Kelly Crump Opens Up About Showing Her Mastectomy Scar on the Cover of Sports Illustrated

The model and cancer survivor marked a first for the legacy magazine's swimsuit feature.

Sports Illustrated has made great strides in an effort to showcase more diversity and inclusion in its publication, especially when it comes to its Swimsuit Edition. The cover of this year’s issue, which was released back in May, features Kelly Crump, a model and body positivity influencer who is making history as the first woman with a visible mastectomy scar to pose for the legacy magazine’s swimsuit feature.

“I could show others who are dealing with/living with cancer that you can still go after your dreams, and you can work on getting YOU back after treatment(s),” she proudly declared in an interview for Sports Illustrated (SI). 

“It would help others to not feel ashamed of their scars and reconstructions, that you can still be sexy if you want,” she adds. Crump is a 42-year-old survivor of stage IV breast cancer—and her message of positivity is resonating with fans this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It’s a huge step in the right direction for female representation in the athletic world. SI’s Swimsuit Edition has formerly been criticized for hyper-sexualizing women’s bodies, often joked about as a source of soft-pornographic inspiration for teenage boys and men for decades.

The magazine chose Crump to be their cover model in an effort to combat beauty stereotypes. Crump is showcased in a zig-zaggy electric blue-and-green one-piece, with one breast covered, the other breast fully revealing her scar.

According to SI, Crump is “creating a new narrative for breast cancer survivors everywhere, turning survivors into thrivers.” 

Despite her strength and wisdom, Crump still felt anxious about being part of the shoot, especially when she realized the scar photo would be used as the cover image.

“‘The first thing I said was ‘F*&k,” she revealed, in an interview for InStyle. “They used that photo.’” 

Still, she knows the impact her image will have on communities everywhere — for survivors, for those battling body positivity issues, and more.

“It’s not just about cancer,” she adds. “It’s about how we navigate different traumas, and how we can be real about it.”

The photoshoot took place on the beaches of the Dominican Republic and was shot by Yu Tsai, a photographer of color and member of the LGBTQ+ community. Other models include Manju, a physicist, actor, and philanthropist of Indian descent, and Sarafina El-Badry Nance, an analog astronaut and BRCA2+ breast cancer previvor.

Katka Lapelosova
Kat is a born and raised New Yorker exploring the world as she writes, eats, and everything in between. Read more
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