AFTER the magazine took the bold step of featuring a transgender model in one of four covers last year, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit — once known for its raunchy content — has become more visibly committed to promoting gender equality and inclusion on its pages.
Over the past few years, it has featured models of different body types and ethnic backgrounds, and made history when it tapped Leyna Bloom to be its first transgender cover model for the 2020 issue.
Now, for this year’s edition, it has drawn the line in the (swim) sands for advertisers who hope to have placements in the upcoming issue.
“[O]nly brands who are helping drive gender equality forward will be featured in our magazine’s annual print,” said the magazine in a statement. “To participate, we are changing the cost of doing business from a monetary value to a currency of doing good.”
Calling this the “Pay for Change” initiative, the brand promises to only feature adverts “showcasing the progress each brand is making to build equity for all women.”
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit launches Pay for Change initiative
Editor in chief MJ Day also pushed back on the preconception that SI Swim’s pivot has been a recent one.
“Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has been leading the charge in creating change in women’s lives for years, despite what some critics and naysayers would like you to believe,” said Day.
She added, “However, in a world where women’s bodies are under attack and their value continuously underestimated, we knew we needed to act in a bold, more responsible way. Pay With Change is not just a platform to us, it is our commitment to creating greater progress for women.”
Brands, both large and small, must show evidence they are creating change for women, and will be certified by SI Swim as a Changemaker. This advertising will not only appear on the print issue, but across its digital properties.
A percentage of SI Swim’s ad revenue will go to a non-profit organization called the Sports Illustrated Gender Equity Fund.
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