Cheryl Tiegs Apologizes to Ashley Graham in Open Letter: “By the Way, My Waist Is 37 Inches”

It's never too late to say that she's sorry. ‘80s supermodel Cheryl Tiegs apologized again to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl Ashley Graham in a new open letter published Friday, March 4.

Tiegs, 68, said her now-controversial remarks about Graham's physique were misconstrued after she said during an interview, "Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run." The comments resulted in backlash, with critics accusing her of bodyshaming Graham. Tiegs continued to invite controversy when she told E! in a follow-up interview: "I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women, because it's glamorizing them, because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]."

In her open letter, Tiegs claimed that the initial question posed to her was: "Do you love the fact that we are actually stepping outside our comfort zone of what we know is like the model figure and we are actually using full figured women and making that a thing now?"

Cheryl Tiegs (left) & Ashley Graham
Cheryl Tiegs (left) & Ashley Graham David Becker/Getty Images for Le Vian; Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

"This was a generic question, and I said that I did not love it," she continued Friday in her open letter on HuffPost. "My answer was based on health concerns because of our nation's increasing problems with weight linked to diabetes, heart issues and cancer. At no time was I thinking of a specific person … I was not equating beauty to weight or size, but unfortunately that is what the media reported in headlines. I was trying to express my concern over media images and the lack of education in America about healthy choices, thus the reference to the 35-inch waist as a guideline to health."

Tiegs then made a startling personal revelation of her own. "And by the way, my waist is 37 inches," she shared with Graham. "Please accept my deepest apology if you were offended or in any way think I was referring to you. I commend you on the positive influence you have on helping women to love themselves. I care about health and longevity for everyone."

Beyond By Ashley Graham for the DRESSBAR at dressbarn
Beyond By Ashley Graham for the DRESSBAR at dressbarn

Graham clapped back at Tiegs on Thursday, telling E!: "There are too many people thinking they can look at a girl my size and say that we are unhealthy. You can't, only my doctor can!" 

Coincidentally, the body activist launched a plus-size clothing line in collaboration with DRESSBAR at Dressbarn this week.

Beyond By Ashley Graham for the DRESSBAR at dressbarn
Beyond By Ashley Graham for the DRESSBAR at dressbarn

"My collection for DRESSBAR reflects my mantra — beauty is beyond size," Graham said in a statement to Us Weekly on Thursday, March 3. "As my first apparel collaboration, I wanted to create something sexy and sophisticated and we definitely achieved that with these dresses. I also realized it was vital for me to partner with a company that shares my belief that all women — no matter their shape or size — should have access to well-made clothing that makes them feel confident and beautiful."

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