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May 16, 2023 38 mins

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model? Just the latest barrier for the maverick Martha Stewart to break. If you’re curious why on earth Martha would want to pose for the iconic issue, listen to her interview SI Swimsuit Editor in Chief MJ Day in this latest podcast. You’ll hear MJ, who has led the iconic Swimsuit Issue for 26 years, reveal the photos to Martha for the first time, and learn why she was so determined to put Martha on the 2023 cover. MJ talks about evolving the publication and changing the conversation around body perception. Martha and MJ take you behind the scenes of their epic tropical photo shoot, and all of the Pilates, prep, and prodding that lead to a Sports Illustrated bathing suit cover!

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
You are the perfect example of a woman that has
constantly reinvented herself as someone who has consistently one upped herself.
You don't allow anything to stop you, You don't allow
anything to tell you no. And I respect and admire
that so much about you, and I want other people
to see that. I want other women to see that
in themselves. I'm very excited today to introduce our guests

(00:29):
and Jay Jay because each year the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit
Issue is a must have for many of us who
appreciate the beautiful, talented, and inspirational women who grace the
pages and are looking for the most unique and fashionable swimwear.
And this year, Sports Illustrated, for some unknown reason, asked

(00:52):
me Martha Stewart to be one of the cover girls.
And I am extremely flattered and extremely excited, and we'll
talk about all of the preparation I had to go
through to get into those nine different bathing suits. But
first published in nineteen sixty four to fill an editorial
void in early winter, the issue has become a cultural phenomenon. MJ.

(01:17):
Day is the editor in chief of this iconic publication
and works tirelessly to keep his readers intrigued, MJ joins
me here at Samsung eight three seven on my podcast
to talk about her road to Sports Illustrated, what it
takes to make the Swimsuit Issue, and who is on
the current cover. Welcome to my podcast, MJ. After spending

(01:41):
two very hectic days with you in the Dominican Republic
and having time to recover a little bit, I did
actually recover, I think from that ruralwind job, and I
hope you've recovered. But you've been doing twenty some models.
How many pages actually is the Swimsuit Issue? I think
it's about one hundred and forty yeah, and then how

(02:03):
many different bathing suits? Oh my goodness, hundreds, hundreds, yeah, hundreds,
if not close to a thousand, oh yeah, and all
different from last year. Nothing's that, nothing is the same.
It is a high fashion issue and the model some
some repeats, but many many new faces that are familiar
but gorgeous, including you, Martha Is, including me. Well, let's see,

(02:28):
let's give one picture of me in a bathing suits.
Let's show, let's get everybody. These are cold frames, these
TVs that you can program with your own photographs. You
can program them with fine art spectacular. I know they're fantastic.
I need this in my life and high gorgeous. Oh
I love that photograph. Look at your legs. Those are

(02:50):
pilate legs right there they are. That is I mean,
everything is working, like that hair, that makeup that environment.
That screams sexy Martha Stewart to me at that smile,
look at that fit. Oh that was a beautiful house too,
with that greenery and the weight and the very tropical interior.
It was an amazing place. And Ruben Afanador, who first

(03:13):
photographed me in the early nineteen nineties from my own magazine,
but not in swimsuits, took all these beautiful photographs and
he was so fun to work with. Would you have
another one to show? Absolutely? Oh my gosh, this one
sexy red Marilyn Monroe ish kind of pose in front

(03:34):
of that beautiful stone wall. That was that was pretty.
How beautiful are you here? You are that Normacmali? That
is yes. Oh she's a friend and I've been wearing
her bathing suits for many, many years. Those those fabulous
sunglasses and that fabulous body glove suit. How fantastic. See

(03:56):
that's more the kind of suit I wear, right, and
sometimes it comes all the way up to my neck
and down to my wrists. I love this one. I
feel like that photo is going to like it's just
iconic body glove. But this say is everything about you
to me. You're like chic, you're modern, you're carefree, you're exuberant,

(04:17):
you're just like all the things. Look at that water,
I am like looking at you and the water, and
they were pouring water over my head, making me soaking wed.
I was dunking constantly for that photograph, and the photographer
was in the water with his cameras up to his chest,
as were the technicians. Everybody didn't were you in the Yes,

(04:39):
we were. We baptized you. That's when you got your
official baptism into sports. Illustrated swets you right there, that's
what you call it. Well, you study political science. How
in the world did you go from political science to
the media business, in the publication business. Well I did.
I was a polysi major. I was actually almost a
double major m with English. And my mother told me

(05:02):
you're never going to get a job as an English major,
so you better, you know, you better do something that's
you know, more marketable, And so I graduated from Mary
Washington College as a polysym major and with a almost
double major in English. But I had always been a
creative at heart. And which was the first magazine you
worked for? In Style? In Style Magazine. I was hired

(05:22):
right out of college as an intern at in Style,
and that was an exciting magazine. That was a time
inc magazine which dealt primarily with fashion and beauty and
the most gorgeous models and action. It was. It's a
very action pack magazine. Yes it is. It was. It
was such a great time to work there. It was
when it had just started. It just spun up from
people actually, and so they were sort of like a

(05:45):
fledgling standalone at that point. And so I got in
on the very ground level and it was really really
great learning experience too. And did you write to or
just while I was actually a marketing I believe that. Yeah.
So I was hired as a marketing assistant and always
wanted to get into editorial. But that's a tough nut
to crack, you know, without any kind of like connections,

(06:05):
which I had none at the time. So I maneuvered
my way, you know, into the editorial side. Because Sports
Illustrated is also a Timing or was a Timing brand, Yes,
And so I was able to kind of troll the
job postings internally. So while I was an in style
you know, as an intern, I found this post where
you drawn to the Sports Illustrated franchise right away? Or

(06:28):
are you a sports person? No, not a sports person
at all. But I did love to travel and I
did want to travel, and the job posting said that
you had to be willing to travel extensively. And when
I saw that, I was like, well, let me check
this out and see what it has to offer. And
then I didn't even know it was for the swimsuit issue.
Oh and it was. It's a year round job for

(06:50):
one issue. Yes, a year round job. It takes an
entire year to create this extraordinary franchise, extraordinary issue which
probably made a lot of money for Sports Illustrated. Yeah,
it's done well over the years, for sure. It definitely
is like a marquee property. You know, you think it
was like the biggest grossing magazine of the year for

(07:12):
Sports Illustrated. I would guess so. But you followed in
the footsteps of some legendary editors. Julie Campbell, who was
the kind of the mother of Sports Illustrated swimsuit. She
created the look, she ushered in the era of the supermodel.
And how important was she to you? Oh, Julia is

(07:32):
such an inspiration to me. She actually recently passed away
this year, but I've had a relationship with her really
ever since I started. She's very motherly to not just
the models that were part of the brand, but also
the women that worked there. It was her baby. She
created this and really labored with it and so really
looked after the people. Then that sort of shepherded it

(07:54):
after her. Would you say the issues have changed drastically
since Julie Campbell. I wouldn't say drastically. It's grown exponentially,
for sure. When Julia was there, it was it was
an insert in the regular Sports Illustrated weekly, and then
it became a standalone while she was there, in a
calendar and a television show, all of which it still
is now. And then the platforms, the different digital platforms

(08:15):
evolved out of that in social media and events, and
you know, there's so many things now that exist differently
than you know when it first started. But I think
it's like the natural evolution of growth of the brand.
So the magazine is still a paper magazine, yes, But
is the readership bigger online or in the printed issue? Oh? Online,

(08:36):
for sure, it reaches billions of people globally. You know,
there's actually quite a bit of content, additional content on
our digital platforms as well. So so how many of
the printed issue will you be doing of this swimsuit?
People have asked for autograph copies? Oh, my family all
they all want to Not that I'm supposed to tell
anybody about it. Why you can trut friends and family.

(08:57):
Now that we're talking about it publicly on vodka, I'm
gonna need I'm gonna need a little box of these
to sign. Yeah, we're gonna have to order a few
I think million more with you on the cover, Martha,
I I he hadn't even begin to tell you how
excited I am for this. It's so exciting. How has
it involved You've done a lot of new things. I mean,
you had a transgender model on the cover last year,

(09:20):
You've had your I think was your issue one of
your issues that had the first black model on the cover.
Hira Banks was on a double. She was on a
double a cover on a double under Julie Campbell and
then under Elaine Farley was the standalone Tyra Banks issue.
That was a fabulous that was very important. She had
her TV show right in the same studio in twenty

(09:42):
sixth Street that I had. Oh yeah, she was amazing.
She's so incredible, what a superstar she is, and she m. Yeah,
So we've we've we've tried to really progress the brand
and help, you know, move women forward. What was the
most that was the most controversial issue so far? I
like to think about the conversations that come along with

(10:04):
these very important covers, and there was a lot of
conversation about the Ashley Graham cover when she first appeared,
because she was the first plus size model that had
appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and UM on
a lot of mainstream media publications as well. And she's
very forward about her plus size. Absolutely, she's she's an advocate. Yes,

(10:25):
she's an absolute advocate. She's very proud, you know, of
her body. She's very proud of what she represents. And
you know, she really wanted this, you know, to be
able to reach as many people as possible and talked
to speak to inclusivity, you know, which is really important.
So UM, that was a really big moment for the brand.
And I think Lena Bloom's cover was a very important

(10:47):
cover as well. She's a black transwoman that we featured
back in twenty twenty one. And you know, really like
so many of the covers are critical, I think, to
having different conversations about who we are as women. Well,
it's especially in a sports magazine to have the transgender

(11:07):
woman very unusual because many colleges are banning transgender women
from sports teams, and it opens up a huge conversation, yea,
because there are a lot of backlash on that one
or not. You know, it's funny because we reach so
many people. The issue is always dissected heavily, and you know,
there's going to be people that celebrate what we do,

(11:28):
and there's going to be people that pick it apart.
No matter who's on the cover, they're gonna pick me apart. Oh,
they're gonna love you, aren't that They're gonna I'm really
going to be the oldest person ever on the cover
of Sports, Yester, you are, and you never looked better
the oldest person. Can you believe that it's only eighty
one years old? For God's exactly, And that's what that's

(11:49):
That's the whole point. I think it's important. It's important
for I mean you to me, Martha. As you know,
I've already professed my undying love and adoration. I'm total
fangirl of you, and I say it loud and proud here.
But you know, you are the perfect example of a
woman that has constantly reinvented herself as someone who has

(12:09):
consistently one upped herself. You don't allow anything to stop you,
You don't allow anything to tell you no. And I
respect and admire that so much about you, and I
want other people to see that. I want other women
to see that in themselves. Oh, it was fun about
the whole episode of being asked. First of all was
would I do it? And I didn't hesitate for a second.

(12:30):
What I thought to myself was what do I have
to do to make sure I look good in those
bathing suits? I mean, you know, there's there's a little
flab here and a little wrinkle there, and you have
to make sure you take care of all that. I
had only two months, yeah, from the time you asked
me to the shoot day. The shoot day down in
the Dominican Republic, So I had to really get on

(12:53):
the on the exercise. I always exercise, but I really
went to pilates three or four times a week. I
ate a lot of salads and a lot of green
juice for two months, no drinks at all, no wine,
no drinks, nothing. Oh wow. Um. And I had you know,
I had my regular facials. I even got a spraychan,

(13:15):
which I never drew. Oh you did, I did. I
got a body wax. I waxed my whole body, Oh
my gosh. And then I got a spray chan about
a week before we went to the dominic and I
got a spray chan. But it worked, it did, It worked,
and I and I really didn't feel uncomfortable. Um that
whole day being you know, primped and prodded and paraded

(13:37):
and paraded, Oh my gosh. And I just hope nobody
was laughing saying, oh, look at her, she trying to
look like trust me, Martha. No one was laughing. We
were all in absolute just awe and love of you
because it was a hard day because we had nine
changes and change of venue several times during the day
in and out of the Oh that pool was, I see,

(14:00):
the only thing, the only thing when I look at
the pictures. I was only in one piece suits, so
I was a little I was a little sad about that.
But there's always next year, Okay, come back for bikinis
next year. I am not one and done with you.
I have to say, though, in defense of the one pieces,
I love a one piece. I actually find them more
visually interesting. Yeah. I was looking at photos of Giselle

(14:22):
in the current Vanity Fair magazine and oh she had
that Versacci bathing suit on with the hood and the
long sleeves and real zip down. I'm looking for that
bathing suit. Can you get me that bathing so yeah,
I will find that bathing It for a bad bathing suit.
Martha wants the VERSACEI we get Martha the Vssacci. Who

(14:49):
else has the great bodies? Oh my goodness. I mean,
you know, honestly, like I, it's so many different types
of bodies. But you know she's very You're going to
say no, but it's true. I mean you have like
oh McPherson and Heiti Clue, who were coined the body,
you know, and then you have somebody like kay Upton
who has you know, got like this incredible body you

(15:12):
have Ashley Graham, who's like this incredible curvy body. You know,
I just there's it really is. There's so many beautiful
body questions and the genders. I mean, yeah, like there's everybody.
It's everybody's so like wildly unique and special. It really is,
like and what really interests me is even with a
whole Mechu movement, Sports illustrated swimsuit issues continued right through

(15:37):
that whole time. Well, because you know how many women
look at this magazine A lot? Yeah, a lot. And
I thought that was great that you continued on, not
intimidated by oh women, women just can't show themselves like
that anymore. They can't do this, they can't do that.
Why not? Well exactly, why not? Because you're proud of
how you look, Martha, And that's why you're in this

(15:59):
magazine and you're rocking those swimsuits because you've worked hard
and you are so proud of your body, and you
also are, well, what I'm proud of is not not
so much. You know, it's not a show off kind
of proud. I've taken care of myself. I actually pay
attention to my good health. I think if you look good,
you're you feel good, and you and you also are good.

(16:20):
You're healthy, and it shows. It shows in the glistening skin,
in the in the pink cheeks and the you know,
the nice hair. Everything can't be like that unless you've
worked at it, at least in terms of diet and
exercise and seeing the right doctors, you know, making sure
that you're a healthy person, right, you take care of
the whole. Yeah, And this encourages people to do that.

(16:42):
And I hope that the one thing I hope that
comes out of this for me is that I am
encouraging other women who are are getting on, you know,
getting a little older, that they realize that, you know,
you start getting old the day you're born, exactly. But
you don't have to show it right, right, you know
you do, and you don't have to give into it
when I get comments about, oh, you know, she better

(17:05):
stopped using but I don't use botox except a little
bit in my neck. I hate botox except for here,
because it really helps, right right, And and when people say, oh,
she better stop with the botox and she better stop
going to the fillers, you know, you don't have to
do all of that either. If you're good, healthy and
might have good jeans too, so right, Yeah, the jeans

(17:25):
have beautiful jeans. That's Polish girls, Polish, Polish skin and
Polish good exactly so U. The SI issue has taken
the readers all over the world. How do you choose locations?
I was I was curious about that. Um, having been

(17:46):
to Madagascar in the summer, I wanted to go there,
and then I understood that you'd already been there. You
go on all the shoes, Yes, Lucky do what's your
favorite locale? I have a couple. I think an article
would be wine for sure. It was the most incredible
experience ever. Um, I love Turkey. I think Turkey is
one of the most beautiful countries on her Did you

(18:06):
go to Cepadocia? Did? I did it? Some stores so incredible?
What does that have to do with bathing suits? Beautiful?
Just let you know you're gonna be out in the desert.
Did you take the plunge? I didn't take the plunge?
I did? I went you did? I took the plunge?
You know what? That's my life's biggest regret, not taking
the plunge. Well, I was about a three second plunge.

(18:27):
They just jump off the boat and you come right
back out in a bathing suit in Antarctico with the
icebergs floating all around you. I think it's a beautiful place.
You want to know what's so sad? I'll give this
little tidbit to you. I didn't take that plunge because
I didn't want to wear a bathing suit in front
of the cameras because they were filming it. Oh, and
that was a really big disappointment I have in myself

(18:48):
and that experience I never got to have because I
was too self conscious. I'm gonna, I'm gonna I'm gonna
wear a bikini next time and film it and put
it on Instagram. I see that issue because I don't
remember that. I don't remember that the Antarctica shoot it was.
It was Kadoptin. She was on the cover and we
were down there for like a week shitting beautiful there. Everyone.

(19:09):
If anyone could ever have the opportunity to go, they
should go. It's really especial. So how important are the
exotic locations. I think they're very important. I do two.
I think they're very important, And you know it differs
year to year, but the location really adds an element
to the composition of the photos year. Besides the Dominican Republic,
where else did you go? We went to Puerto Rico,
We went to Dominica. What are the goals that you

(19:31):
have for every issue that you publish? I mean, for
me specifically, it's about empowering women, and it's about platforming
women and conversations that really kind of liberate how we've
been traditionally taught to think about ourselves. And I'm happiest
when I'm encouraging conversations to be had about how people

(19:52):
think of themselves and of others. As women, There's so
many things right that we are kind of railing against,
whether it be in career or personal or professional. You know,
there's just so many things that we contend with, and
appearance is one of them. And you know, I've heard
too many times from women that oh, i'm a certain age,
I can't do this, or I'm a certain size, or

(20:13):
I can't do this, or you know, I didn't do this,
so I can't do this, And for me, I find
that to be the most ridiculous thing to say, and
I hate, I hate it for women that they feel
that way, because you know, and you, for me, are
the perfect example of someone who's never allowed themselves to
be put in a lane or in a box, and

(20:33):
you continue to surprise us at every single corner and
every single path you take. And I want women to
see that in themselves and that as a possibility. My
dad that the advice came from my father. He was
a very handsome, lovely man, father of six well, and
I remember asking him. I'm saying, Dad, do you think
I can do it? He said, you can do anything

(20:56):
you choose if you put your mind to it. And
that's what he said. He didn't say, oh, your fabulous,
you're beautiful, he doesn't see he didn't say things like that.
He said, put your mind to it, and you can
do it. And that really helped me tremendously because I
developed a kind of a fearlessness and I think that
that's what women have to develop within themselves, a fearlessness

(21:18):
that that will take you to other places, try things,
do things, go to places you've never dreamed of going to.
And when people ask me my favorite place to go,
and I always answer, now, it's where I haven't been yet.
You know, I haven't been there yet. And because there's
so many more places to go, Yes, and I don't

(21:38):
want to I don't want to repeat, right, So I mean,
I just won't go to the same old South of
France every single year. There's so many other places to go,
right And is that to me that I love the
South of France by the way, She's like, just kidding, no,
but it's true. It's like that. That is one of
the most I think limiting, you know, behaviors that we exhibit.

(22:00):
It is saying that, you know, oh, I'm comfortable, I'm
just going to continue to do the same thing when
you know, yes, it's a little risky, it's a little uncomfortable,
but then you push yourself and you get to a
place that you never ever ever thought you could end
up being, Like on the cover of Sports Illustrated spot Suit.
And I told my daughter Alexis, who's you know, pretty critical?
She said, cool? No, I love it, Yes, so lovely.

(22:24):
She didn't say mother, what what the hell? She just
said cool. She was so great. It's so true though,
because I sound like a broken record, but I really
want to hit a home for women that are listening
out there, is that that we are our own biggest limitations,
you know, and your dad's advice was spot on. It
was and it's supplicable anywhere, to anything, to anyone, you know,

(22:47):
and you're living proof of that. And my advice to
everybody out there is that that evolution of yourself is
most important. You have to evolve. I always say when
you're through changing through, but it's also about you. When
you stop evolving, when you stop trying new things, that's
when you wouldn't have the nerve to pose for pictures

(23:09):
in the Sports Illustrated exactly. You know what you're going
to do for other women out there. You're going to
liberate a whole mindset by being PARTICI. So how have
the prerequisites for swimsuit models changed over the years or
have they? I mean I think they have. Back in
the day, you know, you used to really just cast
for appearance only, And now I mean I know how

(23:30):
I cast. I cast for the entire package. I cast
for the mind, I cast for the voice, I cast
for the goals, I cast for the achievements, you know,
and appearance is really tertiary to all of those things,
lots of things that you told me on the set.
It made me feel easier because you are You're very
gentle and kind on the set. Even when you're pushing

(23:52):
my super ankling. Oh god, man handling or woman handling.
I'm gonna guild you. Cans they've passaged Martha's boobs. I'm
guilding them. Choosing the covers, locked everything, and yeah, okay, yeah,
you are on a cover. I hope. Oh and Ruben.

(24:17):
Ruben came with quite quite a few. He had a
lot of ideas, which was great, yes, because we weren't
struggling to find situations and he took us to the
right location. Said he do a day of scouting or
a couple of days before. Absolutely, Ruben is one of
the most consummate professionals ever. He his his approach to
photography is so special and unique to him. I always

(24:39):
say he paints the picture in his mind before he
actually takes it, so no detail is left. And he
knew how, he knew where he wanted me to stand
against that stone wall and on a stairway going up
going Oh, he was above me and I was coming
up a stairway. He really has a visionary He imagines
it and then he executes it. It's incredible. How many

(25:00):
different photographers did you use this year or different photographers?
I had a couple of people. Do you know the
shots several shoots, Yeah, because they like to stick with
I really do have a very tight knit group of
photographers that I like to work with because they understand
the brand, they understand me, they understand what I'm looking
to get out of people. And it's those like those

(25:21):
trusted colleagues. How many years have you been doing the
issue now? Twenty six? Yeah, twenty six years creating one
of the most fabulous, fabulous magazine issues ever. I mean
that is it's an incredible and such diversity and such
originality and such and you want to look at every picture,

(25:42):
you turn the page, you look, you turn the page,
you look, you study. Are all issues online now? Yes?
Everything is also online, imprint and online, so you actually
get quite a bit more online like that, which is
very exciting. So for more at over to a side art.
And not only do we not only do we spend
a day taking photographs, we spend a day the next

(26:04):
day doing a video. And I liked the video very much.
It was very well edited. Yeah, And the research that
you did into the pictures, family pictures, professional pictures, it
was it was very cleverly done. I liked it. I
loved watching it. I loved learning all about your chickens. Yeah,
I had no idea. I knew you had so many chickens,

(26:24):
but I didn't know how many variations. Did you see
them on the Today Show? No? Oh, I had my
silkies On the Today Show we were doing a segment
on chicks and hens. The succulents suffred Vams, and they
wanted me to bring my chicks also, so I had
a lot of baby chicks, their cutest chickens. I got
so much mail because of those chickens. Are you working

(26:53):
already on next year's issue? Yeah, we already are starting
the process. It's our big sixtieth next year, sixtieth. Oh,
I wish I had waited. So then, No, you're coming
back for that bikini shot. Come on, you're alumni. You'll
take a snapshot at the end of at the end
of my workout. How many more months I had to
do pilates? You're you're an addict now, though, Come on,
I know I am. I have the best trainer, Janie,

(27:17):
she is so great, and I go, but I go
at a quarter after six in the morning. Well, you
don't sleep, I religiously go. I have not missed a session.
She's she's incredible. She's there and you know, if somebody's
there waiting for you in the studio, she got up
to train me. I'm gonna go there. Let me tell
you it's working. Yeah. It gives you a very nice

(27:38):
straight back, strong shoulders, very nice legs, and the horseback
riding doesn't hurt. Right. Oh that core? Yeah, right, that's
really good too. You need to you need to do
the Martha Stewart workout. That needs to be the next
Oh god, come on. But so you've decided to only
partner with advertisers who move the needle forward and these issues. Yes,

(28:04):
what does that mean? So we started an initiative last
year called pay with Change, and essentially we're putting our
money where our out there, and we're asking our advertisers
to do the same. And so we will not accept
advertising from a brand that does not have an initiative
to move women forward, whether it's in the public sector

(28:25):
or internally within their own organizations. And yeah, it's it is.
It's really good. And you know, it's been really interesting
because we found advertisers and partners like Mabelin have these
incredible initiatives that really don't get as much conversation around
them or notoriety as they deserve, and they're really doing

(28:45):
incredible things. And by creating this initiative, not only do
we encourage more brands to look inward in that capacity
and do things to empower women, but also we're able
to highlight and celebrate brands that are doing really impressive things.
So it's been a really fulfilling initiative for us, which
is great. So I'm anxious to see all the advertisers. Yeah,

(29:07):
and so moving the needle forward. That's a strong statement,
and you find that more and more companies are doing that. Yes,
I do. I think consumers really want to be associated
with brands that do good and they feel that their
money is not only you know, buying a product that
they want, but that money that they're spending is also

(29:28):
kind of reinvesting back into society. And I know, I
like to see my money spent that way and get
given an opportunity, I'm more inclined to do that, you know.
So I do. I see a lot of a lot
of participation that's very good. And the criticisms that the
swimsuit issue objectifies women, I mean, that's what it's supposed

(29:49):
to be doing right, I wouldn't say objectify. Well, it
depends on how you consume it, you know, I think
like I think for me, what I find is like
men and women look at pictures in this magazine and
on this website and across this brand, and you know,

(30:10):
it's it's our job to you know, re educate people
as how they're going to consume this. No woman is
ever done the swimsuit issue because they're like, I'm going
to do this for the boys. They're doing it for themselves.
They're doing it because they feel good, because they think
it's a great careerment, because they think there's you know,
there's definite benefits and platforming and they can get their
messaging out. But I would say to those critics, no,

(30:33):
like that, you're you're wrong, Like, think about this differently, Like,
think about the women that are participating for exactly how
you talked about why you were motivated to do it.
That is, most women when they come to this brand,
they want to be seen differently and they want to
be heard, and we give them a voice. In addition
to taking some really drop dead gorgeous photos of them.

(30:55):
In twenty nineteen, you featured a woman in a burkini. Unlast,
you're the first trends er model. So what was behind
these these decisions? Just inclusiveness or absolutely absolutely, like I
am really on a mission to broaden the conversation around
acceptance and beauty and inclusion. And women exist in many

(31:18):
different shapes and sizes and forms and levels of modesty.
And you know, just like we say, you don't have
to be modest to be respected, it's okay. Also if
you are modest and you still want to rock a swimsuit.
You know, working with Halima for the issue, you know,
she brought something very important to life, and that is
that many modest, like practicing huji wearing Muslims, are not

(31:41):
able to swim and they can get into very dangerous
situations because of that. So by like introducing a burkini
to people that are that do practice modest dressing, you're
not only giving them an opportunity to enjoy a part
of life that they've never had access to, but they're
also then able to learn how to swim and take
care and protect themselves and experience a whole different level

(32:02):
of confidence and you know, self preserverance that they wouldn't
have known about it if they didn't even know this
Borkini existed. You know, well, I have a family member
who has a special religious restrictions against going into the
water unless you're fully closed. Not to mention people with
any type of skin condition that can't take a lot

(32:22):
of light or have exposure. You know, there's lots of
reasons why. You know, more coverage and being aware of
more coverage options are important to know about. You know,
did you see the nude picture of the beautiful model
who has bit aligo? Yes, Whitny whitty she actually shot
for the issue. We've shot her, Yes, she's been in
the issue. Her beautiful skin is really like I look

(32:46):
at that, and she looks at her skin, and I
think she treasures it because it makes her unique. It
makes her the stunning version of herself. That she is
the stigma of discoloration like that could be so harm full, right,
and yet she has helped so many people. It's celebratory,
as it should be because it's she's a stunning, stunning,

(33:07):
stunning woman. What are you going to do for the
sixtieth anniversary? It's a big that's a that's a big question.
A lot of stuff hopefully you have to have sixty
people in it. Yeah. Absolutely, I think there's a lot
of cool things that we could do. There's a lot
of you know, stories to be told and things that
we can revisit and things that we can look forward to. Well,

(33:28):
the magazine business is kind of a mess right now.
It's a tricky one. I mean, Martha Stewart Living Magazine
shuttered after thirty two years as a publication. We still
have a vibrant website and lots of other things going on,
but people miss that printed issue so much, and I

(33:49):
would like to bring it back in special issues and things.
We're working on that now. But what do you foresee
for the magazine business. I mean, I think we're I
think we're kidding ourselves if we don't know to say
that it's definitely we're transitioning. This industry is definitely in
a state of transition into the digitized world. Absolutely absolutely.

(34:09):
But however, I do think there's something very special about
the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. I always, I always, I
cannot imagine a world where Sports Illustrated Swimsuit exists and
there isn't a print component to it. And you know,
we'll continue to evolve, just like we always have. But
whether it's a you know, do you know how many
how many printed issues was you sold in the best year,

(34:31):
oh Man, in the best year before the internet took over?
Probably well over a million. Yeah, And I remember, I
mean I remember printing one point two million copies of
our Christmas issue and selling out, and now a tiny,
tiny fraction of that is sold on newsstands. It is.
It is a shame, but we have to go with

(34:54):
what's happening. Evolved, right, that's right. Evolution terribly important. And
being able to use video cameras for pictures of a room.
You can go see the whole room now instead of
just one aspect of a room with a still photo.
So it's interesting. I'm glad you're doing video in concert
with the printed issue too. Yes, absolutely, it's so interesting. Interesting.

(35:18):
So has it changed your job a lot, this whole transition.
I mean, at the end of the day, we're creating content,
you know, and I think you know, we've always been
content creators. It's just thinking now in terms of how
many different types of content we're creating that has changed exponentially.
You know, it used to be just the static image
and now it's all different types. It's it's video as

(35:38):
you spoke to, it's social, it's event, it's you know,
there's so many different ways now we exist. But I
think it lends itself, you know, to what we've evolved
into as a brand, which is a place that really
platforms women that are beautiful, but far more compelling and
interesting and have something to say than you know, we're
doing a disservice by just showing you a picture. You know.

(36:00):
I have to tell you a funny little story. I
have a special relationship with the University of Michigan swim team,
the women's swim team. My Messur's daughter is one of
the stars of that team. So before a big meat
they call me. The whole team calls me with their coach,
and I give them some pep talking. Isn't that fun?

(36:23):
Oh my gosh, they're gonna flip out. They are. They're
going to be so happy. Martha, their their mentor is
in a bathing suit. So, now that you've worked for
twenty six years, what I hate to ask you you're
too young to ask what a legacy? But what do
you think your legacy will be in the creation of

(36:43):
these amazing issues. I mean, I really hope it like
the people look back at what we did here and say, wow,
they really they really helped change the world for the
better a little bit. My goal in life, whatever I do,
is just to leave it a little bit better than
I left it. And you know, given the access and
the position of power that really I sit in at

(37:05):
the helm of this that reaches so many people, like
I want to use that power for good. You have
two boys, no girls, No girls, and what do the
boys think of the girls? Oh? Well, you know, it's
so funny. I have a seventeen year old and he's
so shy. He really is so shy. I brought him
to a couple events with me, and he just like
he turns into the little clam. He really doesn't even

(37:27):
know what to do with himself. Like I really do
keep my life, my public life, and my personal life
very separate, so there isn't a lot of crossover, to
be honest. But I don't know what he really thinks
of what I do. I think he's kind of indifferent
to it. When he was little, though, every picture he
saw of a woman in a bathing suit, he'd be like,
there's mommy's friends. It didn't matter who they were. If
they were in a bathing suit, was Mommy's friends. Well, MJ,

(37:49):
thank you so much for sitting down with me and
for putting me on the cover of Sports Illustrated Some
Suite issue. I hope I can say thank you after
I hear what people say about No. I thank you.
The issue is on newsstands now and available digitally. You
can keep up with MJ by following her on Instagram.

(38:12):
Her handle is at MJ Underscore DA G A Y,
and the official Instagram handle for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit
issue is at SI Underscore Swimsuit. Thanks MJ, You're a
doll than nice to talk to you. Thank you, happy ess.

(38:32):
Thank you
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