Aly Raisman says posing for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue was ‘empowering’

The Needham native took part in the “What I Model” campaign as the issue hit newsstands—and the web—this week.

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As Aly Raisman made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue debut this week, she took part in the magazine’s “What I Model” campaign Thursday on Instagram.

“I model because it makes me feel happy, strong, feminine, and beautiful,” the six-time Olympic medalist says in the video, which filled in the blank, “I model ­_____.”

The magazine teamed up with the Instagram account @womenirl and Health.com for the campaign.

“I think it’s such an empowering feeling to be at a photo shoot and to know that your body’s not perfect, that you have insecurities just like everyone else,” Raisman, a 22-year-old Needham native, continued, “but you’re still having so much fun because you know you’re unique and beautiful in your own way.”

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“I also model because when I was younger I used to get made fun of by the boys in my class,” she said. “They told me that I was too strong, that I looked manly, and that I was anorexic and looked like I was on steroids. Of course, that really bothered me, and I used to hate the way that I looked, which, looking back, it makes me feel really sad. But that’s why I’m so proud to be in the SI Swim 2017 issue because at 22 years old I feel strong and beautiful in my own way and there is no perfect body type.”

Raisman discussed similar feelings in a behind-the-scences video of her photo shoot, which Sports Illustrated Swimsuit posted to YouTube Thursday.

Raisman, who previously posed for the ESPN the Magazine Body Issue, was joined by “Final Five” teammate Simone Biles this time around.