Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to feature 56-year-old, 5-3 model

Kathy Jacobs says it’s important not to discount people because of their age or height.

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Model Kathy Jacobs poses for a portrait at her home in Calabasas, Calif. on Friday, July 17, 2020. Jacobs has made her Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue debut at age 56. The 2020 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is online and on newsstands Tuesday.

Chris Pizzello/AP

Kathy Jacobs says it’s important not to discount people because of their age or height. She should know — the petite 56-year-old is a brand new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model.

Jacobs, from Calabasas, California, and who stands 5-foot-3-inches, hopes her appearance in the issue will help change readers’ views of beauty.

“I’m just like so grateful that they took like a chance on me,” says Jacobs. ”Two things you can’t change about yourself are how old you are and how tall you are.”

The 2020 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is online and on newsstands Tuesday. The cover features a trio of models — Olivia Culpo, Jasmine Sanders and Kate Bock, who also each have individual covers.

The original swimsuit issue ran in 1964. It has been a launching pad for models such as Kathy Ireland, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson, Kate Upton and Ashley Graham.

Over the years the issue has tried to stay fresh, with painted bikinis, plus-sized models, unedited photos, tiny swimsuits, amputee models, older models and the addition of professional athletes and celebrities in relationships.

“That’s the great thing about Sports Illustrated is they just keep reinventing themselves and they keep reinventing what is your view of beauty,” says Jacobs. “And they keep showing people that there’s more than one kind of beauty out there.”

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