The Yumi Nu Sports Illustrated Cover Achieved Its Goal Of Firing Up Social Media

Videos by OutKick

All it takes is one look at Google Trends to see that Woke Illustrated’s inclusion of Asian curve model Yumi Nu on one of its four covers was exactly the viral moment that a magazine in a crowded content world was seeking.

By early Wednesday morning, Yumi Nu hit a value of 100 on Google Trends, which means the plus-sized model was one of the most searched names on Google. In layman’s terms, Yumi had gone viral and that’s exactly what Woke Illustrated was hoping for when it editor-in-chief MJ Day chose Nu, along with Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk’s mom and Ciara, as cover models.

The road map here is simple: Kardashian brings in her massive audience, Maye Musk covers the woke white woman YASSSSS Queen market, Ciara is viewed as a safe crossover figure between white and black America with a twist on sports because of her husband Russell Wilson and then Nu brings the headline buzz.

Yumi Nu attends the Yumi Nu 2022 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Reveal on May 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SI Swimsuit )

It’s not like Nu was some rising star who was transforming the swimsuit modeling game before this week. Even with her Instagram surge this week, she still has just 122k followers on the social media app where women go to show their support for their favorite supermodels.

Puppies of Instagram has 700k-plus followers.

Yumi might’ve been honored with the cover, but she was just the body used to gain viral traction. Woke Illustrated can spin it any which way they want, but that was the goal. She’s a pawn.

Yumi Nu and Editor In Chief at Sports Illustrated Swimsuit MJ Day attend the Yumi Nu 2022 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Reveal on May 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SI Swimsuit)
This is what success looks like for Sports Illustrated’s decision to include Asian plus-sized model Yumi Nu on one of its 2022 covers / Google Trends

Tuesday, author Jordan Peterson stuck his toes into the quicksand cancel culture trap set by SI Swim’s team when he tweeted “Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that,” Peterson wrote about the Nu cover.

And then the wokes went on the attack to the point where Peterson quit Twitter. The wokes had their target and they pounced: F–k the body shamers!

Example: So many big words from checkmark Seth Abramson:

Day’s YASSSSSSS QUEEN, WE SUPPORT YOU GIRL! plan worked to perfection. It’s the same plan SI used when, in 2021, it featured a trans model on one of its covers. Fire up the base, piss off the other side of the aisle and create as much buzz as possible.

But is it turning into dollars?

In 2020, Authentic Brands Group, which purchased SI for $110 million in 2019, announced it had more than doubled its earnings due to licensing deals. It’s unclear how much of those earnings were via the swimsuit magazine department, but let’s keep in mind the SI swimsuit issue is still being published.

Yumi Nu attends the Yumi Nu 2022 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Reveal. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SI Swimsuit)

SI has its blueprint and now it’s just about finding women to fill those roles which brings up a few questions:

  1. Would SI put a plus-sized cop swimsuit model on the cover?
  2. Would SI put a plus-sized military member swimsuit model on its cover?
  3. Which frontier is still left out there for SI to find for one of its covers?

And while I’m at it, the YAAASSSSSS QUEEN crowd should go over to SI’s women’s apparel department to see how many plus-sized Asian models they feature on that page.

I’ll answer it for you: zero.

SI sure has a weird way of showing it cares about the big girls out there.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


Leave a Reply
  1. Not into body shaming, but do we want to glamorize being out of shape and overweight? How many overweight 80 or 90 year old’s do you know? Not many I’m guessing, they’re more than likely deceased.

  2. Cancelled SI in 2019 and havent missed it…. Swimsuit Issue hasn’t been good since Jeter’s wife Hannah was on the cover….. I’m shocked they didn’t have her wear a mask for this photo.

Leave a Reply