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Ashley Graham marks first plus-sized cover model in ‘Sports Illustrated’ swimsuit issue

PHOENIX — For the first time ever, the annual “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue will feature a plus-sized model on its cover.

Truly speechless!!! This cover is for every woman who felt like she wasn’t beautiful enough because of her size. You can do and achieve anything you put your mind to. Thank you so much to the entire @si_swimsuit team! I’m so excited to be a part of your family. I love you all!!! #siswim #beautybeyondsize

A photo posted by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on

Ashley Graham will grace one of three different covers for the 2016 edition of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, joining fellow model Hailey Clauson and former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey.

“Being confirmed for ‘(Sports Illustrated)’ was the huge excitement,” she said, after learning she was selected.

But Graham didn’t get the typical congratulatory call. Instead, she was brought in to her agent’s office under the guise of filming a “day in the life” segment and the contract was slipped in to her paperwork as a surprise.

You can watch the full clip above, but Graham summed it up fairly nicely for those who will skip the video: “It was one of those moments where I couldn’t have imagined it to be any better than it was,” she said.

This year will not be Graham’s first appearance in the issue: In the 2015 “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue, she became the first plus-sized model to appear in the magazine in any shape or form in an ad for Swimsuits For All, a bathing suit retailer for “curvy” women.

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