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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue casts its first Asian curve model

Months ahead of its July launch, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is already revealing some of the models who will reveal in its pages — and on Thursday introduced the first-ever Asian curve model to pose for the magazine.

Yumi Nu, a Japanese-Dutch model/singer-songwriter, will make her Swimsuit Issue debut with the 2021 issue, and posed in a series of bikinis and one-piece suits for her glamorous photoshoot.

‘The fact that SI Swimsuit has the platform that they have and they choose to focus their power on inclusivity means so much to me,’ she told People this week.

‘Women of all ages, sizes and colors are represented, and it was one of the first big publications to do that. I can see their heart is authentic in making the world a more diverse place.’

Months ahead of its July launch, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue introduced the first-ever Asian curve model to pose for the magazine

Yumi Nu, a Japanese-Dutch model/singer-songwriter, will make her Swimsuit Issue debut with the 2021 issue

Yumi Nu, a Japanese-Dutch model/singer-songwriter, will make her Swimsuit Issue debut with the 2021 issue

Yumi Nu, a Japanese-Dutch model/singer-songwriter, will make her Swimsuit Issue debut with the 2021 issue 

'The fact that SI Swimsuit has the platform that they have and they choose to focus their power on inclusivity means so much to me,' she said

‘The fact that SI Swimsuit has the platform that they have and they choose to focus their power on inclusivity means so much to me,’ she said

In addition to singing and writing songs since she was 12, Yumi has 12 years of plus-size modeling experience

In addition to singing and writing songs since she was 12, Yumi has 12 years of plus-size modeling experience

She did her shoot for the magazine in Tampa, Florida in December, and said her favorite memory from the experience was a huge rainstorm that interrupted the shoot

She did her shoot for the magazine in Tampa, Florida in December, and said her favorite memory from the experience was a huge rainstorm that interrupted the shoot

In addition to singing and writing songs since she was 12, Yumi has 12 years of plus-size modeling experience and will Blueki, an ethically sourced plus-size clothing line, later this year.

She did her shoot for the magazine in Tampa, Florida in December, and said her favorite memory from the experience was a huge rainstorm that interrupted the shoot.  

‘After that, the sun came out and there was a new energy for the shoot and we captured some amazing shots. It was beautiful!’ 

Writing on Instagram, editor MJ Day praised Yumi’s body positivity, saying that she ‘possesses the most amount of confidence and appreciation for herself and body that we’ve seen’. 

‘She doesn’t hold herself to any traditional beauty standards and is gracefully unapologetic for seeing herself as a powerful, beautiful, sensual woman,’ she wrote. 

‘She shows up for women in a strong way and is on a mission to end the conversation around limiting women in the industry. Not only is she stunning, and an extraordinary model, but she radiates warmth and the kind of energy that we always want around. Yumi’s photos are some of my favorites and so is she!’

Editor MJ Day praised Yumi's body positivity, saying that she 'possesses the most amount of confidence and appreciation for herself and body that weu00BFve seen'

Editor MJ Day praised Yumi’s body positivity, saying that she ‘possesses the most amount of confidence and appreciation for herself and body that we’ve seen’

'She doesnu00BFt hold herself to any traditional beauty standards and is gracefully unapologetic for seeing herself as a powerful, beautiful, sensual woman,' she wrote

'Not only is she stunning, and an extraordinary model, but she radiates warmth and the kind of energy that we always want around,' she added

‘She doesn’t hold herself to any traditional beauty standards and is gracefully unapologetic for seeing herself as a powerful, beautiful, sensual woman,’ she wrote

In her interview with People, Yumi also spoke out about the rise in anti-Asian violence that she has spotlighted with her platform

In her interview with People, Yumi also spoke out about the rise in anti-Asian violence that she has spotlighted with her platform

In her interview with People, Yumi also spoke out about the rise in anti-Asian violence that she has spotlighted with her platform. 

‘Our society’s view of Asians in the model minority myth lens has silenced us for many years. In this time of anti-Asian violence, it’s so important now more than ever for Asian people to be heard and supported,’ she said. 

‘The division and racism in our world has gotten so bad; we’ve grown so far from love and connection. I want to create a space for people to feel heard and safe. That’s my purpose on this earth.  

‘I’m heavy-hearted to see the continual violence on Asian people who look like they could be my family members, but I’m also hopeful seeing how people are coming together to support.’

Meets Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 2021 stars: Magazine unveils diverse cast of models for its upcoming issue, from veterans like Josephine Skriver and Lais Ribeiro to a curvy YouTube star and a COVID nurse 

The SI Swimsuit Issue has grown increasingly diverse over recent years, casting women of different ages, body types, and backgrounds. 

This year’s lineup includes the first black and Asian transgender model several curvy models, and a former pediatric oncology nurse who returned to hospitals during the pandemic.   

Voila! Kathy Jacobs has been unveiled as one of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue models

Voila! Kathy Jacobs has been unveiled as one of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue models

Lookin' good! At 57, sheu00A0is the magazine's oldest Rookie and is hoping to bring change to the industry and fight ageism

Lookin’ good! At 57, she is the magazine’s oldest Rookie and is hoping to bring change to the industry and fight ageism

She appeared as a 2020 SI Swim Search finalist in the 2020 issue and is back this year as one of two winners

She appeared as a 2020 SI Swim Search finalist in the 2020 issue and is back this year as one of two winners

Reprisal: She appeared as a 2020 SI Swim Search finalist in the 2020 issue and is back this year as one of two winners

Big reveals:u00A0Though the iconic magazine doesn't launch until July, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Instagram account has been unveiling one model a day throughout March

Big reveals: Though the iconic magazine doesn’t launch until July, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Instagram account has been unveiling one model a day throughout March

Kathy Jacobs 

Among those posing this year is one of the winners of its 2020 SI Swim Search, Kathy Jacobs.

At 57, Kathy is the magazine’s oldest rookie to date — and she has made it her mission to encourage women to follow their dreams, no matter their age.

The shoot is the culmination of a nearly two-year-long journey, which started in July of 2019 when Kathy walked the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Miami Swim Week.

Early last year, she was picked as one of 16 finalists for the annual SI Swim Search, and went on to appear in the 2020 issue. Then, in August of 2020, the magazine named her one of two winners of the search, alongside Tanaye White, with a promise that she’d be back in 2021. 

Kathy isn’t actually the magazine’s oldest model — that honor goes to icon Christie Brinkley, who last posed for SI Swim at age 63 — but the Calabasas, California native is the oldest Rookie the magazine has ever had, and she’s proud of it.

‘Becoming the oldest and shortest Rookie is bigger than just myself,’ she told DailyMail.com last year.  

Go, girl! Editor MJ Day spoke out about the picture, writing on Instagram: 'Kathy possesses the power of persistence, hard work and what it means to follow your dreams'

Go, girl! Editor MJ Day spoke out about the picture, writing on Instagram: ‘Kathy possesses the power of persistence, hard work and what it means to follow your dreams’

Chasing her dreams: In August of 2020, the magazine named her one of two winners of the search, alongside Tanaye White, and took her to Turks and Caicos for a shoot

Chasing her dreams: In August of 2020, the magazine named her one of two winners of the search, alongside Tanaye White, and took her to Turks and Caicos for a shoot

Workin' it! The shoot is the culmination of a nearly two-year-long journey, which started in July of 2019 when Kathy walked the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Miami Swim Week

Workin' it! The shoot is the culmination of a nearly two-year-long journey, which started in July of 2019 when Kathy walked the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Miami Swim Week

Workin’ it! The shoot is the culmination of a nearly two-year-long journey, which started in July of 2019 when Kathy walked the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Miami Swim Week

‘It is being a part of a larger movement of women around the world saying enough is enough! It’s time we take control and show the world that beauty has no age limit and that short girls can model too. 

‘I am so excited to represent a group of women that might not feel heard and I’m hoping to help change the industry. Thank you SI Swimsuit for believing in me!’ 

Meanwhile, editor MJ Day spoke out about the picture, writing on Instagram: ‘Kathy possesses the power of persistence, hard work and what it means to follow your dreams. 

‘She is one of our Swim Search winners and from the very beginning has not only championed the fight against ageism, but has prioritized the women of the Swim Search community that are pursuing their own dreams and goals. 

‘There has never been a more prolific team player than Kathy! She is constantly making time for others while forging her own career. She is a living proof that we need to stop putting limits on ourselves and celebrate the non-traditional ways we can reach our goals and push ourselves.’ 

Boundary breaking! Chicago-born model, dancer, actor, and activist Leyna Bloom, 27, appears in the issue as well

Boundary breaking! Chicago-born model, dancer, actor, and activist Leyna Bloom, 27, appears in the issue as well

Strike a pose!u00A0She is the first ever black and Asian transgender model to grace the pages of its annual Swimsuit Issue

Strike a pose! She is the first ever black and Asian transgender model to grace the pages of its annual Swimsuit Issue

She'su00A0following in the footsteps of Valentina Sampaio, who became the first trans model to pose for SI Swim last year

She’s following in the footsteps of Valentina Sampaio, who became the first trans model to pose for SI Swim last year

First: 'Port Authority' star Leyna has already racked up several 'firsts,' including being the first trans woman of color to have a leading role in a movie featured at the Cannes Film Festival

First: ‘Port Authority’ star Leyna has already racked up several ‘firsts,’ including being the first trans woman of color to have a leading role in a movie featured at the Cannes Film Festival

Leyna Bloom 

Chicago-born model, dancer, actor, and activist Leyna Bloom, 27, is the second trans model to pose for SI Swim, following in the footsteps of Valentina Sampaio, who became the first trans model to pose for SI Swim last year. 

‘Port Authority’ star Leyna has already racked up several ‘firsts,’ including being the first trans woman of color to have a leading role in a movie featured at the Cannes Film Festival. 

She was also one of only a few trans models to take to the runways of New York City Fashion Week, the only trans model to walk in the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya’s 2019 Fall/Winter show, and was the first trans woman of color in Vogue India.   

Leyna says their presence in the magazine refutes criticism that the brand is just about objectifying women. 

‘This is a magazine that says we’re allowed to be beautiful in all our shapes and sizes, and that should be loved, because we’re not often seen in that way,’ she told Good Morning America.

‘I never imagined that I would be born in a time when something like this would happen for someone with my skin tone and for someone with my background.’  

Strut! She was the only trans model to walk in the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendayau00BFs 2019 Fall/Winter show (not pictured)

She was also theu00A0first trans woman of color in Vogue India (pictured modeling for Chromat)

Strut! She was the only trans model to walk in the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya’s 2019 Fall/Winter show, and was the first trans woman of color in Vogue India

Proud:u00A0Leyna says their presence in the magazine refutes criticism that the brand is just about objectifying women

Proud: Leyna says their presence in the magazine refutes criticism that the brand is just about objectifying women

Praises: SI Swim editor MJ Day said she is 'strikingly gorgeous and has an undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set'

Praises: SI Swim editor MJ Day said she is ‘strikingly gorgeous and has an undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set’

MJ Day also appeared on the morning show to sing Leyna’s praises.

‘She walked on that set and she owned it. And that’s what I want for every woman to feel in their life. They have a seat at the table, they have a right to be there,’ she said. 

Writing on Instagram, the editor added that Leyna is ‘strikingly gorgeous and has an undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set’. 

‘Her story represents one grounded in resilience and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help her tell it,’ she went on.  

‘Her presence as the first trans woman of color to be in our issue is a result of her lifetime dedication to forging her own path that has led to acceptance, love and change. 

‘She represents every person’s right to love themselves and be who they want to be. We are honored to have her in this year’s issue and understand the effect it will have on so many others. She joins our team, not because of what she represents but because of her beauty, commitment and desire to leave the world a better place.’  

A model nurse! Maggie Rawlins is a former pediatric oncology nurse who returned to hospitals during the pandemic

A model nurse! Maggie Rawlins is a former pediatric oncology nurse who returned to hospitals during the pandemic

History:u00A0She was working as a nurse in Charleston, South Carolina when she was scouted and changed careers, eventually earning modeling gigs with Love Magazine and Elle Croatia

History: She was working as a nurse in Charleston, South Carolina when she was scouted and changed careers, eventually earning modeling gigs with Love Magazine and Elle Croatia

She said:u00A0'I feel like everyone has a role and responsibility to play during the pandemic. Since I have an active nursing license, I felt like [going back to nursing] was the right thing to do'

She said: 'I feel like everyone has a role and responsibility to play during the pandemic. Since I have an active nursing license, I felt like [going back to nursing] was the right thing to do'

She said: ‘I feel like everyone has a role and responsibility to play during the pandemic. Since I have an active nursing license, I felt like [going back to nursing] was the right thing to do’

'Not only is she an incredibly beautiful model, she is also living proof that itu00BFs never too late to give back to your community,' said editor MJ Day

‘Not only is she an incredibly beautiful model, she is also living proof that it’s never too late to give back to your community,’ said editor MJ Day 

Maggie Rawlins

Maggie Rawlins doesn’t just bring brains and beauty to SI Swim — she also brings heart, as a nurse who has volunteered at hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She was working as a nurse in Charleston, South Carolina when she was scouted and changed careers, eventually earning modeling gigs with Love Magazine and Elle Croatia. 

But when the pandemic hit, she returned to her healthcare roots to save lives in Queens, New York hospitals and by volunteering as a One World Health ambassador. 

‘I was working in LA, and I booked a flight back [to South Carolina] thinking it would be a month or so,’ Rawlins, who has modeled for lingerie brand Intimissimi and secured the October cover of Elle Croatia, told the New York Post. 

‘I had the skill set as a nurse, and it was a responsibility more than anything else… You just hit the ground running. There were a lot of obstacles.’ 

Speaking to People, Maggie added: ‘I feel like everyone has a role and responsibility to play during the pandemic. Since I have an active nursing license, I felt like [going back to nursing] was the right thing to do. Additionally, it was in New York City… That city has been so good to me, and I wanted to give back.’ 

She working at a Queens medical facility as a registered nurse at the height of the pandemic

She working at a Queens medical facility as a registered nurse at the height of the pandemic

Maggie is a former pediatric oncology nurse and a OneWorld Health volunteer

Maggie is a former pediatric oncology nurse and a OneWorld Health volunteer

While modeling, Rawlins volunteered with nonprofit OneWorld Health to keep her credentials. She traveled to countries such as Uganda and Nicaragua, working as a triage nurse

While modeling, Rawlins volunteered with nonprofit OneWorld Health to keep her credentials. She traveled to countries such as Uganda and Nicaragua, working as a triage nurse

MJ Day shared the decision to cast her this year on Instagram, explaining: ‘Not only is she an incredibly beautiful model, she is also living proof that it’s never too late to give back to your community. She returned to her career in nursing when COVID-19 hit, volunteering to work at several hospitals in Queens. 

‘As a former pediatric oncology nurse and a COVID frontline warrior, her dedication, commitment and passion towards helping others are the types of traits we love to celebrate and highlight.’

‘I had no idea I was even on SI’s radar,’ Maggie added. ‘I got a call from my agent saying I was up for it. Then two hours later, he said, “You’re confirmed for Sports Illustrated, and you’re shooting in three weeks.”‘

The married model had to quickly get back in shape as she had been indulging in treats like red wine. 

The SI model notes Kathy Ireland and Elle Macpherson as her favorite swim models, and hopes that her bikini-clad moment brings awareness to health-care workers.   

‘I want to stress that I was only there for three weeks, which is nothing compared to the sacrifices they have made,’ she said. ‘COVID hasn’t stopped for them.’  

Va-va-voom!u00A0Marquita Pring, 30, from Albany, New York has been modeling since age 15, signing with IMG curvy model devision in 2010

Va-va-voom! Marquita Pring, 30, from Albany, New York has been modeling since age 15, signing with IMG curvy model devision in 2010

Last year, she joined SI Swimsuit as a rookie, and now she's back for take two

'Marquita is a natural fit for our brand,' said editor MJ Day

Back! Last year, she joined SI Swimsuit as a rookie, and now she’s back for take two

Experience:u00A0She's walked for Jean Paul Gaultier in his Spring 2011 show, posed for Vogue Italia, and appeared in campaigns for L'Oreal and Levi Strauss & Co

Experience: She’s walked for Jean Paul Gaultier in his Spring 2011 show, posed for Vogue Italia, and appeared in campaigns for L’Oreal and Levi Strauss & Co

Marquita Pring

Marquita Pring, 30, from Albany, New York has been modeling since age 15, signing with IMG curvy model devision in 2010. 

She’s walked for Jean Paul Gaultier in his Spring 2011 show, posed for Vogue Italia, and appeared in campaigns for L’Oreal and Levi Strauss & Co.

Last year, she joined SI Swimsuit as a rookie, and now she’s back for take two.

‘Marquita is a natural fit for our brand,’ said editor MJ Day. 

‘She is effortless to photograph, and a pleasure to be around. She is smart, competent, established, possesses a hunger and dedication to changing the industry. 

‘Her voice is powerful, and it is an important one for the world to hear. She represents so many different types of women and we are incredibly lucky to be a part of her story.’

On fire!u00A0Natalie Mariduena, 24, isu00A0a phenomenon,' said MJ Day. 'She is beautiful, kind, intelligent and creative'

On fire! Natalie Mariduena, 24, is a phenomenon,’ said MJ Day. ‘She is beautiful, kind, intelligent and creative’

Natalie (left)u00A0is already known to some internet users as the assistant of David Dobrik (center), and now she's getting the spotlight all to herself in this summer's SI Swimsuit Issue

Natalie (left) is already known to some internet users as the assistant of David Dobrik (center), and now she’s getting the spotlight all to herself in this summer’s SI Swimsuit Issue

'Being at the forefront of industry change, Natalie beautifully blurs the line in a world that too often tells women that they have to pick a lane and stay in it.

'Being at the forefront of industry change, Natalie beautifully blurs the line in a world that too often tells women that they have to pick a lane and stay in it.

‘Being at the forefront of industry change, Natalie beautifully blurs the line in a world that too often tells women that they have to pick a lane and stay in it.

Natalie Mariduena

Natalie Mariduena, 24, is already known to some internet users as David Dobrik’s assistant, and now she’s getting the spotlight all to herself in this summer’s SI Swimsuit Issue.

The Vernon Hills, Illinois native, who is also Head of Brand for the new social app Dispo, is the first rookie to be named for 2021.

‘Natalie is a phenomenon,’ said MJ Day. ‘She is beautiful, kind, intelligent and creative. 

‘Fan after fan circled and approached her during our shoot and she graciously greeted every one of them with genuine warmth and enthusiasm. You immediately get why she has made such an impact on her legions of fans. 

‘Being at the forefront of industry change, Natalie beautifully blurs the line in a world that too often tells women that they have to pick a lane and stay in it. We are proud to celebrate a woman like Natalie, a like-minded individual, who is passionate about seeing the SI Swimsuit message through. 

‘She recognizes the importance of changing the industry, using her following and her notoriety to help others. She has created her own success story through her entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and relatable mentality.’ 

Beauty queen:u00A0Minnesota native Haley Kalil, 28, is a former Miss Minnesota Teen USA 2010 and Miss Minnesota USA 2014

Beauty queen: Minnesota native Haley Kalil, 28, is a former Miss Minnesota Teen USA 2010 and Miss Minnesota USA 2014

Smarty pants: She graduated summa cum laude from St. Cloud State University with a degree in medical biology and psychology and volunteered at the local hospital

Smarty pants: She graduated summa cum laude from St. Cloud State University with a degree in medical biology and psychology and volunteered at the local hospital

Flashback:u00A0Haley is pictured modelingu00A0during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show

Flashback: Haley is pictured modeling during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show

Haley Kalil

Minnesota native Haley Kalil, 28, is a former Miss Minnesota Teen USA 2010 and Miss Minnesota USA 2014.

But she’s not just a pretty face: She graduated summa cum laude from St. Cloud State University with a degree in medical biology and psychology and volunteered at the local hospital and in an immunology lab during school.

These days, she’s a pro modeling for SI Swimsuit, having made her debut in the magazine’s first-ever casting call in 2018 — where she was named co-winner with Camille Kostek. 

‘Haley possesses the most contagious energy and enthusiasm,’ said MJ Day. ‘Haley has positioned herself as a beauty with brains advocate — unabashedly encouraging women to be equally enthusiastic about academia and science while feeling beautiful and sexy at the same time. 

‘Haley created #NerdHerd, a social media movement for women to showcase the multidimensional nature of womanhood — simultaneously embracing one’s body and one’s mind while still demanding respect. 

Winner!u00A0Tanaye White, 29, was one of two winners of the 2020 #SISwimSearch

Winner! Tanaye White, 29, was one of two winners of the 2020 #SISwimSearch

Success!u00A0In November 2019, the Georgetown University graduate quit her high-powered job at the third largest defense and aerospace agency in the world to try her hand at modeling

Success! In November 2019, the Georgetown University graduate quit her high-powered job at the third largest defense and aerospace agency in the world to try her hand at modeling 

'Tanaye is a force to be reckoned with,' said MJ Day. 'Beautiful, brilliant, humble, and hardworking, sheu00BFs accomplished so much on her own'

‘Tanaye is a force to be reckoned with,’ said MJ Day. ‘Beautiful, brilliant, humble, and hardworking, she’s accomplished so much on her own’ 

Lookin' good! Hailing from Southington, Connecticut, White tried out during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show (pictured)

Lookin’ good! Hailing from Southington, Connecticut, White tried out during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show (pictured)

Tanaye White

Tanaye White, 29, was one of two winners of the 2020 #SISwimSearch.

In November 2019, the Georgetown University graduate quit her high-powered job at the third largest defense and aerospace agency in the world to try her hand at modeling — and will earned a spot as a rookies in the 2021 issue.   

‘Tanaye is a force to be reckoned with,’ said MJ Day. ‘Beautiful, brilliant, humble, and hardworking, she’s accomplished so much on her own and is a prime example of what can happen when you unapologetically pursue your dreams. 

‘This year will be a game changer for Tanaye as she takes the next step in her modeling career as an official ROOKIE in SI Swimsuit and as an advocate for representation.’

After earning the spot last year, the Southington, Connecticut native gushed to DailyMail.com: ‘My dream really came true and I still can’t believe it!’ 

‘I prayed so hard for this and if anything, this shows working hard and speaking things into existence is the key to achieving anything you desire. I feel like I’m on cloud 9! I never want this feeling to end.’  

Star power:u00A0Lais Ribeiro, 30, is one of the handful of models who've stunned as both an SI Swimsuit model and a Victoria's Secret Angel

Star power: Lais Ribeiro, 30, is one of the handful of models who’ve stunned as both an SI Swimsuit model and a Victoria’s Secret Angel

Wowza!u00A0Modeling since 2009, she's walked runways for Carolina Herrera, Diane Von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, and more

Wowza! Modeling since 2009, she’s walked runways for Carolina Herrera, Diane Von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, and more

'Lais has an aura of effortlessness around her that acts as a magnetic force, making it difficult to look away,' said MJ Day

‘Lais has an aura of effortlessness around her that acts as a magnetic force, making it difficult to look away,’ said MJ Day

Big star: Lais is pictured at theu00A02018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Big star: Lais is pictured at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Lais Ribeiro

Lais Ribeiro, 30, is one of the handful of models who’ve stunned as both an SI Swimsuit model and a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Modeling since 2009, she’s walked runways for  Carolina Herrera, Diane Von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, and Michael Kors, and was the most sought-after model in 2011 with more than 50 shows in a seingle season. 

‘Lais has an aura of effortlessness around her that acts as a magnetic force, making it difficult to look away,’ said MJ Day. 

‘She is gorgeous, and on top of that, she is an incredibly hard-working mother whose energy brings so much joy to those around her. 

‘She uses her platform to spread awareness around autism and what it’s like to be a mother of an autistic son. If there is one thing we can do as a brand, it’s to empower individuals to speak up for what they are passionate about and Lais uses her reach and influence to do just that.’

Favorites:u00A0SI Swimsuit 2018 cover star Danielle Herrington, 27, is back again for the 2021 issue

Favorites: SI Swimsuit 2018 cover star Danielle Herrington, 27, is back again for the 2021 issue

She is proudly wearing her hair in braids, a protective hairstyle that has long faced racist backlash u00BF and which she hasn't been able to rock since she was a young teen

She is proudly wearing her hair in braids, a protective hairstyle that has long faced racist backlash u00BF and which she hasn't been able to rock since she was a young teen

A stand! She is proudly wearing her hair in braids, a protective hairstyle that has long faced racist backlash — and which she hasn’t been able to rock since she was a young teen

Danielle Herrington

SI Swimsuit 2018 cover star Danielle Herrington, 27, is back again for the 2021 issue.

But the Compton, California-born model is doing something a bit different this time around: She is proudly wearing her hair in braids, a protective hairstyle that has long faced racist backlash — and which she hasn’t been able to rock since she was a young teen.

Danielle has evolved into such a powerful woman and is taking ownership of how she wants to be represented,’ said MJ Day. 

‘For this year’s shoot she expressed to us her desire to wear her hair in braids. As an in-demand, constantly-working model, she hasn’t been able to do that since she was 13. 

‘We immediately said yes and she showed up on set as the most confident, vibrant and happiest version of herself! 

‘The industry often dictates how women can present themselves and we wanted to give Danielle a space to choose how she is represented.’

Number one!u00A0Kate Bock, 33, was the first 2021 Swimsuit Issue model to be revealed on Instagram at the beginning of the month

Number one! Kate Bock, 33, was the first 2021 Swimsuit Issue model to be revealed on Instagram at the beginning of the month

'It was such a treat to feel like myself again, being back on a shoot, on set, and on location,' she said

‘It was such a treat to feel like myself again, being back on a shoot, on set, and on location,’ she said

Jealous!u00A0The model, who is engaged to Kevin Love, also admitted that she doesn't do much dieting ahead of a shoot

Jealous! The model, who is engaged to Kevin Love, also admitted that she doesn’t do much dieting ahead of a shoot

Kate Bock

Kate Bock, 33, was the first 2021 Swimsuit Issue model to be revealed on Instagram at the beginning of the month.

‘This unprecedented year has made me even more grateful for every opportunity in my life with @si_swimsuit right at the top of the list,’ she said on Instagram. ‘I’m dreaming from my apartment in sweatpants of being that girl on the beach right now.’

Speaking to People, Kate said that shooting in Miami this year was a special treat amidst the pandemic.

‘It was such a treat to feel like myself again, being back on a shoot, on set, and on location. We took every precaution and the shoot was great! Now I can’t wait for it to come out!’ she said. 

The model, who is engaged to Kevin Love, also admitted that she doesn’t do much dieting ahead of a shoot.

‘As a model, I sort of always want to feel good in my body, so nothing too significant happens when it’s swimsuit shoot time. I don’t always get much warning! I do my best to eat super clean, get a daily work out in, and drink as much water as possible going into a shoot!’ she said.

Meanwhile, MJ Day praised Kate’s ‘hard work, dedication, consistent dependability, and her desire to show up in any way she can.’ 

‘She’s a prolific collaborator and acts as a sounding board for us because of her longevity with the brand and her industry experience. 

‘Smart and savvy, Kate has parlayed her impeccable taste and business acumen into curating and collaborating with brands as an investor/equity partner and ambassador. After nine years, nothing brings me more joy than seeing Kate go from model to mogul in the making!’

What a pro!u00A0Danish model Josephine Skriver, 27, is another old hat at swimsuit modeling, and also the second Victoriau00BFs Secret Angel to appear in the magazine

What a pro! Danish model Josephine Skriver, 27, is another old hat at swimsuit modeling, and also the second Victoria’s Secret Angel to appear in the magazine

Designer fashion:u00A0Over the years, she's walked the runway for Calvin Klein, Rag & Bone, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Yves Saint Lauren, and Prada

Designer fashion: Over the years, she’s walked the runway for Calvin Klein, Rag & Bone, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Yves Saint Lauren, and Prada 

'It was an incredibly easy decision for us to work again with Josephine, SI Swimsuitu00BFs Rookie of the Year in 2020,' said MJ Day

‘It was an incredibly easy decision for us to work again with Josephine, SI Swimsuit’s Rookie of the Year in 2020,’ said MJ Day

Josephine Skriver

Danish model Josephine Skriver, 27, is another old hat at swimsuit modeling, and also the second Victoria’s Secret Angel to appear in the magazine.

Over the years, she’s walked the runway for Calvin Klein, Rag & Bone, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Yves Saint Lauren, and Prada.

Last year, she was the 2020 SI Swimsuit Rookie of the Year. 

‘It was an incredibly easy decision for us to work again with Josephine, SI Swimsuit’s Rookie of the Year in 2020,’ said MJ Day. 

‘Josephine inspires women, fiercely advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and carries herself like a true professional. 

‘On top of the fact that she can talk a serious football game as one of Raiders Nation’s most passionate superfans, she is a natural beauty with a heart of gold.’

Classic:u00A0German-American Jasmine Sanders, 29, is another SI Swim alum, having nabbed the 2020 cover with Kate Bock and Olivia Culpo

Classic: German-American Jasmine Sanders, 29, is another SI Swim alum, having nabbed the 2020 cover with Kate Bock and Olivia Culpo

Pro power:u00A0She was also the 2019 Rookie of the Year, and has modeled for Victoria's Secret, Roberto Cavalli, MCM, Ralph Lauren, and several international editions of Vogue

Pro power: She was also the 2019 Rookie of the Year, and has modeled for Victoria’s Secret, Roberto Cavalli, MCM, Ralph Lauren, and several international editions of Vogue

'When she first found out about her cover, her first reaction was to compliment the other two women she shared the image with,' said MJ Day

‘When she first found out about her cover, her first reaction was to compliment the other two women she shared the image with,’ said MJ Day

Jasmine Sanders

German-American Jasmine Sanders, 29, is another SI Swim alum, having nabbed the 2020 cover with Kate Bock and Olivia Culpo.

She was also the 2019 Rookie of the Year, and has modeled for Victoria’s Secret, Roberto Cavalli, MCM, Ralph Lauren, and several international editions of Vogue.

‘There are endless wonderful things to say about her but in my opinion, the most beautiful virtue she possesses is how she makes a special and genuine connection with everyone she encounters,’ says editor MJ Day. 

‘This industry carries some very heavy history of being cut throat and catty- just her presence resets that energy in a way that prioritizes community over competitiveness. 

‘Lifting others up around her is instinctual. When she first found out about her cover, her first reaction was to compliment the other two women she shared the image with. 

‘She is one of the most selfless individuals who has fought really hard to get to where she is today and doesn’t forget or neglect anyone that has helped her along the way. She shows up on set ready to work hard, nails every shot and still possesses a true humbleness that is such a rarity.’

Beauty: Emily DiDonato's 2.2 million Instagram followers know the 30-year-old for her more than a decade-long modeling career u00BF and her beauty brand, Covey

Beauty: Emily DiDonato’s 2.2 million Instagram followers know the 30-year-old for her more than a decade-long modeling career — and her beauty brand, Covey

Way back:u00A0The IMG model got her start as the face of Maybelline New York in 2009, right after she graduated college

Way back: The IMG model got her start as the face of Maybelline New York in 2009, right after she graduated college

Familiar:u00A0She made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debut in 2013, and is back again for another shoot this year

Familiar:u00A0She made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debut in 2013, and is back again for another shoot this year

Familiar: She made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debut in 2013, and is back again for another shoot this year

Emily DiDonato

Emily DiDonato’s 2.2 million Instagram followers know the 30-year-old for her more than a decade-long modeling career — and her beauty brand, Covey.

The IMG model got her start as the face of Maybelline New York in 2009, right after she graduated college, and she went on to model for Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Balmain, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Missoni, Elie Tahari, Longchamp, and more.

She made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debut in 2013, and is back again for another shoot this year .

‘Emily is an absolute stunner, a legend and industry darling,’ MJ Day said. ‘She is smart, kind hearted and honest and has remained that way throughout her tenure in the industry. 

‘Her latest focus has been spreading the message of body positivity to millions digitally, building an amazing platform for herself on YouTube.’

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