Yumi Nu becomes the first Asian plus-size model to grace Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover

Yumi Nu becomes the first Asian plus-size model to grace Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover
Ryan General
May 17, 2022
After debuting in the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit last year, plus-sized model and singer Yumi Nu is now on the cover of this year’s issue. 
Nu, who is of Dutch and Japanese descent, joined Kim Kardashian, Maye Musk and Ciara as cover stars for the new issue that hits newsstands on May 19.
In her cover photo, which was shot in Montenegro by James Macari, Nu wears a black cutout one-piece swimsuit by Michael Costello x Revolve.
Throughout the rest of her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo shoot, Nu models swimwear, robes and jewelry by brands such as Ola Vida, Monday Swimwear, Matte Collection and Nookie Beach.
Nu’s cover story, titled “Yumi Nu’s Year of Visibility,” touches on the evolving perceptions in the fashion industry and what still needs improvement.
“Even here in the U.S., where a lot of the fashion industry has become more inclusive toward people with bodies like mine in the last few years, some people — for example, designers at certain high-fashion houses and dumb, angry guys on the internet, among others — just haven’t quite figured out yet that people who look like me belong,” she told the publication.
MJ Day, the editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, commented on Nu’s potential, saying, “In her first year of being in the spotlight, Yumi is coming into who she is and taking on the responsibility of what she stands for.”
“In this issue, we encourage readers to see these models as we see them: multifaceted, multitalented — and sexy while they’re at it,” Day added. “The world may label them one way, but we want to focus our lens on all the ways they see themselves and how they own who they are.”
After becoming the first-ever Asian plus-size model to be featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit last year, Nu graced the cover of Vogue’s September 2021 issue and also became the first Asian curve model on a Vogue Japan cover last month. Her cover on this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit makes her the first Asian plus-size model to front the annual issue.
The 25-year-old rising star, who is the granddaughter of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki and the niece of DJ Steve Aoki, has also jump-started a music career and modeled for brands such as Jacquemus, Victoria’s Secret and Anna Sui.
Featured Image via Sports Illustrated Swimsuit
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