Robyn Lawley is the first official plus sized model in SI: Swim

Robyn Lawley

Yesterday there was an onslaught of SI: Swim reveals, including cover star Hannah Davis. The cover didn’t make many waves, but there was mass confusion over the advertisements starring model Ashley Graham (who wears a size 16). Nearly every outlet reported Ashley as the first plus-sized model in SI history, when she really didn’t appear in the magazine itself. She was simply the model-for-hire in an ad spread. This was a bummer for all those who initially believed SI was taking a big step in featuring different body types.

But wait. Things are not as grim as they appear. SI revealed Robyn Lawley (who’s a size 12) as one of their Swim edition rookies. So yes! Robyn is the first plus-sized model to officially pose inside the swimsuit issue. That’s her up there in the header picture looking radiant and phenomenal. You can see Robyn’s rookie reveal video here. The video looks exactly like this photo, so it’s easy to believe that very little photoshopping went into Robyn’s photos. Robyn spoke with Time magazine about her SI debut:

Robyn’s reaction to her photos: “I’m so excited, I’m dying — I’m dying!”

On body image: “I don’t know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not. I just consider myself a model because I’m trying to help women in general accept their bodies.”

What SI said after they cast her: “I was told to stay healthy and exactly as I am. I never thought that this would happen to me, so this is a milestone. When I started my career 10 years ago, I had to painfully go to castings and people would look at you and say, ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ … I want to be there for the regular girls who are my size.”

She modelled for SI during her first trimester: “Now they know why I was sleeping so much of the time!”

[From Time]

Even though Robyn is only a size 12 and not plus-sized in the civilian sense, this is superb news. I’ve been a fan of Robyn’s since she became Ralph Lauren’s first plus-sized model two years ago. Robyn’s quite levelheaded (even about controversial topics) and isn’t afraid to eloquently rebut her critics. Robyn’s a model with a distinctive voice, and she makes a wonderful addition to the SI: Swim issue.

Robyn Lawley

Robyn Lawley

Photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated & WENN

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116 Responses to “Robyn Lawley is the first official plus sized model in SI: Swim”

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  1. Charlotte says:

    She looks like an Australian/English size 12 to me. That’s, what? About an 8 American? She’s not big at all.

  2. Lilacflowers says:

    When did size 12 become plus-sized?

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Right? Look at her. What exactly are we celebrating? That this perfectly slim, beautiful woman is called the polite word for fat? And she’s “allowed” to be in a magazine without everyone barfing? We haven’t come such a long way, baby.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah I’m not gonna bust out the party favors yet but still, you have to admit that it’s a (small) step in the right direction.

        I wonder if as a society we’ve hit a wall as far as how skinny models can get, so the only direction we can go in is the reverse direction.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I suppose it’s a small step that points out how crazy we are. Lol

        I do think you have a good point – what is considered beautiful and desirable has always shifted somewhat, and today Marilyn Monroe would be considered enormous when she was once the sexiest body around. Maybe the double zero has had it’s day and “curvier” is coming back in. I just worry about young girls. I was always thin when I was young, so maybe I just didn’t feel the pressure, but I don’t think there was such an intense focus on being super thin. It just seems worrisome to me.

      • Zwella Ingrid says:

        It really sucks. This really makes me mad.

      • Bridget says:

        Um, hooray for “we’ll take what we can get”?

      • FLORC says:

        Lol Bridget. Yes. We will take what we can get. A small step forward is better than no step at all.

        This is a pet peeve. I understand why we have it, but still a peeve. Plus sizes look proportioned like larger thin girls. Flat stomach, but larger overall.
        The skin all around is smoothed over and there’s never a dimple to be seen.
        The whole thing is just tiresome.

      • Bridget says:

        It’s the SI Swimsuit edition. They truly don’t care what I as a woman, or even the rest of society thinks. They’re selling to men that like boobs and seeing expertly done bikini waxes. It is what it is. :)

      • prettylights says:

        @goodnamesalltaken I would just like to point out that Marilyn Monroe was NOT plus sized, nor would she be considered ‘enormous’ today. Her measurements were 35-22(!!)-35. That would be about a size 4 in today’s clothing and is pretty average to women in Hollywood today, except for the very tiny waist. Most models today are 34-24-34. Please read this article for more info:

        I’m sorry, I don’t mean to call you out, it’s just a slight pet peeve of mine when people try to hold Marilyn up as a ‘plus sized’ woman.. She wasn’t. It’s just that sizing has changed so a back-then 14-16 was really about a 4-6 size now. Just looking at her pics you can see she has an extreme hourglass shape with a sizeable bust and hips, but a tiny waist and thin arms and legs. I’ve never seen a plus sized model with a 22 inch waist.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Sorry, I didn’t mean that Marilyn was at all plus sized. I think her body was beautiful. I meant that if she tried to model in today’s world, she would be considered too full and curvy, and I stand by that. Models today have no hips. Marilyn wasn’t fat by any means, but, as you pointed out, her hip to waist ratio was very large. And she was only 5’5″, not 6 feet tall like the models today. Six feet tall with 34 inch hips looks a lot different than five five with 34 inch hips. The fact that is stated enough to be your pet peeve proves my point. People look at pictures of her and think she was much larger than she actually was, because we are so accustomed to super thin models and actresses.

      • coco says:

        Marilyn represented an ever more unrealistic body shape than catwalk models today. Yes she was beautiful but she was an extreme hourglass – a 3 inch differential between bust/waist etc is huge on someone with such tiny measurements.

        (also I always thought a 22 inch waist was equivalent to a size 0?).

        Robyn is gorgeous!

    • doofus says:

      seriously…the AVERAGE woman in the US is size 12/14.

    • phlyfiremama says:

      Seriously. Whi.e it is an improvement, it is still sending a dangerous message.

    • imani says:

      @lilacflowers…When designers made sample sizes & decided it saves money on material & in their idiotic opinion the clothes look better on “human hangers” ( thin body frames) & not “avg women”. Robyn is avg…it’s the fashion industry that sells the idea that skinny is better.if we can see your clevical bone & you’ve got a thigh gap…. You’re acceptable model material!! otherwise you’re “plus”!
      so much so that modeling agencies created separate divisions for anyone over a size 6..if your BETWEEN an 8 & 12…you’re the red headed stepchild.not thin enough for the runways in Milan and too thin to be “plus”’s all a mind game& we women buy into it.

  3. Anastasia says:

    Yes, it’s great, I suppose. But the mind boggles that this industry thinks a size 12 is plus sized. She just looks like an average sized woman to me. I wear a size 12. I had no idea I was plus sized.

  4. Sarah says:

    Is she really a 12, or like a designer 12?
    She looks my size, and I’m an 8. Am I plus sized and missed the memo? Lol

  5. ds says:

    I don’t understand how this woman is a plus size model. She’s not even… I don’t have words as I’m trying not to insult anyone but she’s so normal I can’t see “a plus size” anywhere. She’s also very pretty.

  6. I Choose Me says:

    I really like her and what she has to say about body image but I still give major side-eye to the term plus size as a descriptor.

    • V4Real says:

      I get what you’re saying about the term plus size which can be offensive to some. But I’m wondering should smaller women be offended at the term petite or those in between be offended at the term average size.

      This woman doesn’t look plus size to me. She is absolutely stunning though. I just saw an interview with her on The Today Show and she prefers the term curvy.

      • Trashaddict says:

        I’m “petite”. I’m not offended at the term. I’m offended that designers get short confused with tiny. Well tailored clothes can make you look great as a size 16, but I don’t see a lot of well-tailored clothes these days (uncamouflaged zippers being the worst and my least favorite example). Not to mention the fabrics are really cheap, and also that designers seem to think American women have mutantly long arms. Oops, forgot having to pay twice as much as men for poorer quality.
        What is offensive is hearing women describe fashion or TV directors telling them how much they can weigh (or even being happy about being told they don’t have to change!). What subservient shit.

  7. Lahdidahbaby says:

    How sad that someone so average-sized could be classified as Plus-sized. She’s gorgeous, btw.

  8. Brunswickstoval says:

    When they say she’s size 12 I imagine it’s Australian size 12 which is between a U.S. 6 and 8 depending on the designer. I am an Australian size 12 and there’s no way she’s a U.S. 12.

  9. Sixer says:

    I always have to go and look up US-to-UK conversion charts to understand fashion-y, weight-y posts.

    Anyway. in what world Is a woman who is 6ft 2in tall and a US size 12 a PLUS MODEL?! You’d have to be a twiglet from a twiglet-sized treelet to be that tall and take a smaller size, wouldn’t you? That’s all’s I’m sayin’.

  10. Felice says:

    That background is so photoshopped. It’s like those forest backdrops for school pictures.

  11. blue marie says:

    It’s good that they are showing different body types but I don’t really see her as plus size.

  12. Nibbi says:

    yeah… while i *suppose* this is a step in the right direction, it still speaks to a pretty sorry state of affairs.

    she is stunning, anyway.

  13. Izzy says:

    She’s not plus size, but she gave a very good interview once where she explained why she is thought of as such: the fashion industry considers size 10 and over “plus size.” So, in the fashion industry lingo, plus size is very much part of their own fiction, because reality is very different, aesthetically and medically.

  14. Jayna says:

    If no one had said a word and put her in the magazine, everybody would just think she is a sexy model. She doesn’t look bigger than a six. Sorry. Thin legs, thin torso. She’s shapely but she is model worthy for a bathing suit and I just don’t see a difference that is noticeable when looking at her in all the photos in the issue as far as calling her a “plus size” model. It’s not showing up in the shots they did of her. Maybe it’s lots of photoshop, but she isn’t the size twelve my cousin is. That’s all I’ve got.

  15. Gracie says:

    I have one question and one question only: how is she a plus size? All I see is a beautiful woman.

  16. Kaley says:

    She’s pretty but this picture is a mess. Bad photoshop, bad pose, bad facial expression. Just no.

  17. Tulip says:

    Eff this. As so many of you have already said, I think she’s lovely, good for her, and it’s a a tiny step forward, but I HATE the fact that this…is NOT plus sized!

  18. Catk says:

    She must be designer plus-sized. In “regular” brands like Banana Republic or Ann Taylor, I’m usually a size 2 dress. When I buy designer like D&G or Valentino, I’m an easy 8. Sizing is whack. Her height is also a factor, obviously.

    Gorgeous girl.

  19. aenflex says:

    Something is very, very wrong when this is considered plus size in any realm. It’s insane. At this rate women would be expected to weigh 50 pounds in the next 20 years.
    Wake up people, we do this to ourselves in part by patronizing, purchasing and consuming.

  20. Shelley says:

    Meh….I don’t see what the fuss about her is. She just has large breasts. Much like Chrissy Teigen.

  21. shizwhat says:

    She’s plus sized but she is also almost a foot taller than the average woman. Why is that such an insult? She’s not a size 2, she’s not the standard model size, she is bigger than that, that’s the truth. I’d be a bit miffed that people felt the need to have to linguistically hide my size, as if beauty and plus size doesnt go together?! I wear a size 4 and if someone tried to say “omg you dont look one or two sizes above standard model size” I’d think they’re nuts. She’s plus sized, she’s gorgeous, she’s flawless, is this really revolutionary?!

    • Joy says:

      I think it’s because plus sized is code for fat. And this chick clearly isn’t. I am plus sized and I realize that, and being almost 6 feet tall even when I was skinnier I still had sometimes get plus sized stuff just for the length. And there are plus sized models who do NOT look like this, but they all get lumped together. So I think that may be where the outrage is. Nothing against small women, but to put her being so fit and pretty with a model who is a size 22 might be insulting.

  22. perplexed says:

    She looks as slim as a Hollywood actress. Or a model from the 90s.

  23. Ginger says:

    Robin is 6’2″ so no she is not a typical size 12 woman nor is she really “plus size” IMO. I’m sure she is both of these things in the modeling world however. I’m not as excited about her inclusion in the SI swimsuit edition as I am about Ashley Graham who is a more typical size 14. But baby steps for this magazine. Baby steps. Good for her that she’s included though because she is very beautiful. In my imagination I picture a special edition SI swimsuit magazine with only true plus size models in fabulous swimwear!

  24. Zigggy says:

    She should just be called a model, while the others should be called “undersize models.”

    • bettyrose says:

      X1000 (bring on the trolls saying that’s hurtful to naturally emaciated women).

      • Shego says:

        Bettyrose, I think the only troll is you. Women who are naturally thin are not “emaciated” just because that is their body size. Hate to be the one to break it to you, but women who are naturally thin and not models are not all out here starving themselves. More than that, other women with eating disorders need help, not derision. Besides, why do people like you think being naturally thin ought to be called “emaciated” but being unnaturally overweight is a-okay and normal?

      • bettyrose says:

        SHEGO I wasn’t referring to naturally thin women. I was referring to women who literally starve themselves for weeks prior to a photoshoot to create an unrealistic ideal. Some of those women are naturally thin to begin with but it’s not their natural physique we’re seeing. What you did there with inserting additional arguments about overweight women is known as a “straw man” argument. It’s a favorite of trolls and you’ll learn more about it in college.

      • Shego says:

        Bettyrose, really? None of the SI models are “emaciated”, so you missed the mark there. You followed up a reasonable comment about “undersize” models with a lame riff about “emaciated” models. While I’m sitting in my university’s fine arts library I’m wondering whether you ought to come back to college yourself to learn about false equivalencies as well as “straw man arguments”, because you seem not to know what that means either. Your first comment itself was a straw-man, of the “hollow man” variety.

      • bettyrose says:

        SHEGO – You made a lot of bizarre assumptions about my original comment. I took the bait when I know better. Everyone here supports positive body images of all builds and I’m sorry that my innocuous joke about internet trolls struck a chord with you. Happy studies!

  25. uninspired username says:


  26. Mar says:

    There should just be a category of “models that eat” and there we could just have 3 categories of models! Duh! Lol

  27. MJ says:

    …except she’s not exactly plus-sized. She’s fit and toned, just not a starved toothpick.

  28. Chinoiserie says:

    I think her body type is exactly what there should be more in magazines. She is not overweight but not skinny. She looks average weight. And I believe she is size 12 because she is very tall.

  29. Jen43 says:

    Ok,now that the “fat” girls have been represented , where are the short girls like me?

    Sheesh. Are they really patting themselves on the back for this? What a joke. I wonder what the feedback has been from the Bros.

  30. Pandy says:

    i think she looks like a size 12. And that’s just fine. I’m trying to look as good as she does!!! I’m a bit outraged that she’s called plus sized frankly. She’s in great shape, fit and healthy looking. How is that “plus sized” – what an awful expression anyway.

  31. Mean Hannah says:

    She is beautiful…but I just want to point out that she is a “plus-sized model” and only that. A plus-sized model. Not plus-sized in the real world sense or commercial sense. I feel like every time something like this posted, talking about her size, her height, her weight, her shoe size, is she US/AUS/UK size 12? and so forth actually diminishes her as a model even though I know that is not the intention of the commentators.

    It’s just an unfortunate term to distinguish her from other “standard size” models. She would not be able to fit into sample sizes for most brands hence the term.

    Couldn’t we just talk about now beautiful she looks, and that it’s nice that a bit of body diversity was attempted in SI Swimsuit issue? That women are beautiful at all sizes, and not focus on the term plus-size model?

    Also, Cindy Crawford in her heyday was size 4/6 – and size 4 or 6 then is not the same as size 4 or 6 now, so she was pretty small back then, even if she was bigger than most of the other models back then.

    • perplexed says:

      I don’t think I would be able to tell the difference between her and the other models in the magazine. That’s where the qualifier in front of the term model seems kind of useless. Although I suppose I wouldn’t analyze her body the way a man reading this sort of magazine might. I think the only way I would be able to tell that she’s not a regular, standard model is by looking at her waist area which looks a bit broader than Cindy Crawford’s, but again, I don’t know if I would look that closely to figure out the difference between her and another model if the qualifier “plus” wasn’t put in front of the term model. From what I can tell in the photo they used, she looks the same as anyone else in the magazine, which makes me wonder why she couldn’t just be hired as a regular model.

      I suppose her shoulders might be a bit broader than the average model’s, but I assume that’s because of her height (6’2″) rather than because of extra weight.

    • Jen43 says:

      I saw Cindy in NY in her hey day and she was very thin. I was surprised at how small she looked in person. The guy I was with said she was scrawny.

  32. Dawn says:

    She is so NOT plus sized. She is between a six or an eight. I always thought Plus sizes started at a 14 and on up. I think she looks perfectly fine and better than most sized 0 models.

  33. CH2 says:

    wow… this girl looks slim even for Hollywood standards. This is sad. Even though it’s a small step (more like a tiptoe) in the right direction, it kind of highlights how effed up it is for women out there…

  34. truthSF says:

    SIZE 12 IS NOT PLUS SIZE!!!!!! Sincerely, a skinny chick.

  35. Tdub30 says:

    I was going to say she looks “normal” sized to me. Can we get the models from the 90′s back. Although they were thin, they were just that…thin, not skeletal. Their bodies looked healthy. I can’t with these poor girls who look like a good stiff wind will blow them away.

  36. Tammy says:

    Ashley Graham is actually a size 12 and Robyn Lawley is a size 10….neither are plus sizes. While I applaud SI swim issue showing women of different sizes, they are not plus size. Ashley Graham is 5’9″ and Robyn Lawley 6’2″. What is different about these two is that they are not starving themselves down to a size 4 or 2. Giselle Bundchen is 5’11″ and a size 4. She is considered to have the perfect body…which is nuts.

    A true plus size model is 5’5″ Tess Holiday at a size 22.

  37. BooBooLaRue says:

    If this is “plus size” then bring it on! I wish I were this size. . .

  38. JB says:

    she doesn’t look plus-sized to me.

  39. Eleonor says:

    Plussized model photoshopped to death, the only plus-sized thing they have kept is boobs.

  40. Michelle says:

    Well, I am glad she is not standing there with her thumbs in her bikini strings pulling them down like every other picture they put in the magazine. She is very pretty and I am glad she is in there, but she is not plus-sized in my eyes.
    I wish SI would release a non-Photoshopped version of their swimsuit spread, even if it was online, just to see how much they alter those photos. I tell my 14 yr old daughter all the time not to think that people in magazines actually look like that!

  41. Velvet Elvis says:

    I thought Ashley Richardson was the first “plus size” SI swimsuit model. They always referred to her as full figured though.

  42. Jenna says:

    I agree that Robyn is not really “plus” sized in the civilian sense, but I am actually maybe MORE happy to see a model of her size than a truly plus-sized model. Robyn is gorgeous and her figure is one that I think is beautiful but also much more “attainable” for the average woman (I mean, aside from the part where she is 6″ tall or whatever). I look at her and I think “yeah, that’s where you can get with a balanced and healthy approach to eating and exercise, nice!” She’s not an extreme on either end of the spectrum, just a really gorgeous version of a nice, healthy weight.

  43. Cinderella says:

    She looks pretty and slim in my world.

  44. LV says:

    Good for her! Don’t care for that crappy bandage dress though!

  45. snowflake says:

    c’mon, guys, did you really expect SI to put a “big” woman in their magazine? they’re almost a porn mag. they prob had a seizure that the other chick was said to be in their magazine when it was really an ad. she’s tall, that’s why she doesn’t look her size. that said, robyn is gorgeous. baby steps, people

  46. HoustonGrl says:

    She seems like a normal-sized lady! I know in the modeling world though, that’s probably code for an elephant ogre or whatever. F*cked up standards.

  47. Caz says:

    This topic is really getting old. The same arguments from both sides. Not aimed at the contributors on this blog, aimed at current society.

  48. Look how they shot her to give the illusion of being thinner than she really is. Her arms are close to her body, even placed in front to allude to a skinnier waist. Her collarbones looks excessively shadowed as well.

    It’s a shame she couldn’t just be posed in just any way to show off that beautiful body!

  49. Dolce crema says:

    She has big everything, tall, somewhat broad shoulders, some muscle, hips and boobs. But not obese by any means. More like a strong volleyball player. I’m sure gabby Reese weighs much more than her! I thought plus size was for representation of people with bigger bmis- significant amount of extra fat for their height/body size. She just has a genetically big body and amazing face. But ok, let’s ‘accept’ tall people who are not super slender

  50. Lauren says:

    I don’t know. She does look “plus sized” to me. Not in the usual plus model sense, because those women have a lot more fat than she does. But she definately has a larger, wider bone structure than is considered the ideal in the celeb industry. Her face is small and structured but it looks tiny on her body.

    • perplexed says:

      I agree her bones look bigger. But now I’m not even sure what plus-size means. I always thought plus-size meant that you have extra weight on your body. A 6’2″ woman most likely won’t have the bones/frame of Natalie Portman (who looks to be 5’2″ maximum).

      There doesn’t appear to be any fat around her shoulder blades which can usually reveal whether a person might be even slightly overweight or not. In the red dress, her body probably doesn’t look typically Hollywood around the waist and hip area, but I’m wondering if that’s simply because she might not be wearing Spanx. In the other photo of the off-white/beigish dress her body looks kind of like Jennifer Garner’s when Garner is all dolled up.

  51. Solanaceae (Nighty) says:

    If she’s above her weight, the world has definitely gone crazy,,, What is the concept of overweight? Am I overweight? 5’7” , 143 pounds? I wear size 10 UK, am I overweight? Apparently being elegant is having nothing bone skin and bones…


  52. LAK says:

    Isn’t she over 6ft? If so, then she’s within the range of her height and therefore not plus size at all.

  53. poof says:

    Where on earth is this considered plus sized? I’m a size zero and would Kill to look like this.