A Sports Illustrated model has been hailed an inspiration after appearing on the catwalk while breastfeeding her five-month-old baby.
In a step to normalise breastfeeding and stop the stigma surrounding motherhood, Mara Martin walked down the runway with her five-month-old daughter, Aria, during the Sports Illustrated Swim Search show in Miami.
Wearing a gold bikini and showing off her incredible post-baby body, the 30-year-old model strutted her stuff down the Sports Illustrated swimwear catwalk, after landing a spot in the top 16 of an open casting run by the magazine for Miami Swim Week.
Mara was joined by other incredible models, including two-time Paralympic gold medallist, Brenna Huckby, who wore a prosthetic leg.
Taking to Instagram after the show, Mara said: “Wow! WHAT A NIGHT! Words can’t even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit. Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine.
Wow! WHAT A NIGHT! Words can’t even describe how amazing I feel after being picked to walk the runway for @si_swimsuit. Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a life long dream of mine. I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see. One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country (sorry i don’t know your IG handle 🤦🏽♀️), one woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!! Just thinking about all that was represented there… I desperately need to give the most thanks to @mj_day for this. She supported me in what I did last night. Without her support this wouldn’t even be discussed!!!! She and the entire Sports Illustrated family are the most amazing and incredible team to have worked with. THANK YOU for letting all 16 of us be our true selves, strong beautiful women!!! Because of you, my daughter is going to grow up in a better world, where she will always feel this way!!!!!! Lastly, to every single woman that rocked that runway with me. Be proud. I know I am of you! You all have inspired me in ways unimaginable. I love you all!!! #siswimsearch
In a statement, Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor MJ Day said the decision to send Mara down the catwalk with her baby feeding had been “spontaneous”.
She said: “I saw that Mara’s baby was sleeping and peacefully nursing. I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse.
“She said ‘Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?’, and I said ‘Absolutely!’
“I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are.
“For me, I nursed two babies myself, so I find it to be one of the most powerful things the female body can do. It was the easiest decision I have had to make in months.”