Who Is Tabria Majors, New Plus-Size 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Model?

Model Tabria Majors attends Sports Illustrated and Wall present SWIMMIAMI 2017 Opening Party Backstage/Front Row at WET Deck at W South Beach, in Miami, on July 20. “I would love to see more women who look like me in Sports Illustrated, a woman of color with these big hips and this not-so-flat stomach,” said Majors. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for SWIMMIAMI

It was just last year that Ashley Graham made history when she became the first plus-size model to be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Now, another plus-size model is one of six women chosen in the first-ever open casting call for the annual issue. Tabria Majors, 27, was one of more than 5,000 women who responded after Sports Illustrated (SI) launched the open call to "find our next big star" in March. "Personality is paramount. And while fresh, beautiful faces are a must, we are also looking for diversity in both size and ethnicity. After all, 'beauty does not conform to any set of stodgy standards,'" the announcement explained, quoting the editor's letter from the 2017 issue. The first round of the search was conducted via social media, with Sports Illustrated asking any prospective candidates to express their interest in a one-minute video posted to Instagram. Majors's video, uploaded to her account on May 4, explains why she decided to enter. "I would love to see more women who look like me in Sports Illustrated, a woman of color with these big hips and this not-so-flat stomach, and all this stuff going on back here," she said in her brief video. "I would love to serve as a role model to young girls to show them they can do anything they put their mind to. I've only been modeling for two years, but I'm submitting anyway because I think I have a shot." Majors hails from Nashville, Tennessee, and in addition to her fledgling modeling career is the co-host of The Thick Podcast, which is described on its website as "a podcast series that revels in the comical banter between the dynamic duo, Tabria and Mindy!" It continues, "The Love, Life, and 'Lipo' Talk Show Series focuses on making light of the challenges in dating and work life, and also provides health, fashion and beauty tips from the perspectives of a Plus Size, Super Model in the making and a professional career oriented woman." The two women have also recently started doing a live show, the first of which, in early October, Majors deemed a success. The second is coming up in Los Angeles on December 9. The "Plus Size, Super Model in the making" also plays the piano. The day before Sports Illustrated announced its six finalists, Majors posted a video tribute playing a favorite song she had learned from her music teacher, who had recently passed away. She has said she dreams of landing a magazine cover. "Landing the cover of any magazine would be amazing," Majors has been quoted as saying. "But more importantly, it's about expanding diversity within the fashion industry because I want to continue to represent those women who have been underrepresented." The 5-foot-10-inch model is one of six finalists who made it through the first and most drastic round of cuts from the more than 5,000 applicants to 35; through the interviews in New York City and into the next cut, to 15; through a visit to Miami to model for SI's Swim Week show and into this last cohort. Her fellow finalists are Haley Kalil, 24, from Victoria, Minnesota, a former Miss Minnesota who is married to Matt Kalil of the Carolina Panthers; Olivia Jordan, 28, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was crowned Miss USA 2015; Camille Kostek, 25, from Killingworth, Connecticut, a former New England Patriots cheerleader; Iyonna Fairbanks, 25, from Cincinnati, a night security guard; and Allie Ayers, 23, from Snyder, Oklahoma, who SI describes as a "midsize" model. All six women will appear in the 2018 issue, and one winner will be selected as an SI Swimsuit 2019 rookie. "I am so proud to say that I will be in next year's issue along with 5 other amazing ladies!" Majors posted to her roughly 389,000 followers on Instagram on October 4. "Words can't even describe how excited I am about this opportunity, but I want to thank aaaallllll of you guys bc I couldn't have gotten here without you."