While the release of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has been largely met with positivity on Instagram — with many users using the comments section to thank the magazine for its inclusivity and diversity — some not-so-pleasant folks took the opportunity to shame model Veronica Pomee. Pomee is a plus-size model who just became the first Polynesian to land a spot within the pages of the coveted magazine.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit took to the popular social media platform on Thursday — a day after the release of its 2019 edition — to share a series of sizzling snapshots featuring the six finalists of this year’s “Swim Search.” Pomee — who starred in the cover photo of the series of snapshots — is reclining on the sand as she rocks a bright blue two-piece bikini. The bikini consists of a triangle top that ties behind the model’s neck, and a tiny bottom that is barely visible in the snapshot.
While the comments sections attached to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit‘s posts are generally very positive, this time around, users decided to pen some offensive remarks about the model’s body type.
“One of these things is not like the other… (Looking at you, #1),” one user wrote.
“Affirmative action in effect for swimsuits??” another follower wrote.
“I only see 5 S.I. Models, #1 is a mistake,” a third critic quipped.
Despite the negativity, the post garnered nearly 13,000 likes and over 220 comments in about five hours of having been posted.
As a plus-size woman and a racial minority, Pomee — who is from southern California — has already overcome considerable obstacles in her modeling career.
In an interview with PopSugar, the model opened up about her struggles, dreams, and accomplishments, pointing out that landing a spot in the swimsuit magazine is a game-changer not only for her career, but for also women of color. Women of diverse backgrounds are now beginning to see their body types and skin colors represented in the fashion and beauty industry, according to Pomee.
During her shoot in the sunny Bahamas, she learned that she would be posing in a string bikini bottom — something which made her a little nervous, as she admitted.
“As a plus-size woman, if you’ve got a little belly and you’ve got love handles, you know that’s not the most flattering bikini bottom to have on. I need a little support, a little coverage, some Spanx built into the bikini bottom,” she jokingly told interviewers with PopSugar.