Inside Sports Illustrated’s search for their next swimsuit star | New … – New York Post

When Tabria Majors stepped onto the Brooklyn set of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s open casting call, the southern belle wasn’t fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“I didn’t even think that it was possible for me to be honest,” the 27-year-old co-host of “The Thick” podcast shared Friday with The Post. “I never considered modeling as a career, ever. I just didn’t think that was ever for me, but I was scouted on Instagram and signed haphazardly.”

Fast forward two years later, Majors is one of 36 finalists out of 5,000 who submitted a 60-second video to Sports Illustrated on Instagram, with the applicants explaining why they should be a part of the magazine’s annual Swimsuit edition. The winner, to be announced at a later date, will be part of next year’s issue.

A post shared by Tabria Majors (@tabriamajors) on Jul 11, 2016 at 7:51am PDT

The finalists include students, aspiring reporters, actresses and models of all shapes, sizes and body types.

They were broken up into two groups for morning and afternoon shifts last Friday at The Foundry’s offices in Industry City. The first group, which arrived on set at 9 a.m., took part in a photo shoot either before or after making their case in person to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor MJ Day.

“I thought about running through lines, anticipating questions that would be asked in the interview … [but] that’s not what they want to hear,” Majors recalled of her preparation.

“Obviously, you have to look good, they want you because of what you look like, but they also want you because of your personality and I think that was most important to me, so I just mental-blocked that stuff that I prepared and came in like it was just a regular day, talking to anybody.”

Majors found her interview with Day to be relaxed – “we spoke about ping pong and Nashville the whole time,” she said – which matched her demeanor on the set. For others, such as Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan, getting the chance to prove themselves to Sports Illustrated has been a life-long goal.

“I was a little kid and I found these issues and I was like, ‘These are the most empowered, confident women,’” the 28-year-old actress said. “I’m sure that’s what every parent wants their little girl to say.”

Jordan has been modeling and acting for the past several years since her beauty pageant. Getting her foot in the door was only half the battle, she explained.

“Sometimes there’s a stereotype, so people have to get past that and I sort of have to convince people to let me in the room and take me seriously as an actress,” she said.

Former Patriots cheerleader Camille Kostek is the stunning beauty often seen on the arm of Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski. But she has struggled to find work in the modeling world since moving to Los Angeles to chase her dream.

“I’ve been trying to sign with a big, reputable agency that would bring me to Sports Illustrated so that I could be a part of their casting,” the TV reporter said. “I was turned down by a bunch because of my height, my hip measurements.”

By allowing the public to participate, Kostek, 25, believes Day is ahead of the curve where model scouting is concerned.

“A lot of times when you go to castings you need to be on your thinner side or whatever, so this was so awesome to go into and know that they’re going to love you as is. Whatever your measurements are, they will accept you. It’s refreshing,” Kostek said.

One finalist is guaranteed to be part of the 2018 edition. Should Majors be selected, she wants to show the world models vary in shapes and body types.

“This is career-defining moment for women who are featured in the magazine. I realize the prestige of it, but I just want every woman to feel like they’re equally represented in mainstream media,” Majors said. “I’m the biggest girl here. I proudly flaunt myself in a string bikini all the time, and I want girls to realize that’s OK, and if you get looks or whatever, screw those people because it’s just insecurities for themselves that they’re projecting on to you.

“If I can just show women, and I feel like I get this question all the time: ‘How are you so confident?’ I feel like that is such an intangible thing to try to describe, so I just try to show them in my confidence. That it’s OK to just try to live in the skin you’re in.”

Taking some posing tips from @kateupton at my @si_swimsuit casting today 👙

A post shared by CAMILLE KOSTEK (@camillekostek) on May 19, 2017 at 3:34pm PDT

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