SI Swim mannequin Natalie Mariduena desires to ‘be an instance’ of ‘physique normalcy’

Natalie Mariduena, an SI Swimsuit mannequin who has practically 4 million followers on Instagram alone, is hoping to lift consciousness on “physique normalcy.”

The mannequin first made a splash within the pages of the journal in 2021 and was featured on this yr’s difficulty accessible at newsstands now.

“Within the business, you see fashions who’re very skinny or your see plus-size fashions, however there isn’t this style of modeling that’s proper within the center,” the Chicago native advised Fox Information Digital. “I attempt to champion that for different individuals. I need to be an instance of that and present that it’s cool and it’s lovely. [On social media] I present my physique, I present my life, I present what I symbolize and what I worth with no filter. Whether or not it’s a bikini picture or simply a picture of me out on the street in a cute outfit, I need to present that the conventional physique dimension is valued.”

The 25-year-old insisted that she desires to make use of her platform to point out her feminine followers that one doesn’t must depend on filters and Photoshop to look lovely.


“I’ve so many followers who’re younger girls, very impressionable and taking a look at me for instance for themselves,” she mentioned. “I attempt to join with individuals, whether or not it is by DMs or the feedback part. I’m typically advised, ‘I’ve your physique sort — thanks for displaying this.’ These persons are displaying their appreciation in direction of me and I need to give that love again. As a result of I’ve this platform, I believe it’s extra vital than ever that I present positivity for ladies.”

Mariduena praised SI Swimsuit for celebrating completely different physique sorts, in addition to girls of assorted ages. For the 2022 difficulty, Mariduena was photographed in Belize by veteran photographer Yu Tsai.

“It’s the very best feeling on the planet as a mannequin to be a part of {a magazine} that accepts and celebrates you for being you,” she mentioned. “I keep in mind we ended up capturing round 15 bikinis shiny and early that day, out within the jungle. I’m in waterfalls, I’m laying on rocks, I’m hanging on bridges, standing in rivers … [but] it was like a bit celebration. You wouldn’t realize it from trying on the photographs, however there are like 20-25 individuals standing behind the digicam simply hollering, encouraging and motivating you. They’re having a bit dance celebration for you.”

Whereas this wasn’t Mariduena’s first time showing within the journal, her photographs this yr left her shocked, she insisted.


“I used to be in shock,” she mentioned. “I noticed a number of the photographs as we had been taking them, however to see them within the precise journal, it’s such a surreal feeling. It’s so unusual being this small-town woman from Illinois simply having no concept that issues like this had been a risk for her. … And being a part of ‘Sports activities Illustrated’ might be one of the empowering experiences I’ve ever had. I’m in a position to rejoice my physique. They’re so inclusive and accepting. They do such an excellent job of together with all girls and creating such an accepting neighborhood that uplifts one another.”

Natalie Mariduena walks for the 2021 Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Present throughout Paraiso Miami Seaside at Mondrian South Seaside, July 10, 2021, in Miami, Florida. John Parra/Getty Photographs for Sports activities Illustrated

Regardless of her achievements, Mariduena mentioned she doesn’t all the time get up feeling like a supermodel. Like anybody else, there are days when she may use a much-needed enhance of confidence. And people are the moments when she enjoys disconnecting from social media.

Natalie Mariduena said it's important for all bodies to be represented in the fashion industry. <span class="copyright">Jason Koerner/Getty Images</span>

Natalie Mariduena mentioned it is vital for all our bodies to be represented within the style business. Jason Koerner/Getty Photographs

“On these days, I do what I like,” she mentioned. “I like an excellent meal. I like visiting my favourite restaurant. I like my wholesome meals and I like my junk meals. I believe it’s all about stability. I similar to to provide a day for myself. It may be one thing so simple as staying at dwelling and having fun with an excellent meal or going to the seaside. I additionally like to lean in on my mates. I believe it’s vital to have a optimistic, encouraging circle to lean on everytime you’re feeling dangerous. I do know they all the time snap me proper out of it. Being advised, ‘You’re doing so effectively, hold going,’ goes a great distance. I’m so fortunate to have that help system. I believe it’s essential.”

Mariduena has greater than 8 million followers on her social media platforms. She’s recognized for selling “Do Good” initiatives that target sustainability, feminine empowerment and physique positivity. She mentioned they’re important now greater than ever.


“I believe cyberbullying is so outstanding in social media,” she mentioned. “It’s so vital to unfold positivity and love for different individuals. Even when somebody is doing effectively, you need to help them and inspire them. Your phrases, whether or not you’ve a big following or simply your circle of mates, they matter. Your phrases have an effect on individuals. There’s no want for hate and negativity. That’s the message I need to share.”

“After I was youthful, and I believe that is typical for a lot of women in highschool, I all the time felt that I wanted to look a sure method or act a sure strategy to impress social circles,” she continued. “It wasn’t till faculty that I spotted that being completely different, being outdoors the norm, is way cooler. I believe that’s been the massive key to my success. I don’t all the time comply with the pattern if it doesn’t really feel proper to me. I costume nonetheless I would like, which makes me really feel good. I comply with my head and my coronary heart. It appears to be figuring out to date.”

Mariduena mentioned her purpose is to collaborate with extra style manufacturers and designers in hopes of getting her physique sort seen by others who can establish together with her. She praised how the modeling business has advanced over time and is keen to see what else it may possibly do for ladies.

Natalie Mariduena attends as "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit" celebrates the launch of the 2022 Issue and Debut of Pay With Change at Hard Rock Seminole, May 21, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida. <span class="copyright">Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit</span>

Natalie Mariduena attends as “Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit” celebrates the launch of the 2022 Challenge and Debut of Pay With Change at Laborious Rock Seminole, Might 21, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida. Alexander Tamargo/Getty Photographs for Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit

“I’m a style woman at coronary heart,” she mentioned. “And I hope girls take a look at me as a supply of relatability. I hope when girls see me, they will see part of themselves and really feel represented. That’s my purpose. I would like girls to really feel that they will do it, too, and their goals generally is a risk. It was a risk for me.”

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