Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is honoring motherhood in new ways this year with the addition of a model with a visible C-section scar featured in the 2022 issue.
The brand announced the inclusion of model Kelly Hughes on Wednesday with a photo of the mother pulling her bathing suit bottoms down to reveal her scar. "The FIRST woman to expose her C-Section scar in magazine's history!" Sports Illustrated Swimsuit wrote in the caption. "Let's give some love to all our moms out there to acknowledge the power of the female body and the beauty of motherhood!"
Hughes's feature is the result of the magazine's partnership with Frida Mom, which joined Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's #PayWithChange initiative aimed at creating a more empowering and inclusive future for women.
Frida Mom celebrated the iconic moment on Instagram writing, "History made. Scratch that. Herstory made."
Hughes also took to her Instagram to share the photo and to acknowledge the honor.
"This partnership with @fridamom #paywithchange partnership to normalize and embrace the changes with a woman’s body especially when becoming a mom is so amazing to be a part of," she wrote. "I struggled with insecurities from my scar being that I’m a model and my incredibly difficult recovery but it wasn’t until I 'embraced my scar that I experienced the true power in it.'"
Fellow model Hunter McGrady commented "ICONIC!!!" while others congratulated Hughes.
"You’re such an inspiration," one person wrote. Another said, "This is amazing !!!!!! #cesareanbirth pride!!!!!"
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's Instagram comments section was also flooded with support for both the model and the brand's mission.
"So beautiful to see this representation!" someone commented. "Thank you for continuing to feature us mamas and the realness of motherhood."
Hughes's monumental feature follows that of returning model Katrina Scott who shot for the magazine's 2022 issue while pregnant, making her the first visibly pregnant woman to appear in its pages.
"Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has a storied history of firsts… of breaking boundaries, building and restoring confidence, and speaking directly to all women in an empowering and inclusive voice. Today is such a special moment that I’m honored to be a part of," Scott wrote of her inclusion. "As women, we have been told, shown, and expected to hide (then 'bounce back' from) our pregnant bodies, when, in fact, our beautiful bumps embody the miracle of what it means to be Selfless, Vulnerable, and Strong."
The celebration of mothers also includes McGrady, who has appeared in the magazine several times before but returns just six months after giving birth to her first child.
With the inclusion of all three women, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit hopes to "positively shift the mainstream cultural narratives associated with women's bodies -– especially when becoming a mom."
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