It seems like there is no stopping model Kelsey Merritt from reaching greater heights in her career. On February 16, 2019, Sports Illustrated [SI] magazine announced that the Filipina-American beauty will be part of the Swimsuit 2019 rookie class.
On their Instagram account, @si_swimsuit, the magazine posted a video of Kelsey introducing herself and expressing her tangible excitement over the photo shoot. The video was accompanied by a caption: “The smile says it all! ☺ @kelseymerritt is the newest member of the #SISwim 2019 rookie class!”
Kelsey posted the same video on her Instagram account, @kelseymerritt, and wrote, “I’ve been keeping this a secret for a while, and now I’m so excited I get to finally share with you all that I’m the newest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2019 Rookie!!! Ahhh thank you @si_swimsuit@mj_day for the opportunity to shoot for this iconic issue!!! ♥”
Based on the social media posts, the team was having a good time basking under the sun at Exuma, a district of The Bahamas. The location might tickle a lot of people’s ears because it was where the now legendary, globally-mocked disaster, the Fyre Festival, unfolded.
But no such disaster is befalling Merritt, apparently, basing on the photos shared online. Standing in shallow, crystal clear waters, the 23-year-old is seen clutching at her straps, wearing a bronze two piece that matches her equally-tanned skin. The sun is hitting her at all the right places, from her easy, dark brown waves to her sculpted curves, all the while sporting smirk that says “I am not your Lolita. Move along.”
In the February 16 Sports Illustrated article, Kelsey spoke about the fulfillment of getting a highly-desired gig in the modeling world: “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.”
As a teaser for audiences, and for the multiplying fans of Kelsey, the magazine also posted other behind-the-scene videos and photos of the shoot. Kelsey will take up an entire spread in the magazine.
Here’s a video of Kelsey, posing in all zest inside a Carribean cave. The caption read, “Talk about a magical moment with @kelseymerritt!” It couldn’t be anything less magical for the Ateneo de Manila University graduate, who managed to juggle modeling and college for four years. She graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications degree.
Kelsey moves gracefully as she dips in the water for another lay-out.
Then here’s Kelsey in a one-piece swimsuit bearing her name. When Sports Illustrated makes a swimsuit with your name on it, consider yourself made. The Sports Illustrated cover has been graced by some of the biggest names in the modeling and entertainment world: Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Carolyn Murphy, Marisa Miller, Irina Shayk, Lily Aldridge, Chrissy Teigen, Kate Upton, Ashley Graham, and Beyonce, to name a few. Who knows, soon enough Kelsey might join that list.
The news came months after the Pampangueña became the first Filipina to walk the coveted Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway in November 2018.
It’s not surprising that she has gotten this far: The woman is on fire. To wit, here’s the last teaser photo.