Forget plus size models. Female athletes, according to a story today in the New York Times, are pushing the boundaries of what the public perceives as ‘classic beauty.’ Guy Trebay pegs his argument on a long roster of muscular, yet cosmetic endorsement-ready sports stars–from Maria Sharapova and Mia Hamm to the Williams sisters. But a new face, that of women’s basketball player Brittney Griner, is apparently giving the cause even more steam. “She is part of a slowly unfolding civilized response in the country to the slightly androgynous female,” a scholar tells the paper. “I can imagine a market for that,” Paul Rowland–a revered scout at the modeling agency, Women–adds of his potentially signing a gender-bending, yet conventionally “good-looking” female athlete such as Griner.
Male sports stars are likewise having a moment; at least when it comes to mugging as the faces of fragrances and fashion brands. “No matter what phrase one uses, men’s wear companies are playing a new game as they increasingly look to complex sports partnerships to drive sales and build brands,” says Women’s Wear Daily. From Christiano Rinaldo disrobing for Armani, to Joseph Abboud collaborating with the New York Giants, there is no shortage of non-sport men’s brands enlisting athletes as mannequins to boost allegiance with regard to potential consumers.
After all, “a study from Brand Affinity Technologies last year found that online ads featuring athletes increased brand awareness 180 percent compared with those with no athletes,” WWD adds. Although, the findings aren’t all that surprising. Ask any straight male to name three top male models and it’s doubtful they’ll have any success doing so. Ask them to name three top sports stars, on the other hand? No brainer.