Former Supermodel Cheryl Tiegs Slammed for Comments on Curvy Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Model

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Ashley Graham poses on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2016 Swimsuit Issue. Former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs said Wednesday that she was against the magazine featuring a curvy model like Graham, adding, "No, I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run." Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated revealed its 2016 swimsuit issue earlier this month with two firsts for the annual book: This is the first year it has ever created three different covers with three different cover models, and the first time one of its swimsuit covers featured a "plus-size" model. When Ashley Graham—who recently told Ellen DeGeneres she preferred "curvasexalicious" to the term "plus-sized"—saw herself on the front of one of the glossies, she was floored.

"This cover is for every woman who felt like she wasn't beautiful enough because of her size," she wrote in an Instagram post. "You can do and achieve anything you put your mind to."

The post garnered more than 100,000 likes and mostly positive comments. One commenter said, "Everyone does not like twigs!!! Also note that skeletons with skin pulled over it ain't sexy...." Another wrote, "You are so beautiful. You actually look healthy."

Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic gold-medal winning skier who also posed for this year's swimsuit issue, in body paint, has lauded the magazine's decision to feature women with different kinds of bodies. "It's showing that strong, athletic women can be beautiful and it's not just skinny models," she said. "There's a lot of different body types in this world, and everyone is beautiful in their own way."

But on Wednesday, former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs told E! News at a pre-Oscar party that she was against featuring Graham on the swimsuit cover. "I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women because it's glamorizing them, because your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]. That's what Dr. Oz said, and I'm sticking to it," she said. "No, I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run."

Never mind the fact that Tiegs—who graced more than one Sports Illustrated cover during her career—didn't seem to have checked Graham's IMG Models page to see that her stats listed a 30-inch waist, far below her Dr. Oz-dictated cutoff for "healthy." She followed up her comments the next day on Twitter to "clarify" her stance:

Tiegs was quickly slammed with criticism for her original remarks as well as her clarification.

@CherylTiegs I'm disappointed in you. Ashley is a beautiful/healthy woman; just because she's not a stick figure doesn't mean she is obese.

— Kristin V. Shaw (@KristinVShaw) February 26, 2016

.@CherylTiegs "health" of anyone, you need to realize that you are not their doctor & have absolutely no business giving them medical advice

— Janet Morris (@janersm) February 26, 2016

Cheryl Tiegs says plus sized models like Ashley Graham, are not Healthy? Yeah cuz starving yourself on a diet of Coffee, Cigs, and Coke is?

— Jesse Duran (@jesseduran999) February 26, 2016

I've tried to teach my daughters that sometimes you should just NOT say something. Apparently #CherylTiegs hasn't figured this out at 68.

— Alex Flinn -- Buy Love Jacaranda! (@Alex_Flinn) February 26, 2016

@CherylTiegs Stop. You are not the standard anymore. Women come in all shapes and sizes, why not celebrate that? You are not a doctor.

— Artistic Wings (@artisticwings) February 26, 2016

Thanks @CherylTiegs for taking us back to the 1950s. Seriously minds like ur cause eating disorders in our youth #thickisin #plussizehealthy

— 😻Chocolate Kitten😻 (@rebelliousrose6) February 26, 2016

So yeah, hey, Cheryl Tiegs, 'round my way, this is the very definition of "healthy." #GotThatDictionaryForYa pic.twitter.com/ld1NZPfaVN

— Jeffrey We Voted Out That Gameshow Clown Wright (@jfreewright) February 26, 2016

Cheryl Tiegs called Sports Illustrated's plus-size swimsuit cover "unhealthy." Anorexics, bulimics and cokeheads are way better role models.

— Warren Holstein (@WarrenHolstein) February 26, 2016

@CherylTiegs Since when did you become a medical doctor? pic.twitter.com/dWXQLwtvNn

— rosechocglam (@rosechocglam) February 26, 2016

Graham—who often tags her Instagram posts with the hashtag #beautybeyondsize—is a "body activist" as well as a model. Her website is marked with the motto "Stand up for curves. Confidence is sexy" and says she "is regularly invited to speak at numerous high schools and girls' groups about body image, self-acceptance and female empowerment." In the spring of last year, Graham gave a TEDx talk titled "Plus-size? More Like My Size," in which she discussed her career as a curvy model.