Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, Mara Martin, is storming headlines this week as the poster-mom for breastfeeding in public.
Martin was one of just 16 finalists who won a spot at the Paraiso by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit show.
On Sunday, July 15th, the gorgeous mom from Monroe, MI strutted down the catwalk with ease and grace…and her hungry five-month-old daughter in tow!
The famous Swimsuit show was hosted in Miami for Swim Week at the W Hotel in Southbeach.
The finalist was so ecstatic for the opportunity, she posted a long and heartfelt thanks to the people who helped her reach her long-time goals.
“Im so so so thankful for the entire team at sports illustrated for picking me!”
She went on to thank the magazine editor and her team, as well as to give an encouraging shout out to all the women who showed up for the casting call, and her fellow competitors.
The happy contestant is a mother first, and was said to have her daughter Aria on her hip the entire time before it was her turn to walk…despite her hi-heels!!!
She was breastfeeding sweet little Aria when her time finally arrived.
Instead of interrupting her daughter’s meal and just passing her off to the next person who could watch her, Martin decided to step up to the Mom-plate.
She strode out onto the catwalk in a shimmering, one-shouldered gold bikini, with her baby on her breast and her head held high!
The spontaneous decision to bring breastfeeding to the catwalk immediately gained traction on social media, being praised as an “empowering” move on behalf of women everywhere.
Of course, there are internet trolls for every subject, and this story wasn’t immune to that reality.
Many people chimed in with their thoughts on the matter, some even calling her “disgusting” for the act of love, and others claiming Martin was just an “attention seeker”.
Let’s pay no mind the fact that these people don’t seem to have a problem with women in skimpy bikini’s when a baby is not in tote, and are therefore the very definition of hypocritical.
In response to all the unbridled hate that some people were throwing her way, the model couldn’t have shined brighter.
Ignoring her attackers, Martin posted many individual thanks to the people supporting her throughout her Instagram comments.
What really left internet haters with a shamed-face though, is when Mara’s best friend spoke up in her defense.
Armed with nothing but the real story of what happened backstage before the controversial moment, bestie Samantha shut down the negative Nancy’s with her response.
The proactive friend explained that while she’d planned to take the baby with her, the act of nursing came about as it normally does; a hungry baby.
Samantha didn’t stop there either.
Knowing she’d receive backlash from commentators, she was ready to respond.
So when another FB user tried to admonish her for defending Martin for breastfeeding in public, and tell her to find a sitter ahead of time, she instantly retorted with the perfect response.
In the video of her walk, Martin wasn’t met with any dismay or disgust from the audience who actually paid to see the show.
The entire strut down the catwalk was met by roaring cheers from a supportive crowd, more or less nullifying the arguments of those who were offended on behalf of viewers.
As you can see, the young supermom was just one of several “unconventional” models to appear at the show, including 2018’s Paralympic Gold Medal Champion, Brenna Huckaby, who rocked her swimsuit all the more for her prosthetic leg!
It seems the SI Swim Week team was trying to make a statement on several social stigmas, and judging from the attention that breastfeeding has gained, they are succeeding in the deliverance of that message.
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