Erin Willerton said she’s grateful to be part of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s newest issue, especially since it’s all about diversity.
The British model, along with 31 other models, recently headed to Miami for “SI Swimsuit on Location,” a two-day ticketed exhibition that gave fans the opportunity to explore one-of-a-kind installations and photo experiences, among others.
The magazine’s stars all celebrated at Mynt and Myn-Tu, the newly opened Japanese-French concept restaurant by Romain Zago next to the lounge. It was there where they candidly shared their experiences posing in the sizzling issue.
“I think… the issue speaks for itself really, doesn’t it?” said Willerton at the venue’s red carpet affair. “Look at it. Look at the amazing array of women that we have. For me, it’s just an honor to be part of such an inclusive magazine. I’m a student from England so being here is kind of surreal, but we made it and I’m just really, really happy.”
The publication announced earlier this year the issue aims to celebrate “beauty in all its forms” with “34 exceptional women.”
“Pretty faces? Yes — but also so much more,” the magazine declared. “Mothers. Athletes. Businesswomen. Women of color Women of different shapes and sizes. Women from all walks of life. What connects them? A determination to own who they are and demonstrate how limitless we can all be.”
The 21-year-old philosophy student from Bristol, England, is one of six contestants participating in the magazine’s model search competition. The other contestants include Brooks Nader, Jessica Aidi, Veronica Pome’e, Manuela Alvarez Hernandez and Bret Michaels’ daughter, Raine Michaels.
The competition earned Willerton a ticket to Paradise Island, The Bahamas, to shoot with photographer Yu Tsai.
“I’m a Swim Search Girl, so we’re all kind of just taking it all in,” said Willerton. “It’s super overwhelming. But… it’s been amazing.”
And being a pinup from the other side of the pond has its perks, she insisted.
“Miami is super, super fun,” she said. “When I came here I thought it was going to be a party town, but since I’ve seen it I think it’s just such a beautiful place. Like the beach, come on. You guys are just so lucky. I wish I had that in London.”
“I just look at the dirty river towns,” joked Willerton. “Honestly, I wish I had the beach to go to.”
Willerton previously told the magazine her family has been supportive of her titillating snaps.
“My parents/friends/family couldn’t be more supportive,” explained Willerton. “The people around me, and all the incredible women at SI understand that a woman may express herself in any way she pleases, whether she be a philosophy student or a full-time swimsuit model! Also, one of my favorite historical heroines, Hedy Lamarr, simultaneously maintained an academic career while being one of the sexiest women of all time!”
Willerton also stressed that while appearing in the magazine has led to numerous modeling gigs, she hasn’t forgotten about her studies.
“A degree is something that I will have forever and was always important to me,” she said. “However, the last year has offered me so many incredible modeling opportunities too. So instead of picking one or the other, I decided to work as hard as I could at both!”
“My dissertation that I’m currently writing is about the lack of diverse practitioners within the field of philosophy,” Willerton continued. “At undergraduate, it’s about a 50/50 gender split and then we drastically lose female philosophers in university departments and journal articles. I would love to be a model/ female philosopher. There’s much to say epistemically about what some people expect models to have to say in the world of philosophy, I would love to prove some of them wrong.”