Cheryl Tiegs Says She Never Meant to Call Out Ashley Graham and Reveals She Has a 37-Inch Waist

Cheryl Tiegs Pens Open Letter on Ashley Graham Controversy
Cheryl Tiegs, Ashley Graham
Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock; Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

03/04/2016 AT 09:20 AM EST

Cheryl Tiegs is continuing her apology tour after publicly speaking out against full-figured models.

In a new open letter, Tiegs blames the media for the firestorm that followed after her comments about Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model Ashley Graham. "I don't think it's healthy," she said. "Her face is beautiful, beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run."

Now Tiegs claims that she was making a more general statement, and not referring to Graham specifically: "This was a generic question, and I said that I did not love it. My answer 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," she writes in The Huffington Post.

"What has ensued is yet another 'manufactured media feud' that is needed to feed websites and empty air time," she writes.

"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. I did hear that on Dr. Oz, but it's also stated on websites such as The Center For Disease Control, Harvard University and The American Diabetes Association."

Then Tiegs admitted that she herself does not fit that guideline, "And by the way, my waist is 37 inches."

Tiegs concluded with another apology, "Please accept my deepest apology if you were offended or in any way think I was referring to you. I commend you on the positive influence you have on helping women to love themselves."

Ashley Graham dismissed Tiegs's initial comments, saying, "Oh whatever, another one of these ladies," but pointed out that she never received a personal apology from Tiegs.

"I've never personally heard from her. She said her comment about me, then never heard a follow up. People are saying she apologized. But I never heard one," Graham said.
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