We are SO excited that United States Women's National Team (USWNT) captain Megan Rapinoe is officially a part of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit family! Her photoshoot marks the first time an openly gay woman has posed for the magazine, but this soccer star is so much more than her sexual orientation. An outspoken, fearless activist, she consistently uses her platform to make waves that go beyond the soccer field. We caught up with Megan to discuss everything from wearing sheer in St. Lucia to the USWNT’s fight for equality, and more!
On finding out she was going to be in the issue: Obviously I’ve looked at the magazine and followed the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue for a long time and know what it’s all about, so I thought it was a really cool opportunity to kind of mash a few different worlds together. I always love the opportunities when we get to do things that are different or things that are sort of outside of our realm. We do plenty of sports shots and photoshoots, so any time there’s an opportunity to do do something totally different, I’m all over that.
On experiencing the opportunity with her teammates: It was actually really fun. We were all sharing pictures and shooting texts back and forth…so it was pretty cool to see. Everyone just looked amazing obviously. We usually see our teammates in a certain way. We don’t get to see the whole part of their life or sometimes the whole part of who they are, so to get to see our teammates express themselves in different ways was pretty cool.
On feeling confident during her shoot: All of the SI shoots always come out so beautiful…I feel like the more you get into it, the more you lean into it and the more you kind of just let your inhibitions go the better the shots are…it’s was one of the best photoshoots I’ve ever been a part of. It's just kind of a chance to show off your body and show off your hard work. Also, there were just some really cool shots. I went with a few sheer [swimsuits]. Free the nipple, I’m all about that!
On breaking down the USWNT's fight for equal pay, equal investment, and more: The amount of hours I’ve spent trying to figure out why people don’t get it or don’t support us is shocking. I think one thing that people need to understand is all of these other sports leagues, whether it’s the NBA or the MLS or whatever, they don’t have have millions of fans because millions of people are obsessed with the MLS, NBA or the NFL. There’s marketing. There’s thought put into it. There’re branding. There’s dedicated ticket people. There’s massive strategy with very smart people behind all of it. I think we’re just expected to all of a sudden, out of nowhere, with very little investment, sort of conjure up that same enthusiasm for what we’re doing, but it takes so much more than that.
On continuing the fight for female equality: I know deep down in my bones that what we’re doing is right. I literally see the world changing right in front of me and we’re a huge part of that. You either fight it and dive all the way in or you don’t and things don’t get better. Unfortunately the world is created in the way that it was, but there’s so much opportunity to change and to grow and to push the conversation forward and to push our society forward.
See all of Megan’s SI Swimsuit 2019 photos: