Sports Illustrated Swimsuit show celebrates body diversity on Miami runway

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit made a major splash over the weekend.

The magazine, which is gearing up to drop its sizzling issue on July 19, launched an all-inclusive runway show highlighting women of diverse shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds.

The models hit the runway at the Mondrian Hotel South Beach’s Baia Beach Club during PARAISO Miami Beach.

Natalie Gage walks for 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida. 
( Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

SI Swimsuit supermodel Jasmine Sanders opened the runway, followed by Natalie Mariduena, Brooks Nader, Katrina Scott, Kathy Jacobs, as well as the 13 Swim Search hopefuls selected for the magazine’s annual open casting call.

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Saje Nicole walks the runway during the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida. 

Saje Nicole walks the runway during the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida. 
(Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

The show also featured a surprise appearance of Haley Kalil, co-winner of the first-ever SI Swimsuit open casting call in 2018.

“Sports Illustrated Swimsuit continues to redefine the cultural conversation around beauty by celebrating a diverse group of women who include professional athletes, entrepreneurs, models, mothers, rookies and swim search contestants,” read a statement sent to Fox News on Sunday.

Chelsea Heath walks for 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida. 

Chelsea Heath walks for 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida. 
(Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

“It’s annual Miami runway show which collectively rounds out this remarkable group of authentic and aspirational women has become the go-to show during swim week in Miami,” the statement added.

PARAISO Miami Beach is the official platform for swim shows, events and brand launches in Miami from July 8 to July 11.

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Amanda Kay walks the runway during the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Amanda Kay walks the runway during the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
(Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

SI Swimsuit, which was first launched in 1964, has become one of the most recognizable and influential pop culture brands. The magazine is known for launching the successful careers of numerous models over the years.

“Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has become a new lifestyle brand that champions body confidence and self-expression, and connects with diverse audiences through digital content and signature experiences that nurture the body, soul and spirit,” read the statement.

Back in June, SI Swim Search finalist Kristen Louelle Gaffney told Fox News she tried out for the magazine three times.

“It’s incredibly empowering,” the mom of two said at the time about her experience appearing in the issue.

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Natalie Mariduena walks the runway during the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Natalie Mariduena walks the runway during the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Mondrian South Beach on July 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
(Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

“I feel like I have unlocked this superpower, as crazy as it sounds, to help make women feel as comfortable as possible with themselves,” Gaffney continued. “I want other women to say, ‘She’s a mom and she did it. I can do it too.’ I want to use my platform to connect with other women, inspire them to go after their dreams, whether it’s Sports Illustrated or motherhood, work – whatever it is. I’m just so grateful that I can do that.”

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