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Aly Raisman says modeling for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition makes her feel ‘proud’

02.17.17 at 9:19 am ET
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Aly Raisman took home two silver medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics as well. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Aly Raisman took home two silver medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics as well. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman made her debut in Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit edition this week. She says it was a liberating experience.

The Needham native participated in the magazine’s “What I Model” campaign, explaining in an Instagram video why she decided to take part in the annual modeling shoot.

“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,” she said. “But you’re still having so much fun because you know you’re unique and beautiful in your own way.”

Raisman, 22, also says it makes her feel proud of her body.

“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.”

The U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team took home the gold at last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Raisman’s teammate, Simone Biles, also posed for SI‘s Swimsuit issue this year.

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