Sports Illustrated features a model with a C-section for the first time ever and fans are very excited: ‘This is amazing’

Kelly Hughes is the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model to appear in the magazine with a visible C-section scar in its 58-year history

C-section scar
(Image credit: Artem_Furman)

As a direct result of its new Pay With Change initiative, Sports Illustrated is featuring a model with a visible C-section scar in its Swimsuit Issue for the first time ever in its 58-year history. This is huge news.

Kelly Hughes is the star of the spread. She's a model and mother who has already worked with the brand and has, of course, delivered her child via C-section.

Sports Illustrated worked on the feature alongside Chelsea Hirschhorn, the founder of Frida Mom, a company whose mission is to support women through their physical transformation into motherhood. According to an official press release, the goal of the project was to "authentically show the beauty of motherhood and make women who've gone through a C-section feel proud of the way they brought a baby into the world—no matter which way—and to normalize conversations around all postpartum recoveries and bodies."


In an interview with Glamour, Kelly acknowledged the importance of her work. "This photo is so much more than just a photo of me," she said to the outlet. "There is an incredible shift happening in our society today with inclusivity and to be empowered by our imperfections. 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."

Sport Illustrated shared the image on its Instagram page—and followers took to the comments section to profess their excitement and appreciation for the shoot.

"Yes! I'm proud of my C-section scar and the story behind it," one user wrote.

"🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌 yes yes yesssss I'm an emergency C-Section mom and reading this is #openingeyes!!," someone else commented. "There’s so many woman ashamed for their scar but is nothing more than the prof you are strong!!!!"

Another Instagram follower wrote, "For all the women, including myself, bearing this scar! I am so proud and excited to see this."


This isn't the first time that the magazine makes history. Earlier this year, Katrina Scott became the first visibly pregnant woman to appear in its pages. 

"Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has a storied history of firsts [...] of breaking boundaries, building and restoring confidence and speaking directly to all women in an empowering and inclusive voice," Katrina said about her spread in early May. "As women, we have been told, shown and expected to hide (then 'bounce back' from) our pregnant bodies when, in fact, our beautiful bumps embody the miracle of what it means to be Selfless, Vulnerable and Strong."

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers news, entertainment, lifestyle, culture, food, travel and more. Read more of her work at annabenyehuda.com.