Roberto Aguilar for SLiNK

"When you get to 56 you don't know how long you have got left in the world, and this is how you look so embrace it," says Nicola Griffin

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April 06, 2016 09:15 AM

At 56, Nicola Griffin became the oldest woman to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with her sexy swimsuit ad – but Griffin says she had no idea the photo would create such a stir.

“I didn’t know the advert would go into Sports Illustrated, and I didn’t realize Sports Illustrated was such a massive magazine as we don’t have it here in the U.K., so it all happened so quickly,” she told Slink magazine’s Perelandra Beedles. “I kind of stumbled along with all the excitement, but I can’t say I knew or expected anything like that. I’m still in shock.”

Nicola Griffin
Roberto Aguilar for SLiNK

As a curvy model, Griffin hopes her presence in the magazine (along with cover star Ashley Graham) serves as a positive example for young girls.

“Young girls open magazines and it influences them so much about body image,” she said. “I particularly think it’s very good for them to see different sized women, because otherwise they can feel bad about themselves if they don’t look like the models they are constantly viewing.”

Griffin says she’s only heard positive feedback about the ad.

RELATED VIDEO: See Ashley Graham, Ronda Rousey and Hailey Clauson’s unprecedented ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit cover

“I haven’t heard any negativity whatsoever,” she told the magazine. “In fact, I’ve had some fantastic feedback from women saying they finally feel they have a model that represents and inspires them. It’s been wonderful.”

While some women may shy away from showing skin as they age, the size-16 model has gotten more comfortable with her body as she’s gotten older.

“When you get to 56 you don’t know how long you have got left in the world, and this is how you look so embrace it,” she said. “I’ve been young, I’ve been worried, I’ve been under pressure, I’ve felt all those things, and I don’t want to feel them anymore so I just don’t. I’m determined to enjoy each day.”

Nicola Griffin
Roberto Aguilar for SLiNK

Griffin became a model later in life after booking a shampoo advertisement thanks to her beautiful gray hair, and feels she is now at her prime.

“This seems to be my moment and I’m really happy,” she said. “Life definitely begins over 50!”

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