Canadian model shines as first queer, plus-size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie (PHOTOS)

Apr 19 2023, 3:45 pm

Becoming a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie for 2023 isn’t the only major thing that’s happened to Lauren Chan this year.

After deep introspection and therapy throughout the pandemic, the Canadian model discovered a lot about her sexuality and realized that she was attracted to women.

“Believe it or not, I was shocked that I — a 30-something, married to a man, professional purveyor of self-acceptance — am coming out late,” Chan wrote in a personal essay for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.

After coming out to her husband, the Brantford, Ontario, native then went through an amicable divorce, before setting her sights on becoming a Sports Illustrated Rookie.

Not only did she manifest the latter, but she used her rookie debut to come out to the world.

“I’m in @si_swimsuit! I’m queer! And I’m telling you right now! 🍾🥂” Chan shared in an Instagram post on Wednesday.


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A post shared by LAUREN CHAN (@lcchan)

She is the first queer and plus-size Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie and she doesn’t take that title lightly.

“I spent my career representing women who look like me — and I’m ready for a chapter in which I get to celebrate us for who we are on the inside, too,” Chan wrote.

“Here feels like the right place to celebrate my hard-fought pride, relate to other folks in my position, and perhaps change some people’s view of the queer community.”

The model added that this is especially important with a record 400-plus anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across the United States this year to date.

“SI Swimsuit felt like a platform whose reach could make a real difference at a pivotal time,” she explained.

Chan has been a trailblazer in the fashion industry. She was a Glamour Fashion editor, Specifically covering plus size fashion at a time when so few were.

She also launched the plus-size luxury workwear brand Henning, supplying a demand for an often overlooked community.

Chan isn’t the only Canadian that has made it into Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.

Last year, Ashley Callingbull made history as the first-ever Indigenous woman to grace the issue’s pages.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

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