Sports Illustrated Makes History With Nude, Unedited Project by an All-Female Crew

Sports Illustrated is doing something it has never done before in a project titled, "In Her Words," for its 2018 Swimsuit Issue. The magazine ditched the swimsuits for fully nude, all black and white, unedited shots that convey incredible messages to society.

These powerful images shot by Taylor Ballantyne were not created to be sexy, which is a departure from any previous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue images. This project is about the words. Each model chose the words that went on her body, and they're all words that describe the women as human beings. The models are of all different sizes, shapes, and ages, but they all have on thing in common: they want to share the truth about the pressure they feel from society to fit the norm. They're doing so with bravery by posing nude, with all their flaws, insecurities, and stories in the spotlight to be printed millions of times for the world to see.

In the video above, Model Sailor Brinkley Cook talks to People TV about what the words she chose to place on her body mean to her and her experience throughout the shoot.

Sports Illustrated also unveiled this project with a beautiful behind-the-scenes video to share the details of the creation of the images. I was thrilled to read that the models actually got to go through the images with the photographer after the shoot and participate in choosing the final shots. I had chills while watching these strong women talk about what this shoot meant to them. Head over to Sports Illustrated to see how this groundbreaking shoot took place and to hear more chilling stories from the women who made it happen.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Gabrielle Colton is a portrait and editorial photographer with a passion for change. She is from Oregon and is currently in Louisville, Kentucky. She focuses on empowering women with her vivid metaphysical portraits. She often uses ordinary everyday places as her backdrop and transforms them into magical spaces to show how beautiful life truly is.

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Because the high brow readers of SI will totally respect those words artfully scrolled on the models bodies.

Maybe they are the ones that need it most. So thank God they're doing this.

SI readers buy a magazine about sports that once a year has a layout of bikini clad women in it. Are you really serious that they are going to "be enlightened" like some weak-kneed college freshmen? That's delusional.

Perhaps it’s more about using an established platform to send a message? Granted, it’s probably a marketing ploy by upper management to ride the current wave of #metoo, but in the meantime a positive message is sent while still showing scantily clad women. It’s a marketing no-brainer for SI. Everybody wins.

it's actually incredibly ironic that something with a positive message like this has been turned into a commodity.

Hans, I would argue that it was a marketing blunder. SI is the wrong platform.

Time will tell! It would be really interesting to take a peek at the sales figures after the campaign.

Not that I mind...but I thought the idea was to attract readers to their magazine?

SI's readership is decidedly male, and what men think is beautiful or sexy in women is very different from what WOMEN think is sexy/beautiful. Personally I read SI to see images that "I" think are beautiful...this just ain't working for me. Too much political correctness and #metoo stuff going on.

What in the world is wrong with cleaning up an image of a woman or man in the mag??

If I want to see stretch marks, pimples on the booty and ragged hair then I really don't need to BUY this magazine...or any other for that matter.

Virtue Signaling on a corporate scale.


I know women are being abused every day and as a man, I feel ashamed for that. But like it or not if someone chooses to be a model, she/he accept to be objectified, I mean if I want to express my ideas I don't choose to do a work where I have to lay on a beach barely naked. But maybe I miss the point here, please enlighten me, and I'm not being sarcastic.

EDIT: By saying "she/he accept to be objectified" I don't mean anyone should feel entitled to harass them, I just mean that while they are photographed they are an object used to sell something. I'm not native English so I don't know if I'm using the correct words.

Females are no better than males. We are all humans, and as such, flawed.
This is not an inclusive attitude. It's a sad statement about mankind (YES, mankind!)

I bet she has beautiful nipples....#metoo

"The magazine ditched the swimsuits for fully nude, all black and white, unedited shots that convey incredible messages to society."

The best message SI could convey on this front is to stop putting out the swimsuit issue for more powerful images of women doing sporty things. THAT'S a message. A nude woman with writing on her body is hardly a new message if we're talking about not objectifying women. Just my $0.02.

Whooo, hooo! Nailed it, Robert!

SO tired of the lectures from the socially enlightened. Pass.

Or any minority for that matter.

Oh bob, its just one shoot

I believe we should focus on the fact that there's only been 3 women of color on the cover since 1964......embarrassing. All of which are also lightskinned.

Really? I'm not disputing you--I've never checked--but Serena or Venus or Gaby or Simone never made the cover?

Edit: Okay, I did just check. Serena, at least, has been on the cover of SI as sportsperson of the year (and some people groused that a horse didn't win it instead).

You're talking about the swimsuit edition covers. That's rather a factor more of which black woman has been allowed to be a supermodel that year. We've known since Victoria Johnson that "there can be only one."

wow I didn't know this, thank you for sharing!

Nothing is more beautiful in all creation that the nude form. Sports Illustrated needs to branch-out their "swimsuit" photoshoots to include nudes.

the direction Sports Illustrated will eventually be taking . . .

Apart from few exceptions, all women (including the athletes/sports women) in SI shoots have had breast augmentation. People don't have the slightest clue what medical science can achieve and have been doing for decades.