Martha Stewart, the renowned lifestyle icon, is making history in the 2023 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated (SI), joining the growing trend of older women embracing the spotlight at ages when they are typically overlooked.
At 81 years old, Stewart becomes the oldest cover model in the history of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, surpassing the record set by Maye Musk, who was 75 when she appeared on the cover in 2022.The magazine, known for its inclusivity, also features actress Megan Fox,
model Brooks Nader, and singer Kim Petras on their respective covers in May. Stewart’s cover was captured by photographer Ruven Afanador, with whom she has collaborated in the past, according to SI Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day.
Stewart shared her thoughts on The Today Show, emphasizing the significance of embracing a good and successful life rather than fixating on age. She believes the whole notion of aging is uninteresting. Sports Illustrated has been committed to featuring
women of all ages and backgrounds in recent years, including models like Kathy Jacobs (57 years old) and former SI models Christie Brinkley (69 years old) and Paulina Porizkova (58 years old). The 2023 issue also includes Padma Lakshmi, a 52-year-old television host.
Ms. Day, Afanador, and their teams prioritized the comfort and trust of all the models during the shoot. The magazine, published by Arena Media Brands,
aims to challenge preconceived notions and spark important conversations about women’s potential and the unnecessary barriers they face.
The trend of celebrating older women extends beyond Hollywood as well. In 2022, 10 of the top-grossing films featured leading actresses aged 45 or older, according to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, indicating a significant increase compared to only one film in 2007.
However, ageism remains an issue, affecting older female workers, especially those nearing retirement age, according to a 2015 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. By showcasing older women in prominent roles and challenging societal stereotypes,
Sports Illustrated and other platforms hope to dismantle age-related biases and empower women to pursue their dreams and aspirations at any stage of life.