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Meet Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's diverse new stars: 56-year-old stunner and bald fitness trainer will star in upcoming issue

Meet the six finalists in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue's 2020 #SISwimSearch

  • The magazine has narrowed down the search to the top six, who will shoot a spread for the magazine in Turks & Caicos 
  • Christie Valdiserri is a 25-year-old fitness instructor with alopecia who will be the first model to pose bald
  • 56-year-old model Kathy Jacobs wants to 'change the views on women over 50'
  • Plus-size stunner Brielle Anyea, 24, said she hopes ' every chocolate chubby girl and every thick queen around the world sees this'
  • The other finalists are Miss World contestant Clarissa Bowers, 22, and models Tanaye White, 27, and Jamea Lynne Byrd, 20

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has revealed the final six picks for its 2020 #SISwimSearch — and they include a bald bombshell from Pennsylvania, a plus-size stunner from Maryland, and a 56-year-old knockout from California

In October, the magazine first unveiled its 17 finalists for the search, spotlighting a string of sexy women that made up its most diverse cast ever.

These six women will go on to shoot a spread for the magazine in Turks & Caicos before one is named this year's winner.

Down to the finalists! The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has revealed the final six picks for its 2020 #SISwimSearch

Down to the finalists! The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has revealed the final six picks for its 2020 #SISwimSearch 

Gorgeous! The women — culled from a search in Miami, pictured — will go on to shoot a spread for the magazine in Turks & Caicos before one is named this year's winner

Gorgeous! The women — culled from a search in Miami, pictured — will go on to shoot a spread for the magazine in Turks & Caicos before one is named this year's winner

The models first earned attention for walking in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show during Miami Swim Week on July 14 — and now, seven months later, they've been narrowed down to just six.

'I have to make a lot of decisions in this job,' editor MJ Day wrote on Instagram yesterday.

'There is no harder decision to make than selecting the final 6. Not even the cover. We meet amazing people through #siswimsearch. 

'BUT! These six INCREDIBLE women represent so many things to so many people. I’m just proud and emotional that they want to share their beautiful journeys with you all through @si_swimsuit.

'Pay attention to them. To their stories. Cheer them on. Lift them up. Because in doing so, as one of our newly minted top six so eloquently states in her video “we leave the world a little bit of a better place”. Congrats ladies!!' 

Breaking the mold: Christie Valdiserri, a 25-year-old fitness instructor and dancer, made it to the top six

Breaking the mold: Christie Valdiserri, a 25-year-old fitness instructor and dancer, made it to the top six

The first! Christie has alopecia and will be the first woman to appear bald in the magazine

The first! Christie has alopecia and will be the first woman to appear bald in the magazine 

Christine walked the runway at 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week in July, taking off her wig on the catwalk
Christine is pictured smiling after the show

Christine walked the runway at 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week in July, taking off her wig on the catwalk 

'I was inspired to attend the Model Search in Miami when I finally had enough strength and confidence in myself as a bald woman,' she said

This 'Sports illustrated' model is embracing her hair loss
'I plan to let my personality and my positive nature shine through regardless of if I ever have hair on my head again,' she said

Christie Valdiserri  

From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25-year-old fitness instructor and dancer Christie Valdiserri⁣⁣⁣ has documented her journey with alopecia — and during the runway show last July, she proudly whipped off her blonde wig to expose her bald head underneath.

'I was inspired to attend the Model Search in Miami when I finally had enough strength and confidence in myself as a bald woman,' she said.

'When I saw interviews of MJ Day speaking about there being NO rules and then saw Winnie Harlow, Hunter McGrady, and Halima Aden all over SI Swimsuit, I knew this was my moment to be a voice for all the women and young girls who cry every day because they just want to feel normal again.'

Christie has said she was inspired to 'educate the next generation that beauty comes from who you are, not from what you look like.' 

'Associating hair with beauty was taught to us. We weren't born believing hair makes you pretty, but society has lead us to believe that. So I plan to let my personality and my positive nature shine through regardless of if I ever have hair on my head again,' she said. 

Spreading the word: Christie has said she was inspired to 'educate the next generation that beauty comes from who you are, not from what you look like'

Spreading the word: Christie has said she was inspired to 'educate the next generation that beauty comes from who you are, not from what you look like' 

Giving confidence: Christie (pictured wearing a wig) wants 'to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold'
Giving confidence: Christie (pictured wearing a wig) wants 'to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold'

Giving confidence: Christie (pictured wearing a wig) wants 'to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold' 

Can do anything! She started experiencing hair loss in 2016 but has never let anything hold her back

Can do anything! She started experiencing hair loss in 2016 but has never let anything hold her back 

She said: 'NEVER EVER stop going after what you want. I just knew I couldn’t let this stupid condition #alopecia suck the life out of me anymore'
'So if you’ve lost all of your hair with me, I’m out here for US... because nobody, no circumstance, no health condition, NOTHING can ever define your beauty for you — it all starts from within'

She said: 'NEVER EVER stop going after what you want. I just knew I couldn’t let this stupid condition #alopecia suck the life out of me anymore'  

'I want to show the confidence that I've worked so hard for and my love for life to radiate through my posts and through my presence everyday, so young girls or other women who are losing their hair or have been hiding under a wig for years have at least a small glimpse of hope.

'I want to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold,' she added.

When she learned that she'd made it to the top six and will be heading to Turks & Caicos in two weeks, she took to Instagram to share her excitement.

 I want to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold

'I will be the first SI model to have absolutely no hair in the magazine,' she said. I am so insanely emotional today & I just want to share that we have one little old life to live. 

'If you’re hiding or ashamed of something or feel different or not enough, ugh I just wish you could all understand how much I can relate to that... but allowing your strength to be more powerful than your doubts can forever change how you view yourself. 

'NEVER EVER stop going after what you want. I just knew I couldn’t let this stupid condition #alopecia suck the life out of me anymore. 

'So if you’ve lost all of your hair with me, I’m out here for US... because nobody, no circumstance, no health condition, NOTHING can ever define your beauty for you — it all starts from within. Never forget that.' 

 
Fifty and fab: California native Kathy Jacobs, 56, is fighting ageism

Fifty and fab: California native Kathy Jacobs, 56, is fighting ageism 

Kathy is certainly older than the average swimsuit stunner
She was the first to walk the runway for the magazine last July

Workin' it! Kathy is certainly older than the average swimsuit stunner, and was the first to walk the runway for the magazine last July  

Front and center: The longtime model and actress said that ageism 'impacts all of us' but she wants that to stop once and for all

Front and center: The longtime model and actress said that ageism 'impacts all of us' but she wants that to stop once and for all 

She said: 'I am doing this to be part of a change in the views on women over 50, not only by society, but by ourselves'

She said: 'I am doing this to be part of a change in the views on women over 50, not only by society, but by ourselves'  

Kathy Jacobs 

At 56 years old, Kathy Jacobs from Calabasas, California 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 Kathy is certainly older than the average swimsuit stunner, and was the first to walk the runway for the magazine.  

'I've entered the SI Swimsuit Model Search and flown to Miami twice,' she said. 'The first time I didn’t make it past the first round. But I didn’t give up! I felt a burning desire to try again and to be part of a change in the way society views women over 50.'

The longtime model and actress said that ageism 'impacts all of us' but she wants that to stop once and for all.

'I am doing this to be part of a change in the views on women over 50, not only by society, but by ourselves. It is a boomerang effect, and we as women over 50 need to stand together and realize how amazing, relevant, beautiful and sexy we all are.  

'We as women over 50 need to stand together and realize how amazing, relevant, beautiful and sexy we all are,' she said

'We as women over 50 need to stand together and realize how amazing, relevant, beautiful and sexy we all are,' she said 

'It's time women of all ages unite and claim our power,' Kathy said
When she got the good news that she'll be shooting in Turks & Caicos in two weeks, she wrote on Instagram: 'Dreams do come true. Never give up, you are not too old'

'It's time women of all ages unite and claim our power,' Kathy said 

Mother-daughter: Kathy certainly isn't shy about posing in swimwear or lingerie, and has modeled both before — including in shots with her 22-year-old daughter, Abigail Rose

Mother-daughter: Kathy certainly isn't shy about posing in swimwear or lingerie, and has modeled both before — including in shots with her 22-year-old daughter, Abigail Rose 

Twinning: Kathy is pictured posting in swimsuits with her daughter

Twinning: Kathy is pictured posting in swimsuits with her daughter 

'It's time women of all ages unite and claim our power,' Kathy said.

When she got the good news that she'll be shooting in Turks & Caicos in two weeks, she wrote on Instagram: 'Dreams do come true. Never give up, you are not too old. Believe in yourself.'

Kathy certainly isn't shy about posing in swimwear or lingerie, and has modeled both before — including in shots with her 22-year-old daughter, Abigail Rose.

The two even starred together in a Third Love underwear campaign earlier this year.

She's also been in a Green Day music video and has done campaigns for Beauty Blender, Bissy Swim, and NuMe Professional Styling.

Brielle Anyea, 24, is another of the top six, and is pictured walking during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show at Miami Swim Week
Brielle Anyea, 24, is another of the top six, and is pictured walking during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show at Miami Swim Week

Strut your stuff! Brielle Anyea, 24, is another of the top six, and is pictured walking during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show at Miami Swim Week

On fire! The Baltimore, Maryland native is a plus-size model, blogger, and advocate for size inclusivity

On fire! The Baltimore, Maryland native is a plus-size model, blogger, and advocate for size inclusivity

'Inclusion and representation are important for me when it comes to fashion and media,' she said
'Inclusion and representation are important for me when it comes to fashion and media,' she said

'Inclusion and representation are important for me when it comes to fashion and media,' she said 

She said: 'I hope every chocolate chubby girl and every thick queen around the world sees this and know that anything is possible'

She said: 'I hope every chocolate chubby girl and every thick queen around the world sees this and know that anything is possible' 

'Your skin, size, shape, condition, beauty will not determine your destiny. Your will-power, faith, and determination will,' she said
'Confidence is your weapon. Your heart is your map for life. Self love is your power. Go for your dreams and never stop chasing,' she added

'Your skin, size, shape, condition, beauty will not determine your destiny. Your will-power, faith, and determination will,' she said 

Brielle Anyea

Brielle Anyea, 24, has 113,000 Instagram followers — and that number is about to get higher.

The Baltimore, Maryland native is a plus-size model, blogger, and advocate for size inclusivity. 

Woohoo! Brielle celebrated the honor saying: 'What an honor it is to be the first Dark Skin Plus Size Queen in this thannnnng'

Woohoo! Brielle celebrated the honor saying: 'What an honor it is to be the first Dark Skin Plus Size Queen in this thannnnng' 

'Inclusion and representation are important for me when it comes to fashion and media,' she said. 

'After I started getting jobs, it gave me the energy to keep trying for the bigger opportunities. It would be amazing to see a model like myself in the magazine as that would be a first!'  

Upon getting named in the final six, Brielle said she 'cried so much and I screamed like a maniac,' writing on Instagram: 'What an honor it is to be the first Dark Skin Plus Size Queen in this thannnnng.' 

'I hope every chocolate chubby girl and every thick queen around the world sees this and know that anything is possible,' she went on.

'Your skin, size, shape, condition, beauty will not determine your destiny. Your will-power, faith, and determination will.

'Confidence is your weapon. Your heart is your map for life. Self love is your power. Go for your dreams and never stop chasing.' 

Amazing! Model Clarissa Bowers from Umatilla, Florida already has quite a few accomplishments on her résumé

Amazing! Model Clarissa Bowers from Umatilla, Florida already has quite a few accomplishments on her résumé 

'I’ve admired SI Swimsuit‘s efforts to show the beauty of all women, regardless of shape, size, or skin color, for years,' she said

'I’ve admired SI Swimsuit‘s efforts to show the beauty of all women, regardless of shape, size, or skin color, for years,' she said 

'When I heard that they were holding an open casting call, I knew I needed to be a part of it, or I would always wonder "what if," she said

'When I heard that they were holding an open casting call, I knew I needed to be a part of it, or I would always wonder "what if," she said 

Va-va-voom! Clarissa will be a part of the shoot in Turks & Caicos

Va-va-voom! Clarissa will be a part of the shoot in Turks & Caicos 

Clarissa Bowers

Model Clarissa Bowers from Umatilla, Florida already has quite a few accomplishments on her résumé.

The 22-year-won American's Miss World title in 2017 and went on to represent the US at the Miss World pageant.

She's currently enrolled in Vanderbilt University, where she is working on a degree in neuroscience, and she's also signed to Wilhelmina models. 

Now she's set to pose for Sports Illustrated.

'I’ve admired SI Swimsuit‘s efforts to show the beauty of all women, regardless of shape, size, or skin color, for years,' she said. 

'When I heard that they were holding an open casting call, I knew I needed to be a part of it, or I would always wonder "what if." And one of my goals in life is to never have to look back and say, "what if."'  

Lookin' good! Tanaye White from Southington, Connecticut quit her corporate job just two months ago to model full-time — and it's working out for her

Lookin' good! Tanaye White from Southington, Connecticut quit her corporate job just two months ago to model full-time — and it's working out for her 

Not-so-mellow yellow: Tanaye is pictured on the runway at the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show
Not-so-mellow yellow: Tanaye is pictured on the runway at the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show

Not-so-mellow yellow: Tanaye is pictured on the runway at the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show 

But she's working it now! She's come a long way since her teen years: Tanaye admitted that she wasn't allowed to wear a bikini for most of her life

But she's working it now! She's come a long way since her teen years: Tanaye admitted that she wasn't allowed to wear a bikini for most of her life 

'A few months prior to my first try at the 2018 SI Swimsuit Model Search, a friend and I were sharing our goals and passions, and I admitted for the first time to anyone that I had always dreamed of becoming an SI Swimsuit model,' the 27-year-old said
'Not too long after, I saw the flyer for their open casting call. I thought it was fate. And I made it so close last year that I knew I had to give it one more chance in 2019'

'A friend and I were sharing our goals and passions, and I admitted for the first time to anyone that I had always dreamed of becoming an SI Swimsuit model,' the 27-year-old said 

Tanaye White

Tanaye White from Southington, Connecticut quit her corporate job just two months ago to model full-time — and it's working out for her. 

'A few months prior to my first try at the 2018 SI Swimsuit Model Search, a friend and I were sharing our goals and passions, and I admitted for the first time to anyone that I had always dreamed of becoming an SI Swimsuit model,' the 27-year-old said.

'Not too long after, I saw the flyer for their open casting call. I thought it was fate. And I made it so close last year that I knew I had to give it one more chance in 2019.'

She's come a long way since her teen years: Tanaye admitted to People magazine that she wasn't allowed to wear a bikini for most of her life.

'My parents raised me a bit strictly, but I’m grateful for it. I don’t think I was allowed to wear a two-piece until my later teen years! But, when I decided to go to the casting, I asked for my parents’ blessing first.' 

Succeeding: The youngest of the finalists, 20-year-old Jamea Lynne Byrd had a failed attempt at the @SISwimSearch behind her when she picked herself up and tried again

Succeeding: The youngest of the finalists, 20-year-old Jamea Lynne Byrd had a failed attempt at the @SISwimSearch behind her when she picked herself up and tried again 

'Last year I went to the model casting in New York, I ended up not getting it,' she told Sports Illustrated
She added: 'I knew I wanted to try again and fortunately this year, I was in Miami during the open casting call, so my agent told me that I should try out again. Of course, I didn’t think twice!'

'Last year I went to the model casting in New York, I ended up not getting it,' she told Sports Illustrated 

Jamea Lynne Byrd

The youngest of the finalists, 20-year-old Jamea Lynne Byrd had a failed attempt at the @SISwimSearch behind her when she picked herself up and tried again.

'Last year I went to the model casting in New York, I ended up not getting it,' she told Sports Illustrated.

'I knew I wanted to try again and fortunately this year, I was in Miami during the open casting call, so my agent told me that I should try out again. Of course, I didn’t think twice!'

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native told People that her grandpa used to subscribe to the magazine, and 'he’d be so upset when I tore the pages out of all my favorite models'. 

'So, to be a part of a franchise I was so amazed by as a kid, is a dream come true. Not only for me, but my family as well. I promised them that one day they’re going to flip the page, and BOOM…it’s me.'   

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