SI Swimsuit issue makes history with model Kelly Hughes baring C-section scar: ‘Opportunity of a lifetime’

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For the first time in its 58-year history, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit will feature a model proudly baring her cesarean-section scar while rocking a two-piece.

The magazine partnered with Frida Mom to raise awareness of Pay With Change, an initiative aimed to “positively shift the mainstream cultural narratives associated with women’s bodies – especially when becoming a mom.”

The 42-year-old modeled a skimpy string bikini in solidarity with other moms.

Model Kelly Hughes delivered her now 3-year-old son via cesarean.

Model Kelly Hughes delivered her now 3-year-old son via cesarean. (SI Swimsuit/Frida Mom)

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to work with companies such as SI and Frida, a true dream come true,” Hughes told Fox News Digital in a statement. “I’m thankful for brands like Frida Mom that are normalizing the changes we go through as women and bringing products to the market to help with recovery.”

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“However, this photo is so much more than just a photo to me,” she shared. “There is an incredible shift happening in our society today with inclusivity and to be empowered by our imperfections and to be given this opportunity while showing my C-section scar for the first time ever represents more than any photo I’ve ever taken.”

Chelsea Hirschhorn, Frida CEO and soon-to-be mom of four, also told Fox News Digital in a statement that she’s eager for the bold image to spark conversation about the physical transformations mothers face, as well as postpartum recovery.

“Joining Sports Illustrated as its first official Pay With Change brand partner is a perfect fit for Frida Mom because they have a valuable platform to disrupt the traditional narrative around women’s bodies – especially those they feature who are mothers,” she wrote. “We’re thrilled that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit appreciates the importance of highlighting these women authentically – C-section scars and all – and welcome the progress we will make together as a result of this shared commitment.”

Hughes delivered her now 3-year-old son via cesarean. She joins Katrina Scott, 2021’s Rookie of the Year, who was photographed when she was six and a half months pregnant, as well as Hunter McGrady, who posed for the outlet six months postpartum.

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The 2022 issue features Kim Kardashian, Maye Musk, Ciara and Yumi Nu as this year’s cover girls.

The original swimsuit issue ran in 1964. It has been a launching pad for models such as Kathy Ireland, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson, Kate Upton and Ashley Graham.

Over the years the issue has tried to stay fresh, with painted bikinis, plus-sized models, unedited photos, tiny swimsuits, amputee models, older models and the addition of professional athletes and celebrities in relationships.

Kim Kardashian and Maye Musk are among this year's cover girls.

Kim Kardashian and Maye Musk are among this year’s cover girls. (Greg Swales/Sports Illustrated and Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated)

This year’s issue will include 28 women, including WNBA stars Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, newcomer Duckie Thot and former cover girl Camille Kostek among others. Kate Bock will also mark a decade of appearances in this year’s issue.

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The magazine hits newsstands on May 19.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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