I began to see her as the Kevin Bacon of the swimsuit issue. If you look at who she’s posed with, and who those girls have posed with, you create a web that encompasses a not-insignificant percentage of SI models.
Let me try something. I’m going to go to Wikipedia and click the “random article” button. We’ll see if I can link that topic to Ashley somehow.
. . .
Okay, I came up with Dara Torres. You remember her, the Olympic swimmer who showed grace in competition when she delayed a race so a fellow swimmer had time to address some swimsuit problems?
But how to link her to Ashley? Hmm, I may have bit off more than I can—
Wait! Dara was in the swimsuit issue, back in 1994! Here she is, flanked by Kathy Ireland and Elle Macpherson.
Of course, Elle and Kathy were on the cover of that issue, along with Rachel Hunter.
And that’s Rachel in the pink suit, way in the background, while Ashley jogs in her green suit in the foreground.
Here’s a probably poorly designed and possibly incomplete chart of Ashley’s influence. By my count, you can connect her to 40 other models.
If it’s true that the 50th anniversary issue will feature some veterans returning, who knows? This list may explode. If we could link Ashley to the Brazilian beauties from 2007, or to some combo of Jessica White/Julie Henderson/Brooklyn Decker/Chrissy Tiegen, her web will just get bigger.
Unfortunately, SI doesn’t do multiple-girl shoots much anymore. So connecting the models is a dying art.
In any case, if you assign an “Ashley Richardson Number” to each model based on her distance from Ashley, you come up with the following:
Ashley Richardson Number: 0
Ashley Richardson Number: 1
Maria von Hartz
Ashley Richardson Number: 2
Ashley Richardson Number: 3
Girl in the Pool with Christie (UPDATE: It's Maria João)
Ashley Richardson Number: 4
Thank you for bringing us all together, Ashley. You are a beacon to us all.