearing a skimpy purple and yellow string bikini and posing in shallow waves.

"I've got plenty of friends [of all sizes] and different shapes and everything," she recently told E! News. "And I don't want any of them to feel like they aren't 'real women.'"

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In addition to her official Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition photo shoot, Graham also appears in another swimwear ad inside the magazine this year, as does 56-year-old Nicole Griffin, the oldest model to be featured in the annual edition.

In addition to her official Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition photo shoot, Graham also appears in an ad inside the magazine, for the company swimsuitsforall's #SwimSexy campaign, as does 56-year-old Nicola Griffin, who is the oldest model to be featured in the annual edition.

Graham had made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debut last year in a swimsuitsforall ad.

Gigi Hadid, 20, who made her debut in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2014, also appears in the 2016 edition.

TMZ was first to reveal the cover girls. 

(Originally published Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 at 5:36 p.m. PST)

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