Cheryl Tiegs on Sports Illustrated in 1983; Ashley Graham in 2016.
The support for Ashley Graham’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover has been overwhelmingly positive: It’s the first time a true plus-size person has been featured in the magazine — let alone on the cover — and fellow models were quick to show their support.
Former SI cover girl Tyra Banks tweeted at Graham, “Your life is about 2 explode N2 amazing-ness […] TyTy is proud of u!” Added Emily Ratajkowski of the cover image, “Absolutely breathtakingly awesome.” Even footballer Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson got in on the flattery, tweeting, “Ashley Graham is fine, hoping her success opens up the flood gates for the rest of the worlds curvy goddesses [sic].”
But it seems not everyone’s pleased about Graham’s newfound fame. At the 13th Annual Global Green USA Pre-Oscar Party on Wednesday evening, E! News spoke with swimsuit issue veteran Cheryl Tiegs about Sports Illustrated’s decision to feature more varied body types — and the former model was not having it.
“I don’t like it that we’re [now] talking about full-figured women, because it’s glamorizing them — and your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches],” the 68-year-old explained. “That’s what Dr. Oz said, and I’m sticking to it. I don’t think it’s healthy.” (It should be notes that a 2014 study published by the British Medical Journal found that at least half of television Dr. Mehmet Oz’s medical advice is either without base or entirely wrong.)
Then, in what seemed to be a blatantly backhanded (and classically fat-shaming) attempt to soften her comments, Tiegs added, “[Graham’s] face is beautiful. Beautiful.”
Well, at least we can now imagine how Tiegs has been spending her time since retiring from modeling: Sitting at home, watching daytime television, and occasionally doing reverse crunches to keep that under-35-inch waist of hers whittled. Meanwhile, we’re hoping Graham’s ultra-positive “I am me, take it or leave it” mentality isn’t affected in any way by Tiegs’s surprisingly cutting words.