Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has announced its new Rookies for the 2024 issue – and the beauties even more stunning than expected.
The list includes a confidence advocate, holistic health coach, entrepreneur, a non-profit CEO, and a Denver Broncos cheerleader – who all show the world that there is more to them then their drop-dead gorgeous looks.
There are seven rookies who were all scouted through digital searches using social media and The Swimfluence Network app to find a new pool of candidates. Past winners have been models Haley Kalil, Brooks Nader, and Camille Kostek, as well as actress Kathy Jacobs.
Now, the rookies have been unveiled and FEMAIL has given you a chance to meet the beautiful models who will be featured as rookies in the May 2024 issue.
Confidence is key! Achieng Agutu earned more than $1 million in her first year as a full-time influencer and is empowering others
Achieng Agutu earned more than $1 million in her first year as a full-time influencer
The 26-year-old New York-based influencer has 800,000 followers across Instagram and TikTok
The 26-year-old content creator and confidence coach is currently based in New York.
She was born in Kenya before moving to Richmond, Indiana, where she finished high school, and then went on to study PR and Spanish at Goshen College.
At New York’s Hult International Business School, she completed a double masters in international marketing and business analytics.
She made more than $1 million from brand deals during her first year as a full-time influencer in 2022, Insider reported.
Achieng has almost 500,000 followers and more than 300,000 on Instagram and TikTok respectively, under the handle @noordinarynoire, describing herself as ‘The Tantalizing Confidence Queen’ and clearly her content is resonating with people.
She ’empowers her 800,000 followers through her lifestyle content as a Black woman who loves fashion, skincare, beauty and luxury,’ according to SI Swimsuit.
‘She first gained prominence for her comedic monologues focused on showing what regular bodies look like,’ the publication added.
‘Her personal mission is to empower people to live authentically and live their best lives through self-love and self-confidence, and by reshaping beauty standards.’
She told Sports Illustrated Swimsuit that one of her favorite moments was when the Vogue editor and chief, Anna Wintour, complimented her outfit at the Vogue World event.
‘Grey and still slaying!’ Nina Cash gave up her modeling career to raise her daughter as a single parent at 25 before reviving her dream years later
As a retired university associate dean, from California’s Long Beach, the realization of Nina’s modeling dream has been a long time coming
As a retired university associate dean, from California’s Long Beach, the realization of Nina‘s modeling dream has been a long time coming.
She has worked in education, training and workforce development for more than three decades, and holds a doctorate in educational leadership – focusing on higher education and adult learning.
The impressive finalist was on season three of TV Land’s reality show She’s Got The Look back in 2010.
Much like America’s Next Top Model, the series sees 10 women who are 35 years old or older compete for a modeling contract.
In an interview with the Press-Telegram, Nina said she was first scouted aged 16, but she was raised in a strict Catholic household, so her parents would not let her pursue the opportunity until she finished high school.
‘My first casting was for O’Neill swimwear, I was very intimidated. I didn’t have the right [photos] yet, and some of the girls were giggling because I brought my mom with me… but I found out the next day I was cast, and I was paid $685 for the day. I thought I was going to get paid $6.85 an hour,’ she told the publication.
She worked as a ‘catalog girl,’ appearing for Robinson’s, Macy’s and other brands including in Vienna.
She has worked in education, training and workforce development for more than three decades, and holds a doctorate in educational leadership
But she had to give up her modeling pursuits to have her daughter as a single parent when she fell pregnant at 25.
‘I had started to go to Long Beach City College (when I was 18 years old), but I never finished… I went back to school at age 34 and finally got my bachelor’s degree, 20 years to the day after I graduated high school,’ Nina added.
The then-43-year-old got her second chance on the reality show with the support of her husband and daughter.
‘I liked what the show was about, which is empowering women over 35 years old,’ she told Press-Telegram.
‘It’s true that beauty does blossom with age… I was so nervous when [the producers asked me questions]. I thought I was a has-been.’
Now married with three daughters, the 56-year-old, who confidently sports her gray hair, is now in the final 12 for the SI Swim Search and is signed to NTA Model Management.
Sharina Gutierrez has been in the modeling industry since she was 12 and boasts an impressive resume
From the age of 12, Sharina has been in music videos, commercials, campaigns and on magazine covers
Her impressive resume includes working with high-profile brands, including Reebok, Rimmel London, Estee Lauder and Ralph Lauren. She’s pictured in 2018
The 32-year-old is no stranger to the industry.
From the age of 12, Sharina has been in music videos, commercials and campaigns.
Her extensive resume includes working with high-profile brands – including Reebok, Rimmel London, Estee Lauder and Ralph Lauren.
‘In addition to her modeling career, [Sharina] is a sound guide who helps people rise to their higher selves and pursue a life of unconditional self-love,’ SI Swimsuit reported.
‘She is also a founding member of Mama Mantra, a family brand launching in 2023 that focuses on spreading positivity and encouraging parents and children to believe in themselves and break barriers.’
Sharina also has three children and lives in Los Angeles.
According to SI Swim, her mission is to ‘be a voice for anyone who has ever felt less than their true potential.’
Jena Sims Koepka is a former teen beauty queen and is now a CEO of a non-profit organization – and she’s also married to a PGA star
Jena, 34, founded and is the CEO of non-profit organization Pageant of Hope
Jena, 34, founded Pageant of Hope – a non-profit organization which ‘aims to raise awareness and support in giving children and teenagers who face serious challenges the opportunity to shine and be celebrated for who they are,’ according to its website.
She is also a model, and has gained more than 250,000 followers on Instagram.
Jena – who is an actress and is most known for her role in the Sharknado movies – is often photographed supporting her PGA star husband, Brooks Koepka, at his golf tournaments.
‘He’s so talented. It’s so much fun to watch him,’ she gushed to Golf Digest in 2019.
The couple – who met at the 2015 Masters – announced their engagement in April 2021, after more than five years together, with Jena posting several images of the happy couple on Instagram, while writing: ‘Forever is no joke.’
In another post, she called it the ‘best day of her life.’
Speaking about her inclusion in the 2023 Swim Search Final, the model and entrepreneur described it as bringing her ‘one step closer to her biggest dream in life’
The pair went on to marry in 2022 in lavish ceremony in Turks and Caicos – and prior to the wedding, Jena revealed that her partner had been heavily involved in the planning of the event.
‘Believe it or not, he has some strong opinions… Not all obvious ones either!’ she wrote on Instagram. ‘I always run things by him, he has enjoyed it so far… Makes me even more excited to see him excited!’
Jena is an alumni of Belmont University and was Miss Teen Georgia USA in 2007.
Speaking about her inclusion in the 2023 Swim Search Final, the model and entrepreneur described it as bringing her ‘one step closer to her biggest dream in life’.
Jena previously walked the runway while pregnant in July 2023, however, she has since given birth
Jena is married to pro golfer Brooks Koepka, with whom she tied the knot in 2022 – one year after he popped the question (right)
‘My journey with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit began in the late 90s when I saw Tyra on the cover in that iconic polka dotted bikini. It was my earliest memory of what true beauty felt like,’ she wrote.
‘SI Swimsuit is not about the body, but WHO’s in that body. I’m touched beyond belief to be one step closer to my biggest dream in life.’
She went on: ‘This community of bad*** women had already changed my life for the better, so I can’t wait to see what the next steps hold!’
Penny Lane was discovered at 13 when she felt like a ‘lanky misfit’ – and was told she needed to lose weight and a breast reduction
The 27-year-old, from Cheshire, England, had a rough introduction to the modeling industry
She describes living in London as her ‘rock bottom,’ with the industry demanding she ‘lose weight and even consider a breast reduction’
The 27-year-old, from Cheshire, England, had a rough introduction to the industry.
‘I was the tallest teen in my class, none of the boys were anywhere near as tall as me and I just felt like a lanky misfit. I was so self-conscious – there was a permanent feeling that I stuck out like a sore thumb,’ she said.
After spending her time between Australia and the UK in her teens, Penny decided to move to London and Istanbul to pursue modeling.
She describes living in London as her ‘rock bottom,’ with the industry demanding she ‘lose weight and even consider a breast reduction,’ SI Swimsuit reported.
This ‘led her to develop an unhealthy relationship with her body and compromise her fertility… and [she] became a certified holistic health coach.’
Penny is passionate about raising awareness about mental health and body image issues.
She is also a certified health coach who ‘loves croissants.’
Spirit for the win! Berkleigh Wright is a tech industry businesswoman and a Denver Broncos cheerleader
The 28-year-old is from Lawrence, Kansas but now lives in Denver, Colorado
Berkleigh is also a Denver Broncos cheerleader and a tech industry businesswoman
The 28-year-old is from Lawrence, Kansas, but now lives in Denver, Colorado.
She works as a technical account manager and analyst, with degrees from the University of Kansas in psychology, strategic communications and business.
Berkleigh is also a tech industry businesswoman and a Denver Broncos cheerleader.
Her enthusiasm for books has also sparked her starting up a book vlog called Bookin’ It With Berk.
She has more than 36,000 followers across two Instagram accounts.
Berkleigh works with the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Habitat For Humanity, Dare To Cheer and the Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleaders.
From Navy vet to model in no time! Brittney Nicole only started modeling a year ago – and has seen success, walking NYFW
After studying psychology at Augusta State, Brittney joined the Navy, a job that saw her stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi, but took her all over the world
She is relatively new to the world of modeling and she always encourages others to go chase their dreams
She worked for the Navy as a civilian employee and is relatively new to the world of modeling, an interest that she only started chasing a year ago
After studying psychology at Augusta State, Brittney joined the Navy, a job that saw her stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi, but also took her all over the world to Spain, Japan, Israel and Guam.
In these countries, she built schools and runaways among other projects.
She then worked for the Navy as a civilian employee and is relatively new to the world of modeling, an interest that she only started chasing a year ago.
And already she’s started to see success, walking New York Fashion Week and landing a magazine cover.
SI Swimsuit says her motto is: ‘Life is too short to not go after your dreams. Your dreams are within reach, so go get them.’