Kelsey Merritt has done it again! The first Filipina to walk the highly popular Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is back for Sports Illustrated Swim 2021 . This marks her third SI Swim features since 2019—not an easy feat to accomplish for any model, TBH! Kelsey took to Instagram to share the great news with the caption, “@si_swimsuit 2021 is out today! So incredibly grateful to be back again with the most amazing family.”
For this issue, Kelsey went on to talk about her humble beginnings as a model in the Philippines. SI Swim editor-in-chief MJ Day shares it is because of Kelsey’s commitment and dedication to use her influence for positive that they pride her for being the first Filipino ever to be part of the coveted swimsuit issue. She’s also the total package when it comes to “beauty and brains” and takes pride in her Filipino roots among other things.
Her past two editorials for the magazine were shot on location at breathtaking beaches of The Bahamas and Dominican Republic. But this year’s spread takes place at a poolside getaway in sunny Hollywood, Florida. Photographed by Ben Watts, Kelsey is seen wearing swimsuits from swimsuit labels like Norma Kamali, Matthew Bruch, Monica Hansen and more.
Cheeky bikinis reign supreme for the sunkissed editorial, but there was definitely more layering this time around compared to her last sultry shoot for the magazine. Here, the mestiza was spotted wearing a silk scarf as a bandana to complete a poolside OOTD; one look was styled gold necklaces and hoops for that '90s supermodel vibe, while a bucket hat and sweater kept her cozy by the shore for a beach snap.
“I am so proud of the roster of girls in this issue, so happy to see so much diversity in every aspect of it. Kudos to @si_swimsuit. This is one of my favorite shoots with @si_swimsuit so far!” The model wrote on Instagram. In an interview with Sports Illustrated back in 2019, Kelsey shared how being part of the SI Swim roster isn’t just about flaunting her body. “I really want to be a Sports Illustrated model because I love how confident the models are and I want to show everyone who is looking at these pictures and reading the magazine that they can also be confident in their own skin,” True enough, she’s been candid about getting real on social media, and proudly even posted a photo showcasing her stretch marks!
In recent years, the magazine has been trying to diversify the list of talents featured in its pages and on their website. This latest issue of SI Swim with cover girls athlete Naomi Osaka, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and Fil-Am transgender model Leyna Bloom are further proof of that commitment to inclusivity. “Each is a reminder that beauty comes in many forms.” EIC MJ Day notes. The cover actually launched hot-off-the-heels of the magazine’s all-swimsuit runway show featuring women of different sizes and ages.
Congratulations, Kelsey! We always love the Filipino touch you give to SI Swim!
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