Cheryl Tiegs Sounds Off on Sports Illustrated's Ashley Graham: A History of All the Supermodels Who Have Feuded in Fashion

These stunners join a long list of former runway strutters who have fought in the industry

By Samantha Schnurr Feb 26, 2016 7:23 PMTags
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The couture claws are out. 

When plus-size model Ashley Graham was named a cover girl for the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, she became the first woman of her shape to grace the front page of the iconic magazine issue. As many rallied in support of her, the media celebrated the hallmark occasion as a progressive moment for a long overlooked body type. 

As is typical in any controversial situation, some also criticized the decision, claiming it was simply not the Sports Illustrated way.

Among those who sounded off was the magazine's former cover girl, Cheryl Tiegs, who appeared on the issue's cover multiple times in her decades-long modeling career. 

"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]. That's what Dr. Oz said, and I'm sticking to it," she explained to E! News' Sibley Scoles. "No, I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run."

While Graham's waistline clocks in at an Oz-accepted 30 inches, Tiegs' criticism is not the first of its kind—supermodels have been lambasting each other since the title was first coined. 

Primarily, history seems to have repeated itself with a similar interaction between the voluptuous Kate Upton and 1980s supermodel Carol Alt. The blond beauty starred on her second subsequent Sports Illustrated cover in 2013. Though Upton had obviously seen consistent success with the magazine, Alt didn't quite see couture potential in the the newcomer when offering her this backhanded compliment.

"I think Kate is a product of great media hype. Without Sports Illustrated, I'm not sure she would've made it in the industry as a high fashion model. Because she is more of a large size model," she told Galore of Upton. "Even if I've seen her in person, and I don't think she's in any way fat or overweight or anything; she's just more large-sized than fashion models are."

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While Alt's comments on Upton didn't invoke a decades-long feud, one pair of supermodels didn't squash their beef with each other for nearly 15 years—Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell. 

Having risen up in the industry around the same time and with similar looks, they were constantly compared to one another and often pitted against each other in the tabloids. Rumors swirled that Campbell had bullied the younger model, ordered her off of photoshoots and got her cancelled from runway shows. 

Ultimately, they rehashed years of public speculation and painful private encounters for live television on Tyra's former talk show. After nearly an hour episode, Banks declared that she had finally made peace with Campbell. 


While she had settled her tumultuous relationship with Campbell, Banks later suffered a slew of public bashing from a close colleague, America's first supermodel Janice Dickinson. The two had worked together on a panel of judges for several seasons of Banks' signature reality competition show, America's Next Top Model, but after Dickinson stopped appearing on the show altogether in 2007, the claws came out.

The former supermodel claimed the show had been rigged and called Banks a number of names, including fat and soulless. She eventually publicly apologized for the unexpected antics, blaming her behavior on her lack of sobriety. 

"I've said some pretty bad things about her in the past because I had been fired and I was very hurt that I had been fired and so I acted out, but that's not when I was acting in a sober-like fashion," she said during a segment of OWN's Where Are They Now? "She is a great lady and thanks to her I got a very successful career on television."

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Much like Banks and Campbell, models Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman competed against each other for limited jobs—a routine that drove them away from each other.  

"I could sit here and tell you, 'I love Jourdan! We've always been the best of friends!'" Iman told Teen Vogue in 2009. "But we haven't. Until recently, we barely even spoke."

While some supermodels fought loud and clear in the public sphere, these two were silent. 

"We went from being super close in the dead silence if we saw each other backstage at a show," she continued. "If we did say hi, it was hi, and that's it."

Though they get along much better now, Dunn added that the industry is constantly testing them. 

"People will say things in Chanel's ear like, 'Jourdan is taking your spot,' and then they'll say to me, 'Don't trust Chanel.'"