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Why This Sports Illustrated Editor's Bikini Pic Is Going Viral

by
author image Hillary Eaton
Hillary Eaton is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles whose work has appeared in VICE, Refinery29, LA Weekly and Complex. She loves writing about food, entertainment, travel and style.
Why This Sports Illustrated Editor's Bikini Pic Is Going Viral
MJ Day goes viral. Photo Credit Andrew Toth/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Every year when the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is released, the nation goes wild for the beauties featured inside. But this year the most surprising bikini photo to garner attention isn’t one of a top model — it’s of the magazine’s editor herself.

MJ Day, editor of the Swimsuit Issue, took the world by surprise this past Wednesday when she posed in a bikini for an Instagram video, speaking out about body positivity.

“Deep. Breath. If I’m going to talk the talk I am going to walk the walk,” Day writes. “Funny how I have spent my life on a beach since childhood and I have never truly felt comfortable in a swimsuit. Even at my thinnest. We need to love ourselves in the present. No matter what. I invite you all to do so.”

Day’s insistence to “talk the talk if she’s going to walk the walk” and proudly don a bikini regardless of her body shape makes sense. Especially considering the direction she’s been pushing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in recent years — to praise and be proud of bodies of all shapes and sizes.

“I’ve been producing the annual Swimsuit Issue for 19 years, but today I’m the one in a bathing suit, and here’s why,” she says in the video. “This year’s issue will showcase the widest diversity of women in SI history. Women of all ages and shapes, and from many different backgrounds.”

Day makes good on her statement, with the latest issue finally paying homage to all the beauties out there, no matter their shape, size or color — from celebrating curvy ladies with model Ashley Graham; muscular women with Aly Raisman and Simone Biles; and mature women with 63-year-old model Christie Brinkley.

The editor also urged her followers to share videos of themselves in bikinis and to speak on what they want to “model” as a collaboration with the @WomenIRL Instagram account and Health.com. The goal? To promote body confidence among women everywhere. And it’s working!

“We want to celebrate strength, beauty and more, so we want to know: What do you model?” she asked. “So I’ll kick us off. I model determination. I’m determined to get out the message that there is not a singular definition of beauty.”

Amen, sister.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you think the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is finally celebrating women properly? Would you take this bikini challenge? Do you love your body? Is MJ Day brave for posting this picture? Let us know in the comments.

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