Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue gives the power to models in a nude photo shoot to honor the dawn of the #MeToo movement.
For the first time, the annual Swimsuit Issue includes an intimate photo shoot called "In Her Own Words," featuring models such as Sailor Brinkley Cook, Paulina Porizkova, and Robyn Lawley as they strip down and paint words on their bodies that represent themselves.
Raw, honest, and stripped down, the black and white photo shoot pays tribute to the #MeToo movement by promoting truth and self-acceptance.
Baring Their True Selves
While the images are still very sexy and characteristic of Sports Illustrated, the project is an attempt to give models a voice in an industry that is often purely visual.
"It was really special to be a part of this and get to express myself in a very raw, uncensored way," Cook, daughter of supermodel Christie Brinkley, describes the experience. "Having these words written all over your naked body and having that next level of exposure — I felt sexy obviously but I felt more emotional and it helped me accept myself."
Some of the words Cook wrote on her body are "natural" and "work in progress."
Iconic 52-year-old model Porizkova adds that it feels even more revealing than just being physically naked, while Lawley talks about her daughter, saying she wants girls to be more willing in accepting and loving their own bodies.
SI Swimsuit models celebrate more than just their bodies in candid, new project. pic.twitter.com/9ciEdRTFsq
— SI Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) February 7, 2018
A True Collaboration
"In Her Own Words" is a genuine collaborative effort between photographer Taylor Ballantyne, an all-female team, and the models.
In a medium that usually requires models to be at the mercy of other people's visions of the shoot, this project presents a unique opportunity for the women to be more involved in the entire process.
"No one ever gives models a real opportunity to be who they are," Sports Illustrated editor MJ Day points out to Vanity Fair. "You're always an actor, you're always a part of the photograph, you're always performing for something: for the brand, the photographer, the spirit of the photograph, and you're never really your most authentic self."
Two featured models even helped out behind the scenes. Cook, who is a photography student at Parsons School of Design, got the opportunity to work with the crew, while experienced videographer Lawley took charge as director of photography of a behind-the-scenes video that's going to be aired on the Sports Illustrated TV.
The 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue hits newsstands next week.