Cheryl Tiegs has apologized to Ashley Graham — and divulged a bit of personal information in the process.
In an open letter to Graham published by Huffington Post, Tiegs, 68, insisted that the media misinterpreted her, resulting in a “manufactured media feud.”
Former Sports Illustrated cover model Tiegs was quoted as saying, “I don’t like that we’re talking about full-figured women because it’s glamorizing them, and your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches].” Many interpreted this as a dig at plus-size model Ashley Graham, who graces one of three covers for this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
In Friday’s letter, Tiegs said that she was responding to a generic question, not about Graham, and that her response was “based on health concerns because of our nation’s increasing problems with weight linked to diabetes, heart issues and cancer.
“At no time was I thinking of a specific person,” Tiegs added.
“I was not equating beauty to weight or size, but unfortunately that is what the media reported in headlines. I was trying to express my concern over media images and the lack of education in America about healthy choices, thus the reference to the 35-inch waist as a guideline to health,” the model continued, adding, “And by the way, my waist is 37 inches.”
Tiegs added, “Please accept my deepest apology if you were offended or in any way think I was referring to you.”
On Thursday, Graham responded to Tiegs’ comments, saying that she “rolled her eyes” at them.
“Cheryl Tiegs may have said what she said and it may have hurt a lot of people’s feelings, but my skin is so thick,” Graham told E! News. “I kind of rolled my eyes, I was like, ‘Oh whatever, another one of these ladies.’ But what’s great is that-the fact that she said it-it means that other women think like her. And what that means is that we really need to change the industry.”