Model Camille Kostek is working hard to achieve her goals — and now she's ready to share her success with fellow females.
The 26-year-old just recently snagged a coveted spot in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. The magazine officially named her their first model and rookie for their 2019 issue.
The Connecticut native always envisioned herself in the popular sports magazine, and with her fans' help, she was able to fulfill a lifelong dream.
“If I didn’t think I could be here, I wouldn’t do it,” Kostek told Fox News back in March. “It’s been such a refreshing, exciting time for me to model and be represented by a company that embraces women of every shape and size. It’s been so nice to not have that pressure to change just to be on a runway show or photo shoot. That’s exactly what I stand for as a woman and a sister."
Here are three fun facts you should know about the model as she celebrates her recent success.
She's a former Patriots cheerleader
A dancer by age 3, Kostek always dreamed of a career in professional sports. By the age of 20, she got the opportunity of a lifetime: to cheer for the New England Patriots.
“It’s kind of tough to get noticed,” she told Fox News. “Sure, I can kick my leg over my head, but how do I get noticed? I remember designing my costume as close to their uniform as possible so they can envision me already a member of their team. It worked!”
In 2013, she joined her 19 fellow cheerleaders on the sidelines to cheer on the NFL team in front of thousands of die-hard New England fans. Every day, Kostek had to fight to keep her spot on the squad.
“We’re there five hours prior to a game day,” she explained. “So we’re there before even the players show up, practicing our routines. So it can be a 12-hour day sometimes, depending on how the game goes.
She's dating NFL star Rob Gronkowski
Contrary to popular belief, Kostek didn't meet her current beau on the football field. In fact, the star revealed it was essentially forbidden to have romantic relationships with the players.
“It’s completely frowned upon,” said Kostek. “When you make the team, you’re completely two separate entities. Although you’re a Patriots cheerleader, you are not one team. As cheerleaders, we would be removed, cut from the team. It’s now allowed.”
Kostek said she was actually introduced to New England Patriots tight end Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski after she quit the squad in March 2015. For months, the pair denied having a romantic relationship, though they started posting loving photos of one another on Instagram.
By fall 2015, they were celebrating birthdays together, attending red carpet events arm in arm and publicly supporting each other's endeavors. Kostek was frequently spotted in the stands among New England fans – even sporting Gronk's jersey – in 2016, according to E! News.
In February 2017, a TMZ report claimed the pair split and Gronk "moved on." Kostek contradicted the news by posting photos of herself sporting Gronk's jersey. They also attended a wedding together three months later, per E! News.
And the couple appear to be going strong.
Gronk voiced his support for his other half when she found out she was named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's 2019 rookie in October 2018.
“It feels just unreal to say my girl is a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model,” the 29-year-old said. “It’s just unreal the work she’s been putting in and the workouts she’s been doing to stay in shape… to keep the booty juicy! She’s always been putting in the work and always the time, and she definitely deserves it."
She's a proud Connecticut native
Kostek majored in communications at Eastern Connecticut State University in Windham, Conn., her home state.
Because of her degree, Kostek was frequently nominated to speak on behalf of the squad during news interviews, the New Haven Register reports.
“It’s great for me to speak on behalf of the team and do things that I went to school for," she told the newspaper in 2015.
When she wasn't hitting the books at school, you could find Kostek working part time at Madison's Ciao Bella boutique, which often cheered the model on via social media.
"I can not wait to get into the store again and see all of the fall clothing and accessories! missing Ciao and all of the great people that work in it," Kostek wrote on the boutique's Facebook page in November 2013.
Fox News' Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.