Robyn Lawley Says SI Swim ‘Changed the Game’ for Body Acceptance

The four-time magazine star most recently posed for the issue in 2018.
Robyn Lawley was photographed by James Macari in Wyoming.
Robyn Lawley was photographed by James Macari in Wyoming. / James Macari/Sports Illustrated

When Robyn Lawley posed for the SI Swimsuit Issue in 2015, she was considered the first plus-sized woman to appear in the annual magazine. The Australian model returned to the fold the following three years, and helped usher in a more diverse grouping of brand models in years to come. In 2016, Ashley Graham landed the cover of the magazine, becoming the brand’s first plus-sized cover star, and today, women of all shapes and sizes from various walks of life are represented within its pages.

We caught up with Lawley on the red carpet of this year’s 60th anniversary issue launch party in New York City on Thursday, May 16. There, the 34-year-old shared her thoughts on the current state of the industry versus past years when it comes to acceptance and diversity.

“The 60th anniversary is a huge deal because this issue means so much to size diversity,” she stated. “ ... [Body diversity has improved] 100%, but we are now fighting with AI, so we’re actually fighting with bodies that aren’t even real anymore. But I think in terms of body acceptance, we’ve definitely changed the game ... SI [Swimsuit]’s changed the game, they’ve led the way, and I couldn't be prouder.”

Of her four features with SI Swimsuit, her rookie photo shoot in Wyoming still stands out as Lawley’s favorite today. She was photographed by James Macari against the stunning natural topography of the western U.S. that year.

“I loved that shoot,” Lawley, who was pregnant at the time, stated of her time on location in Jackson Hole. “It was just so beautiful. Just the scenery itself in America, I was just like, ‘Oh my God, where am I?’ This is such an amazing place.’”

Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.