Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is used to redefining what we think of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and her appearance in pages of the 2018 edition is no different. The 23-year-old gymnast shot more than just the typical glam shots in flashy bikinis, though the ones she posed for in Aruba while wearing silver-accented suits are downright stunning. Raisman also appeared in a new SI Swimsuit project called "In Her Own Words."
Raisman, who, as a victim, confronted convicted serial sex abuser (and former Team USA doctor) Larry Nassar with an emotional statement during court proceedings, posed for a series of photos bearing messages written on her bare skin. The word "Survivor" is written most prominently and boldly across Raisman's chest for the portrait series, along with other messages all across her body. According to SI, this prominent label was entirely Aly's creative decision, which she expands upon in the longform project:
"I would like to remind everyone that being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you . . . I hope that we can one day get to a point where everyone realizes that women do not have to be modest to be respected. We are free to draw confidence and happiness in our own way, and it is never for someone else to choose for us or to even judge us for that matter. For me, 'In Her Own Words' serves as a reminder that we are all humans, we are all battling something, and it is OK to not be OK. We are not alone and we need each other."
What a wise, inspiring take on overcoming trauma! Raisman also emanates strength and beauty in the pages of the 2018 SI Swimsuit Issue, which is on sale now. Take a look at her stunning photo shoot ahead, then look back on all the other times she's served as an inspiration to us all.