Rookie of the Year voting begins this week! Before you cast your vote, spend some time getting to know the 12 members of our incredible rookie class. Last, but not least, is Alexis Ren!
Sports Illustrated: Let's start from the beginning. Where are you from?
Alexis Ren: I’m from Santa Monica, which was an awesome place to grow up. You’re very spoiled being from California. When it’s below 70, you complain. When it rains, you talk about it. I was home-schooled my entire life and never been in a classroom
SI: You have nearly 12 million followers on Instagram tracking your every move. Is there anyhing your fans know about you?
AR: I consider myself a nerd. I love science and technology. I like talking about the future and what it holds for us. These are exciting times with what’s going on with A.I. and all those things.
SI: How did you get your start on Instagram?
AR: There were other platforms first. I was on Tumblr when I was 12 or 13. I was on YouTube, too. I had a channel and made music videos. It had 50,000 subscribers. I was home-schooled and just wanted to feel a part of something bigger than myself. To be able to do that from my bedroom on the laptop - it was just a completely new concept. I loved being able to to talk to people from all over the world. It grew from that. When I started modeling full-time at 14, I got an Instagram. I don’t think anyone was really shooting photos from the model’s perspective back then. So when I started doing that, all the people from Tumblr that knew me came to Instagram. It’s really cool because most of my fans are around my same age so they got to grow with me and all the stuff I had to deal with. They watched and learned from my experiences. I have a unique connection with my following. It’s like a family.
SI: What’s your message to fans who are seeing you in SI Swimsuit for the first time/
AR: You are enough. It’s okay not to be okay. You’re not alone. Those are the top three things I go off the bat about. I love talking to them because I love seeing where my presence in this world affected has affected their own life. To know I affected a person thousands of miles away just because i lived my life to the fullest as much as I possibly can and I inspired them to do the same. It doesn’t get better than that.
SI: Let's end on something light. How did you pull of that jumping split?
AR: It was all about stretching and getting ready... Plus, the adrenaline really helped.
See some of Alexis' hottest Instagram photos: