Plus-Size Model Emme Calls Sports Illustrated Covers a 'Moment in History'

Sports Illustrated chose a curvy model and UFC fighter for their covers.

ByABC News
February 15, 2016, 11:51 AM

— -- The supermodel who broke ground herself as a plus-size model calls it a “moment in history” that curvy model Ashley Graham and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey are gracing the covers this year of Sports Illustrated’s famous Swimsuit Issue.

“It’s a very, very big stake in the ground saying this is a point in history that we are going to roll forward in a more positive, a more inclusive way on how we see women, images of beauty,” Emme said today on “Good Morning America.” “I think it’s going to reverberate across the industry, whether it’s fashion, toys, magazines.”

“It’s not a trend,” she said.

Sports Illustrated announced Saturday night that Graham and Rousey each scored their own Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 cover, along with model Hailey Clauson.

In addition to the cover models, the magazine also features a 56-year-old mom, Nicola Griffin, rocking a gold bikini in a swimsuit ad and plus-size model Precious Lee in an ad for Lane Bryant.

“It’s a wonderful time in history,” said Emme, known as America’s first plus-size model.

“There’s a whole line of beautiful young ladies right behind Ashley who are not going to make this a trend,” she said of the cover model. “They’re all going to be a part of this beautiful momentum, rolling forward, for women and girls and, quite frankly, for the men who love them.”

In addition to the barrier-breaking Sports Illustrated covers, Emme says another important milestone occurred earlier this year with the debut of Barbie's Fashionista line, which features dolls in all different shapes and colors.

“I think it starts very young and I think it starts within the families, the mothers feeling better about themselves and the grandmothers not rolling forward with the word body image,” Emme said. “I think that the conversations around the kitchen table are really, really important for girls to not hear that only one ideal of beauty is the one that’s accepted.

“It would be nice to see a little more on the age, having models in different age brackets to break that barrier down but right now we’re happy with having the diversity of body, of shapes and beauty out there,” she added.