'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit' Star Olivia Dunne Explains How She Responds to Social Media Hate

The NCAA's highest-paid female athlete stars in this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Olivia Dunne, also known as Livvy to her legions of social media followers, was first revealed earlier this month. Now, the cover stars are public and the issue is officially headed to news stands, giving fans a chance to experience her full Swimsuit spread for themselves.

In her conversation with the outlet, Dunne hit back at those who criticize her for playing up sex appeal on social media.

“I think it’s important to stand up for yourself,” she said. “Maybe it’s the Jersey girl in me, but I think girls needed to know it wasn’t O.K., especially posting things that any other college kid would post in—a leotard—which is the required uniform for being a gymnast. It’s ridiculous.”

She went on say that she tries not to listen to the detractors.

“There’s always people who want to downplay your success and say it’s just because of how you look or it’s just luck,” she said. “I don’t give that negativity too much attention because it doesn’t deserve it. If I want girls to hear my message, I need to focus on what I want to say and not waste my time getting defensive about people who don’t take the time to understand what I do.”

Dunne join a host of famous co-stars in the magazine, including Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, NCAA women's basketball champion Angel Reese, newcomer Mady Dewey, and more. The issue's cover stars are Megan Fox, Martha Stewart, Kim Petras, and Brooks Nader.

Check out her full Sports Illustrated Swimsuit spread here and purchase your copy here.

<p>Ben Watts&sol;Sports Illustrated</p>

Ben Watts/Sports Illustrated