Model Mara Martin Walked the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show While Breastfeeding, and Here's Why it Matters

SI Swimsuit model search finalist Mara Martin made waves at Swim Week in Miami by breastfeeding on the runway.

This hot momma knows how to work it on the runway!

During the Paraiso x SI Swimsuit runway show last night, SI Swimsuit model search finalist Mara Martin made eyes turn as she walked the show while breastfeeding her 5-month-old daughter. Mara owned the runway in a gold, one-shouldered bikini while carrying her baby, who was wearing noise-canceling headphones, a green bikini and a diaper.


On Monday, Mara posted on Instagram about the response she's received in the aftermath of the show. She explained that while she's in awe of the response, she doesn't believe a mother feeding her daughter should be newsworthy. 

"Words can’t even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit," she wrote. "Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine. I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day.

"It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that."

"Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see," Mara continued. "One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country (sorry i don’t know your IG handle), one woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!

"Just thinking about all that was represented there... I desperately need to give the most thanks to @mj_day for this. She supported me in what I did last night. Without her support this wouldn’t even be discussed!!!! She and the entire Sports Illustrated family are the most amazing and incredible team to have worked with. THANK YOU for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!! Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!!!!!! Lastly, to every single woman that rocked that runway with me. Be proud. I know I am of you! You all have inspired me in ways unimaginable. I love you all!!! #siswimsearch"

SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day revealed that the decision to send Mara down the runway while breastfeeding wasn't one that was planned out in advance.

"It was very spontaneous," MJ explained. "When I was talking with the girls backstage prior to the show beginning, I saw that Mara's baby was sleeping and peacefully nursing. I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse. She said 'Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?', and I said absolutely! I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are. For me, I nursed two babies myself, so I find it to be one of the most powerful things the female body can do. It was the easiest decision I have had to make in months."

See some of our favorite moments from Paraiso during Swim Week: 

SI Staff