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

Natalie Mariduena, an SI Swimsuit mannequin who has almost 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 12 months’s challenge 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 wish 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 signify 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 wish to present that the traditional physique dimension is valued.”

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

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

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

“It’s the perfect 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 bear 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 of occasion. You wouldn’t comprehend it from trying on the pictures, however there are like 20-25 individuals standing behind the digicam simply hollering, encouraging and motivating you. They’re having a bit of dance occasion for you.”

Whereas this wasn’t Mariduena’s first time showing within the journal, her pictures this 12 months left her surprised, she insisted.


“I used to be in shock,” she mentioned. “I noticed among the pictures 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 lady from Illinois simply having no concept that issues like this had been a chance for her. … And being a part of ‘Sports activities Illustrated’ might be one of the crucial empowering experiences I’ve ever had. I’m in a position to have fun my physique. They’re so inclusive and accepting. They do such an important 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 Seashore at Mondrian South Seashore, July 10, 2021, in Miami, Florida. John Parra/Getty Pictures for Sports activities Illustrated

Regardless of her achievements, Mariduena mentioned she doesn’t at all times get up feeling like a supermodel. Like anybody else, there are days when she may use a much-needed increase 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 essential for all our bodies to be represented within the trend business. Jason Koerner/Getty Pictures

“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 feel it’s all about steadiness. I identical to to offer a day for myself. It may be one thing so simple as staying at house and having fun with an excellent meal or going to the seaside. I additionally like to lean in on my mates. I feel it’s essential to have a optimistic, encouraging circle to lean on everytime you’re feeling dangerous. I do know they at all times snap me proper out of it. Being advised, ‘You’re doing so effectively, maintain going,’ goes a good distance. I’m so fortunate to have that assist system. I feel it’s essential.”

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


“I feel cyberbullying is so distinguished in social media,” she mentioned. “It’s so essential to unfold positivity and love for different individuals. Even when somebody is doing effectively, you wish to assist them and inspire them. Your phrases, whether or not you could have 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 wish to share.”

“Once I was youthful, and I feel that is typical for a lot of women in highschool, I at all times felt that I wanted to look a sure method or act a sure method to impress social circles,” she continued. “It wasn’t till faculty that I noticed that being totally different, being outdoors the norm, is way cooler. I feel that’s been the massive key to my success. I don’t at all times observe the development if it doesn’t really feel proper to me. I costume nonetheless I need, which makes me really feel good. I observe my head and my coronary heart. It appears to be understanding thus far.”

Mariduena mentioned her objective is to collaborate with extra trend manufacturers and designers in hopes of getting her physique kind seen by others who can establish along with her. She praised how the modeling business has advanced over time and is raring to see what else it might probably do for girls.

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 Concern and Debut of Pay With Change at Arduous Rock Seminole, Could 21, 2022, in Hollywood, Florida. Alexander Tamargo/Getty Pictures for Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit

“I’m a trend lady at coronary heart,” she mentioned. “And I hope girls have 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 objective. I need girls to really feel that they will do it, too, and their desires could be a chance. It was a chance for me.”

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