Thousands of aspiring models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities lined up in the sweltering Florida heat in the hopes of being featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 2020 issue.
The iconic publication headed to Miami during Swim Week to host its first-ever, in-person casting call at the W South Beach on Friday, and the competition for the once-in-a-life-time opportunity was fierce enough to fill up two blocks outside the hotel.
While only one model will be named the first rookie to appear in the 2020 issue, 16 women from the casting call will be selected by SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day to walk in the magazine’s runway show.
Models in the making: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit headed to Miami during Swim Week to host its first-ever, in-person casting call
Hopefuls: Thousands of women lined up outside the W South Beach hotel for the event
Cutting to the chase: One woman donned a black bikini while filling out the casting call forms
The hopefuls wore everything from dresses and strappy heels to jeans and sneakers, and some cut right to the chase and showed up in their bikinis for their interviews.
In a video posted to SI Swimsuit’s Instagram Stories, MJ greets the girls, and even she is admittedly overwhelmed by the response.
‘Thank you girls for coming today,’ she tells the crowd. ‘I don’t know what to say other than thank you. We all know I am a crier, so here we go.’
SI Swimsuit announced the open casting call in Miami last month, and the only requirements are being 18 or older and eligible to work in the U.S.
Check-in and wait: The casting call kicked off bright and early at 9 a.m.
Dedicated: Women lined up for two blocks outside of the hotel on Friday
Professional: Model Mariama Diallo struck a pose in a red bikini at the event
Experience: Established models were encouraged to bring a book or comp card with them. SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day is pictured looking through a model’s book
Meet and greet: Camille Kostek (center), one of two winners of SI Swimsuit’s first-ever model search contest, posed with the hopefuls outside
Established models were encouraged to bring a book or comp card with them, but the magazine insisted that its team was just as interested in finding fresh faces who are new to the modeling world.
SI Swimsuit alum Myla Dalbesio, Anne de Paula, Chase Carter, Vita Sidorkina-Morabito, Kate Wasley, Hunter McGrady, and Jasmyn Wilkins were among the ‘model mentors’ at the event — and getting their attention proved to be quite beneficial.
The models, who were there to coach the girls who were trying out, were each given ‘golden tickets’ to hand out to women who they believe have what it takes to be an SI Swimsuit model.
Jasmyn, a 2018 rookie, was the first to hand out her golden ticket to a woman named Sam, and the prize was being sent straight to see MJ.
Many women opted to wear Sports Illustrate crops tops and swimsuits the casting call
A star is born: One woman proudly showed off her Sports Illustrated one-piece while waiting in line
Diversity: Women of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities were encouraged to attend the event
Jam-packed: Participants crowded around each other and even sat on the floor while they were waiting
Next up: Once inside, the women had to go through a round of interviews
‘She’s my first one,’ Jasmine explains in a video shared on SI Swimsuit’s Instagram. ‘She stuck out like a sore thumb — but in a good way. She looks amazing.’
Sam was undoubtedly excited to be chosen, but she admitted she was feeling a bit steamy in the Miami heat.
‘It’s so hot here,’ she says in the short clip. ‘I’m sorry for the sweat, but I feel so good. I am so excited now.’
Kate, 24, handed out her golden ticket to a woman named Emily, and the aspiring model admitted she was shaking because she was so excited.
Good luck charm? One woman brought the 2018 SI Swimsuit issue with her
Coaches: Kate Wasley, Hunter McGrady, Haley Kalil, Camille Kostek, and Jasmyn Wilkins (from left to right) were among the ‘model mentors’ at the event
Strike a pose: SI Swimsuit alum Myla Dalbesio, Anne de Paula, Chase Carter, Vita Sidorkina-Morabito were also there to coach the women and hand out ‘golden tickets’
Surprised: Jasmyn, a 2018 rookie, was the first to give her golden ticket to a woman named Sam, and the prize was being sent straight to see MJ
So exited: Kate, 24, handed out her golden ticket to a woman named Emily, and the aspiring model admitted she was shaking because she was so excited
Celebration: Vita and her chosen model posed with her golden ticket
The more the merrier: SI Swimsuit models Samantha Dahlborg, Caroline Lunny, Jordan Wessel, and Jaylee Merrill were also in attendance
Camille Kostek and Haley Kalil were named the two winners of SI Swimsuit’s first-ever model search contest earlier this year, and the 2019 rookies know what the magazine is looking for.
‘You have girls that are curvy, girls that are thin, girls from every ethnicity. It’s really important because SI wants to embrace girls from everywhere and every body type, and that’s what Makes SI the iconic brand that it is,’ Haley told CBS Miami.
‘Personality is a big part of SI,’ Camille added. ‘Yes, ultimately you are supermodels. Yes, you’re in a bikini, but personality is so big and that’s why so many of us, want to be a part of it.’
Ahead of the event, the magazine encouraged women around the country to submit 60-second videos of themselves on Instagram by tagging @si_swimsuit and using the hasthag #SISwimSearch.
A lucky few were invited to Miami this weekend to participate in the first round of the competition.
Opportunity: While only one model will be chosen to appear in the 2020 issue, 16 women from the casting call will be selected to walk the magazine’s runway show on Sunday
Say cheese: MJ took photos of the aspiring models in their swimsuits during the casting
Honored: The women were noticeably excited to meet the editor during the casting call
Standing out: One aspiring model jumped in the air while her photo was being taken
Words of wisdom: In a clip shared on SI Swimsuit’s Instagram, Heidi Klum advised the women to show their personalities at the casting call
Heidi Klum, one of SI Swimsuit’s most iconic cover stars, was in Miami on Thursday, and she shared her advice to the hopefuls ahead of the casting call.
‘You better bring it girls because I am sure there are going to be a lot of girls showing up for that casting,’ she told the publication.
‘I think they want to see personality,’ she added. ‘I think they also want to see that the girl can talk because if you are representing a brand such as Sports Illustrated, which is a huge brand, you have to be able to speak too.
Heidi, 45, noted that she ended up appearing in TV shows such as Sex and the City and Spin City after she covered the magazine in 1998.
‘I did a few shows that don’t even exist anymore now,’ she joked. ‘But, you know, you have to do all these different shows, and so I think it’s important that a girl can represent the brand and talk about it.’