Ashley Graham
photo: Splash

During the last live episode of Naomi Campbell’s No Filter with Naomi YouTube series, the model’s guest was Ashley Graham, who opened up about everything from new motherhood to her own YouTube show Thank Bod and her podcast Pretty Big Deal. One of the memories the models bonded over was from back in 2016, when another model went public with her feelings about the gorgeous Graham on the Sports Illustrated cover.

At first, Ashley talks about how she never thought of Sports Illustrated as a place where she’d ever model. 

“I didn’t even think of Sports Illustrated as being an option for me because I am a size 14-16, I have cellulite, I have back fat, my arms are round, I have lower belly fat. I don’t think I look bad, I think I look great, but there’s never been a girl that looks like me in that magazine,” she told Campbell. The second year Ashley tried, she actually made it into the magazine, and not just made it into it, she got the coveted cover!

But there will always be haters ...

Ashley encountered one of them immediately after she was on the cover. She told Campbell about another model who was “so upset” she had gotten the Sports Illustrated cover. “And she said that I was ‘very large,’ that women my size should not be on the cover,” she told Campbell. When Campbell pressed her and asked who that was, Ashley only responded very professionally, “You can go look it up! It’s a model before your generation…” She also gave an extra clue: that the offending model’s name started with the letter C.

While Ashley didn't disclose who it was, a little digging will give you the answer. 

We now know that the model who said those things was 70s model Cheryl Tiegs, who in 2016 spoke out against a woman of Ashley’s "size" being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. “Actually I don’t like it that we’re talking about full-figured women because it’s glamorizing them and your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches],” the old-school 72-year-old model, who herself was in Sports Illustrated, told E! News in 2016.

Ashley, of course, took it all in stride. 

“It brought a whole conversation about what is health, what is beauty, what is sexy, and what do men want to see because Sports Illustrated is such a ‘man’s’ magazine,” Ashley pointed out. While the comments were probably hurtful, Ashley saw them as an opportunity for dialogue and for continuing to move the needle into a more inclusive place. 

The full conversation between icons is fascinating.

The models went in deep on beauty, about labels, about brands that have always supported and embraced curvier women (both gave huge props to Donna Karan). And we’re glad that the world is finally embracing the beauty that is every body.

If you want to see the full chat, check out the YouTube video from Naomi Campbell's series here.