MIAMI BEACH, FL - JULY 15: Kate Upton walks the runway at the Beach Bunny Swimwear show during Merecdes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2012 at The Raleigh on July 15, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Beach Bunny)

Martha Stewart is a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model, the magazine announced Monday.

At 81, she’s the oldest model to grace the cover of the annual swimsuit issue, surpassing Maye Musk who posed for the special issue in 2022 at 74.

She’s wearing a one-piece bathing suit with a wicked plunging neckline.

And she looks GREAT.

But now everyone is asking: Is 81 too old to be a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Girl?


Listen, I’m the first person to say I’m a little disappointed I can’t slide into that middle-age spread with the wild abandon of a “Golden Girl”.

They promised future 50-year-olds Rue McLanahan and flowy tops…and Jennifer Lopez and her abs showed up instead.

Unfair! Or so I thought.

I’ve changed my mind.

And Sports Illustrated: The Swimsuit Issue did it.


When I was growing up, the annual Swimsuit Issue was passed around schools, offices, – jeez, even DOCTORS OFFICES – like a bong at a Phish concert.

The models weren’t simply perfect. They were other-worldly.

And if you didn’t look like one of them, how DARE you wear a bathing suit?

And if you did dare? Well, you better wear a GIANT “Frankie Says Relax” t-shirt over it. Or risk the ridicule of teenage boys on Nantasket beach.

But  in the 2000s, Sports Illustrated began featuring models with more athletic builds, such as Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, and Lindsey Vonn.

These women represented a departure from the traditional supermodel physique. They brought attention to the strength and athleticism of the female body.

In 2015, plus-size model Ashley Graham graced the cover of the Swimsuit Issue, a landmark moment for body positivity and inclusivity within the modeling industry.

The following years featured diversity. The magazine featured models of various sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds, including Halima Aden,  the first model to wear a hijab and burkini.

And now, the magazine is tackling ageism with Stewart’s turn on the cover.

Stewart founded Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in the 1990s and became synonymous with cooking, entertaining and homemaking. She’s a media empire, a convicted felon, a tv star and a business partner with Snoop Dogg.

Did she need to do the Sports Illustrated cover? Not at all.

But she did. And by doing so, she helped break down another barrier.

So, here’s to the ladies in their ’80s – actually all of us – sporting bathing suits with confidence this summer. Do it loud and proud, girls.

Just remember to wear sunscreen.


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