SI Swim model Natalie Mariduena wants to ‘be an example’ of ‘body normalcy’
Posted onAuthorLeonora W. DownsComments Off on SI Swim model Natalie Mariduena wants to ‘be an example’ of ‘body normalcy’
Natalie Mariduena, an SI Swimsuit model who has nearly four million followers on Instagram alone, hopes to raise awareness of “body normality”.
The model first made a splash on the magazine’s pages in 2021 and was featured in this year’s issue available on newsstands now.
“In the industry, you see models that are very thin or you see models that are tall, but there’s not that kind of model that’s right in the middle,” the Chicago native told Fox News. Digital. “I try to stand up for that for others. I want to be an example of that and show that it’s cool and beautiful. [On social media] I show my body, I show my life, I show what I represent and what I appreciate without filter. Whether it’s an image in a bikini or just an image of me on the street in a cute outfit, I want to show that normal body size is valued.”
The 25-year-old insisted she wanted to use her platform to show her female followers that you don’t have to rely on filters and Photoshop to look good.
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“I have so many followers who are young women, very impressionable and who look up to me as an example to themselves,” she said. “I try to connect with people, whether it’s through DMs or the comments section. I’m often told, ‘I have your body type, thanks for showing it.’ These people show me their appreciation and I want to return that love. Because I have this platform, I think it’s more important than ever that I provide positivity to women.”
Mariduena praised SI Swimsuit for celebrating different body types, as well as women of different ages. For issue 2022, Mariduena was photographed in Belize by veteran photographer Yu Tsai.
“It’s the best feeling in the world as a model to be part of a magazine that accepts you and celebrates you for being yourself,” she said. “I remember we ended up shooting about 15 bright and early bikinis that day, in the jungle. I’m in waterfalls, I’m lying on rocks, I’m hanging from bridges, standing in rivers… [but] it was like a little party. You wouldn’t know it from looking at the pictures, but there are about 20-25 people behind the camera shouting, cheering you on and motivating you. They’re throwing a little dance party for you.”
Although it wasn’t the first time Mariduena had appeared in the magazine, her photos this year left her stunned, she insisted.
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“I was in shock,” she said. “I saw some of the photos as we were taking them, but seeing them in the actual magazine, it’s such a surreal feeling. It’s so weird to be this girl from a small town in Illinois who just had no idea things like that were a possibility for her. …And being a part of “Sports Illustrated” is probably one of the most empowering experiences I’ve ever had. I’m able to celebrate my body. They’re so inclusive and accepting. They do such a good job of including all women and creating such a community of acceptance that lifts each other up.”