“I’m Bald And I’m Beautiful” – Christie Valdiserri
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit broke all kinds of barriers at this year’s fashion show. History was made as Halima Aden was the first model to wear a hijab and burkini in the SI Swimsuit 2019 fashion show, proving the showcase would have a lineup of diverse women on the runway.
Christie Valdiserri, who is a dancer and fitness instructor, made the walk across the runway, three years after being diagnosed with alopecia.
Alopecia is an autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss on a woman. At the end of her walk, she made a bold move by taking off her blonde wig and embracing her look.
“After hiding under my wig for over a year I saw the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit catalog and all these other women embracing who they are and it made me realize that I can do this too. I’m bald and I’m beautiful,” Christie Valdiserri told People magazine.
Valdiserri was not the only woman to show off her true colors. Aden had a custom made burkini, designed by Cynthia Rowley captured the attitude of the night, the best by saying, “DON’T CHANGE YOURSELF, CHANGE THE GAME”, which was written down the sleeves.
The editor of Sports Illustrated Swim, MJ Day, told People magazine that having Aden as the opening model for the show was, “the perfect way to kick off diverse looks showcasing models of different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.”
Day said, “These shows keep getting bigger and better and more inspirational. We thought we ‘shattered perceptions’ with our 2019 issue but after meeting such incredible women during our annual Model Search in Miami, I think the team surpassed anything we could have ever imagined!”
Day finishes by telling People that body diversity should just be the beginning of the conversation.
“The show told our story represented what we all believe – the conversation shouldn’t stop at body diversity or how a woman should look – the conversation should open doors for individuals who have stories to tell and whose actions mean as much as their appearance.”
Click here to see a video clip of the fashion show.
Related Story: Halima Aden Makes History as Sports Illustrated First Muslim Model to Rock a Hijab and Burkini