Once again, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has blown me away with an incredible, empowering event in Miami.
I had the opportunity to meet and hear some of the most influential women in the modeling industry. Furthermore, Sports Illustrated hosted their model casting for the SI Swim Search. They have an annual open call in July, where thousands of women around the world come to Miami to have a chance to be on this iconic magazine.
This event was in celebration of the Summer 2019 issue, which had three covers, including the legendary Tyra Banks! I had the opportunity to see her from 300 feet while I was in line for the casting, but I found it amazing that they brought her as a panelist.
I was unable to attend the first day’s event, but I came early on Saturday to watch the first panel. This panel was made up of the staff and editors of Sports Illustrated Swim, as they discussed what they were doing to grow the franchise. What was once a male-targeted magazine is now a brand throughout multiple platforms online, in print, and beyond.
As this issue had shoots from all seven continents, there were also photo-opp areas inspired by those locations and walls adorned with iconic SI Swim covers. There was also a garden for VIP to meet with the models and attendees.
There were so many beautiful women, I was not sure who was a model and who was an attendee. The line for the casting was extremely long, but they also had a line to meet and greet the models. I was THRILLED to meet Halima Aden and Winnie Harlow. I absolutely love Halima and everything she does. Beyond changing the game as the first woman to wear a hijab and burkini on Sports Illustrated and Miss Minnesota USA, she is a UNICEF ambassador for refugees as she was one before.
The second panel focused on diversity and also featured Winnie and Halima. I love seeing how Sports Illustrated is used as a platform to celebrate all types of women, regardless of their height, age, weight, and background. I was so honored after their discussion I was able to ask what was the biggest obstacle they had to overcome as they continued to break barriers. Winnie Harlow said it best as it was not about being confined to a box that people will put you in, as “a model with vitiligo” but we need to get to the point that you could just be “a model.”
Throughout the day I was also able to reunite with my pageant sister Ramina. The last panel we went to had Olivia Culpo and Camille Kostek. They discussed their experience with their photoshoot in Australia.
It was such a great experience overall and I am looking forward to next year’s event! I made wonderful friends, met some of my biggest inspirations, and empowered to be support such an amazing brand!