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Would You Wear This Bathing Suit Made for Moms?

Photograph by Instagram

When you hear the phrase "bathing suit for moms," you probably picture a super-shirred Miraclesuit or a skirted one-piece. Because mothers, it seems, are supposed to cover as much skin as possible, suck in any loose bits and generally fade into the background at the beach, appearing only to procure fruit snacks and cool beverages or reapply sunblock to waterlogged toddlers.

When a mom actually dares to don a two-piece, it goes viral. People can't seem to believe a woman would voluntarily reveal her post-pregnancy stretch marks. Obstetricians boast that their C-section scars are placed low enough to disappear under a pair of bikini bottoms, but many women are so emotionally scarred by their post-baby abdomen that they can't imagine wearing anything but a burkini.

What you probably don't picture when you hear the phrase "bathing suit for moms" is Nicki Minaj.

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And yet here Nicki (I call her Nicki) is, in the July issue of Cosmopolitan, looking patriotically flirty in a bikini sold by a company dedicated to helping moms "discretely cover abdominal imperfections."

The "Anaconda" singer's red-white-and-blukini was designed by Altrichia Lekay, the CEO of Allusions by A. Lekay Swimwear. She designs boldly colored, brightly patterned high-waisted bikinis that aim to hide scars, stretch marks and bulges while letting moms (and rappers, it seems) feel fashionable and fierce. Her current line features four styles, including Fantasy ("an edgy retro-patterned zip top" with a double vertical zip bottom) and Mirage (a bandeau-style top and a high-waisted bottom with lots of skin showing through on the sides). They cost about $100, and though they come in XS, S, M, L and maternity. They've clearly busted out of the pre/postpartum market and into the mainstream.

Lekay, who was her high school's class president, varsity cheer captain and homecoming queen, discovered she was pregnant just before graduation. She raised her son Anthony while attending Florida State University and graduate school after that. One day, while packing for a San Juan vacation with her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters, she felt that none of her bathing suits—even the high-waisted ones—adequately covered her "abdominal imperfections" (her words).

"There were high-waist suits a lot of different places, but for me, they just weren't high enough," she told People. So she designed her own, collaborating with a tailor to turn it into reality. When Lekay posted a pic to Instagram, people went cray.

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Motherhood or not, Lekay's goal is to help women feel confident and body-proud when their feet hit the sand. "I've gotten testimonials from women who haven't worn a swimsuit in over a decade or two decades, so to me that is rewarding within itself," she told People. "We want to empower women to live life fiercely and fearlessly, and that simply means that whatever it is in life that you want, you go for it."

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