Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue Editor MJ Day Bravely Poses in a Bikini: ‘Equally Terrifying and Liberating’

Despite spending a majority of her time on secluded beaches with scantily clad supermodels in bikinis, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue director MJ Day has never felt comfortable in a swimsuit. The editor courageously posted an Instagram video of herself in a black two-piece on Wednesday, February 15, as part of the magazine’s 2017 issue celebrating women of all sizes, and encouraged others to love their bodies despite their insecurities.

“Deep. Breath. If I'm going to talk the talk I am going to walk the walk. Please consider participating. It was equally terrifying and liberating for me,” she wrote alongside her bikini video. “Funny how I have spent my life on a beach since childhood and I have never truly felt comfortable in a swimsuit. Even at my thinnest. We need to love ourselves in the present. No matter what.”

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor MJ Day
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor MJ Day attends Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Summer of Swim Fan Festival and Concert on August 28, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Day added that she’s been producing the annual issue for 19 years and that today she decided to get into a bikini in honor of the mag’s #WhatIModel campaign in partnership with @WomenIRL. “This year’s issue will showcase the widest diversity of women in SI history,” she explained. “Women of all ages, and shapes, and from many different backgrounds. We want to celebrate strength, beauty, and more, so we want to know: What do you model? So I’ll kick us off. I model determination. I’m determined to get out the message that there is not a singular definition of beauty.”

Deep.Breath. If I'm going to talk the talk I am going to walk the walk. Please consider participating. It was equally terrifying and liberating for me. Funny how I have spent my life on a beach since childhood and I have never truly felt comfortable in a swimsuit. Even at my thinnest. We need to love ourselves in the present. No matter what. I invite you all to do so. ???❤#50shadesoftan Repost @womenirl with @repostapp ・・・ Introducing the #WhatIModel campaign, a partnership with @SI_Swimsuit and @healthmagazine. This year's Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issue is the most inclusive ever and features women of various ages, backgrounds and body types. We’re celebrating this vision of beauty and confidence on our feed… in our swimsuits. Because you should feel beautiful no matter what you wear, and we’re ready to love our swimsuits again. Meet @mj_day, the editor of SI Swimsuit, and find out what *she* models. Then, upload your own video (in your suit) and tag it #WhatIModel & #LoveYourSwimsuit for the chance to be featured here. Stay tuned all week for inspiring messages about body confidence and authenticity. #womenirl

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Indeed, this year’s sexy Swimsuits For All issue features models of all shapes, sizes and ages, including covergirl Kate Upton and SI veteran Christie Brinkley, who returned at the age of 63 and posed alongside her daughters Alexa Ray Joel and Sailor Brinkley-Cook. The magazine also showcases Hunter McGrady, a plus-size model who has been crowned their curviest model yet.

This is a surreal moment for me. You guys I have been bursting to tell you all about this! I want to thank @MJ_Day for an opportunity like this to do the SI model search and for being a force in this industry and everyone at @si_swimsuit for promoting that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Beauty is not a number. It has no limits. I have never felt sexier than I did in this shoot. Thank you to @joannegair and team @therealmarissajade and @trendytribals for working your magic on my body. These women painted this suit for 12 hours and I never wanted to take it off. Women, for anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable or insecure because of rolls, or stretch marks, or cellulite, or acne, or felt like you didn't measure up because you weren't represented in the magazines–THIS IS FOR YOU! You are beautiful. You are STRONG. You are powerful and together we need to lift eachother up and inspire one another. There's too much going on on this world to let eachother fall by the wayside. Shot by another incredible woman- @josie_clough amazing sexy beach hair by @adammaclay thank you to my agents @uralucky1 @marissamuscari @ginabaronedirectorofficial @jaimegoldberg_ @wilhelminamodels for being such hard working and dedicated team! We did it ! ? #breakingboundaries #siswim

A post shared by Hunter McGrady (@huntermcgrady) on

“I want to thank @MJ_Day for an opportunity like this and for being a force in this industry and everyone at @si_swimsuit for promoting that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes,” McGrady, 23, shared on Instagram on Wednesday, along with the shot of herself in the painted-on swimsuit. “Beauty is not a number. It has no limits.”

Upton, who has starred on the cover three times now, also shared that she returned to the brand because of their uplifting message.

“To have an issue that focuses on that is really an amazing moment for me because I think it’s important for everyone to be the best they can be, but not to strive to be a company or industry’s idea of perfect,” Upton told the magazine. “For SI to emphasize every different type of perfect is really inspiring. Those are the campaigns I want to do and the career I want to have — to inspire women to love themselves.”

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