This year’s finalists follow in the tradition of 2019 model Halima Aden, who became the first woman to model for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue wearing a hijab. Picture: Yu Tsai
This year’s finalists follow in the tradition of 2019 model Halima Aden, who became the first woman to model for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue wearing a hijab. Picture: Yu Tsai

56yo among new Sports Illustrated models

Age before beauty - says who?

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit announced the six finalists of their open model search Tuesday, and among the bevy of beauties is Kathy Jacobs, 56, of Calabasas, California.

"Frankly, I'm still in shock," the 5-foot-3 stunner said in a video on People, which first revealed the finalists vying for a spot in the 2020 issue.

"It means so much to me to be part of this, to be part of a movement that's bigger than myself, and for ladies in my age range to be included," she says. "I mean, I'm 56, and the world considers people over 55 to be senior citizens.

"And I just want to show the world what 56 means. You know, it's not like I'm ready to roll over and play dead because I've still got a lot more living inside of me to do."

Jacobs does more than just pose in bikinis: She was featured in Green Day's "Oh Yeah" video which dropped in January, and considers herself a petite model-activist who also fights for age inclusion in the fashion industry.

The Swimsuit Issue has included a larger age range of women in the past few years: Jacobs wasn't the only lady over 50 to try out for the model search contest this year, and in 2019, Tyra Banks, 45, graced the cover in a yellow bikini. In 2017, Christie Brinkley posed for the mag at 63 alongside her daughters.

Kathy Jacobs, 56, is a finalist in the Sports Illustrated model search and has a shot to be in the 2020 issue. Picture: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Kathy Jacobs, 56, is a finalist in the Sports Illustrated model search and has a shot to be in the 2020 issue. Picture: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

Jacobs isn't the only one toppling barriers for Sports Illustrated. Other models vying for a shoot in the 2020 issue include Christie Valdiserri, who has alopecia areata, a condition that causes baldness.

"In 2018, my friend attended the open call, and I remember thinking to myself, 'Wow I can't do that until my hair grows all the way back in,' " the 25-year-old Los Angeles resident told People.

"This was when my hair was growing in but very unevenly. Then it had all fallen out again in April 2019, and I told myself, 'OK, I can either continue to drown in this pain and let it dictate my life, or I can take the power back and own this look.'

"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 Valdiserri sans wig. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)
Christie Valdiserri sans wig. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

Here are the four other fab finalists:

Clarissa Bowers, 22 of Umatilla, Florida
Clarissa Bowers, 22 of Umatilla, Florida

 

Jamea Lynee Byrd, 27, of Philadelphia. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Jamea Lynee Byrd, 27, of Philadelphia. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

 

Tanaye White, 27, of Southington, Connecticut. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Tanaye White, 27, of Southington, Connecticut. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

 

 

Brielle Anyea, 24, of Baltimore. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated
Brielle Anyea, 24, of Baltimore. Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated

This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission

Christie Valdiserri. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)
Christie Valdiserri. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)


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