On Sports Illustrated‘s latest Swimsuit issue, Danielle Herrington became the third black woman in the special issue’s history to grace the cover, following model Tyra Banks and singer Beyoncé. The iconic franchise also profiles a diverse group of models, including Brazilian showstoppers Lais Ribeiro and Anne de Paula, who sat down with PEOPLE CHICA to celebrate inclusivity.
“Sports Illustrated is making a difference,” de Paula said. “I’m so proud and grateful to be a part of [the diverse cast of models]….SI is a big part of [the change]. If everybody was the same, it’d be boring.”
De Paula, winner of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search competition, said she thinks the modeling profession is evolving: “The industry has been changing,” she said, “Now, curves are accepted. Brazilian girls have curves! It’s good to be able to do something as big as SI and be yourself. I don’t have to lose weight or try to be like anybody else.”
Victoria’s Secret Angel Lais Ribeiro, who is also featured in the 2018 edition, told PEOPLE CHICA: “The great thing about this [franchise] is that it’s not one type of person you’re going to see in the magazine. People see that diversity, especially women, and feel represented…There are different body types, hair, [and] skin tones. We’re from different countries and different cultures. It’s amazing.”
Ribeiro and de Paula aren’t the only ones thrilling at the opportunity to be on the pages of the publication: Cover star Herrington recently told PEOPLE, “I am so excited to be part of this iconic brand that has long given identity and voice to women of all shapes, colors, and beliefs. I hope that young girls who look at this cover are inspired to dream as big as I did and work hard to attain all their goals.”