Aly Raisman nude for the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and showcased messages of empowerment across her entire body.
From the pictures, the term “survivor” appears across Raisman’s torso while the phrases “fierce,” “live 4 you” and “every voice matters” are painted across her arms. The 23-year-old Olympian also bares the term “abuse is never OK” on the side of her chest and highlights the words “trust yourself” on her leg. Ultimately, the words “Girls don’t need to be small to be admired” run all of the way down her side.
“Women don’t need to be small to be respected,” Raisman told the magazine. “I feel that women (or anyone) should be able to wear whatever makes them feel happy and comfortable. Our society places too much pressure on girls and young women to look ‘perfect,’ and we must stop doing that. I am proud that SI Swim is using women of all shapes and sizes with many backgrounds. Each girl in the issue has her own unique story, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
Taylor Ballantyne/Sports Illustrated
The photos come nearly a month after Raisman read a potent victim-impact announcementthrough the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar. Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison in both Eaton County and Ingham County for sexual abuse. In addition, he obtained 60 years in prison for child pornography charges. Raisman accused Nassar of sexual abuse in November and has continued to be a voice for survivors.
During her meeting with SI Swimsuit, the three-time gold medalist said she expects her voice will drive change for future generations.
“I take the responsibility [to be a role model] very seriously,” she said. “I’m proud to be considered a role model, and I expect that by using my voice, I will help make change for future generations. Everyone deserves to feel safe and heard. We have to listen to those that speak up and offer our help.”
Ben Watts/Sports Illustrated
The photographs are part of SI Swimsuit’s “In Her Own Words” project. According to the magazine, the initiative was made “to provide a message of empowerment, beauty, confidence and self-acceptance.” Sailor Brinkley Cook and Paulina Porizkova also posed nude for the job, and All the models chose which words were showcased in their body
While Raisman said she was “a little nervous” about the shoot initially, she stated the all-female team, her loved ones and her friends were supportive.
This is the second time Raisman has emerged in the SI Swimsuit issue. She introduced in last year’s version together with her fellow gymnast Simone Biles. But, Raisman said this year’s look differs.
“This year has an extra special meaning to me,” she explained, “because it is such an unbelievable time for girls and everybody should feel as if they can express themselves however they want.”