SI Swimsuit

SI Swimsuit editor in chief MJ Day’s favorite part of open casting is getting to connect with each Swim Search hopeful, sharing stories, listening and lending advice. She was crushed that she hasn’t had the chance to do that in person this year, but here’s the next best thing! Every week MJ will be answering YOUR questions and giving out the best tips, tricks and advice she’s picked up during her long-time career with SI Swim. Have a question for MJ? Email her at dearmj@si.com All questions will be kept anonymous, so don’t hold back!

Dear MJ,

When was it that you found a passion in editorial? I saw you went to the University of Mary Washington (my fiancé’s daughter graduated from there, Go Eagles! 🦅 ) and studied political science. Often times we put so much pressure on 18-21 year olds to already know what they want to do when they grow up. Did you ever imagine you’d be where you are now with SI? Also, if you could give your 30-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

xoxo

GO EAGLES!!!! I love that you are familiar with UMW! It’s such a wonderful institution and I credit much of it with getting me to where I am today! I was a rather lackluster political science student there, but it was that experience which took me overseas for the first time to study abroad. After a summer of cultural immersion, I realized life held a lot more opportunity for me than I could have ever imagined. I always had a passion for creating and the arts, even from the earliest days. I grew up in a loving, working-class environment hanging bedsheets in my room as a backdrop and shooting my friends in my grandmother’s accessories from the 50s with a Le Clic (remember those?) camera, but had very little exposure to the professional possibilities that existed in the field.

dear-mj-breastfeeding
MJ breast pumping on set in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands in 2015, juggling professional self and motherhood.

I entered the workforce with no experience or ego and I learned, watched and absorbed information from the talented professionals that surrounded me. I was able to fine-tune my own position in the industry this way. I knew I wanted to work as a creative; I remember that while I was working as an intern at InStyle, I journaled that I wanted to run my own magazine one day. I promise you I wake up every day, pinching myself that I sit where I do today. I worked my butt off for it, I still work my butt off for it, because getting comfortable is never an option if you want to continue to succeed.

dear-mj-model-with-baby
Left: MJ Day with her son on his 1st birthday. Right: Hailey Clauson with MJ's son in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands in 2015.

My 30-year-old self needed a lot of advice. I was a new mom having to leave my baby for weeks at a time while we shot remotely, with a lot of bills to pay, a husband in med school that I was supporting on a barely liveable salary. I was frustrated with my situation and felt undervalued. Advocate for yourself. The job will never love you back, so prioritize yourself and your loved ones. Whatever your line of work is, you are your business. So take care of that. Be rational, realistic and be forgiving to yourself. Set goals while allowing yourself the flexibility to meet them. If you keep working towards those goals, they may look a little different and they will happen when the universe is ready, but you will get there! Also, if you think your 30s are when you are going to be feeling your best and most confident, wait until your 40s!

xx MJ

Comments (84)
No. 1-50
Katherine.Messano
Katherine.Messano

I loved this so much!! I read it when you guys posted it on the main site. So much respect & admiration for you @MJ Day for not giving up when things got intense. I appreciate women like you that fight for what they want in life. So amazing that you brought your baby along to the shoots, just right there u were being amazing by playing many roles (independent hard working woman, & a mother,) thank you for being real. I appreciate that a lot. Xoxoxo ❤️😘

Karla Ortiz
Karla Ortiz

It's super inspiring to read to you @MJ Day I love the priorities you set regarding family and how tenacious you are. You can see that you have mettle and I love that. There is nothing like experience and knowledge. While I was reading you I saw myself reflected. Thank you so much for sharing your life experience and creating this beautiful community of powerful women. I am 36 years old, and I feel complete! 4 years ago I wanted to participate in the casting but I never had the courage, after my 2 emergency c-section my perspective on life changed! I do not want to die of this life without first fulfilling the desires of my heart! And being part of this wonderful movement is one of them! Thank you!

Maddi320
Maddi320

Thanks for not giving up! You’re an amazing and beautiful role model for us all!

Mikaela Kane
Mikaela Kane

Ultimate respect to you @MJ Day ... Following your heart will never lead you wrong, and its stories like this that prove it. When the going gets tough, I need to remember that the Universe is on my side. Never will I be afraid to advocate for myself and know my worth again-I never know where it will take me!!

Monroe 45
Monroe 45

I have the utmost respect for you @MJDAY. You have literally worked every area in sports illustrated magazine. You have changed millions of women’s perception of them selves in such a positive way! So grateful for this opportunity you have made possible for all of us. Your son is adorable I remember that age and it goes by so fast. Your a true gem and thank you for believing in all of us. 💗🌷😘🥂

megespa
megespa

Great questions. I admire your perseverance. I love those pics of you with your son! I gave birth to my daughter in 2013 and was working full time at a restaurant as a hostess on minimum wage. When I went back to work, there was no area dedicated for me to pump so I had to pump in the banquet manager’s office where multiple staff would walk in on me because there was no lock 🙈 at the time, I didn’t really care because i always thought of it as such a natural thing but some of my coworkers were extremely uncomfortable with it. I’m glad that things have changed since then and love how much you advocate for strong, working women and mothers. 💕 @MJDAY

LeslieTruan
LeslieTruan

I love that statement about never getting comfortable if you want to be successful. We’ve all had our share of struggles and felt like if we could just get to a certain point we’d be okay.

Starting nursing school this year, my professors said, “You will always be a novice if you want to be a good nurse. The moment you think you’ve learned everything there is to know is the moment you need to re-evaluate or get out of healthcare.”. This statement alongside YuTsai discussing the importance of owning “your story” led me to a Harvard Business Review article. It said that we often discredit ourselves during transitional times with this lie that our story isn’t good enough. Because we can’t see that this phase is the turning point where our story gets good, we can’t fully own it! The truth is, our transitions are the build towards something better! They give our story suspense.

Now, I hope my life is full of twists and turns that keep me uncomfortable and on my toes because that’s what keeps life interesting and allows us to connect with others; because you’ll never reach the top alone.

Summerwilson
Summerwilson

Incredible read and a ROLE MODEL for all women everywhere - thanks for sharing and BEING YOU!

sierramcgowan
sierramcgowan

Thank you @MJ Day for sharing your story! You have shown us how perseverance, a little manifesting, and self-advocacy give us the tools to create the lives we dream of! Thanks for forging the path.

Nathaliedendekker
Nathaliedendekker

Love reading your story. Thank you for sharing and thank you for all the motivational words of advice! ❤️🙏🏼

Rachel Willingham
Rachel Willingham

This feels so timely, as an (almost) 30-year old mother of a 2 year old boy, trying to balance being a good mom with being successful in my career and personal growth goals. Thank you!!

Ashleybelk
Ashleybelk

This is such an amazing story. It really inspires me to work harder everyday and to really strive for my dreams. Do what you love am I right!
I had a lot of fear trying to get my self out there but this community and reading your stories made me realize to do what my heart wants and not worry about the fear coming with it.
@MJ Day you are such a lovely hard working women and I’m so happy you got to reach what you wanted to do and with not giving up. You are such a great role model. Lots of love!! ❤️❤️

Margaret McMillan
Margaret McMillan

Thank you for sharing @MJ Day and your wonderful advice to never give up and work hard!! Such an amazing role model and person!!

jordynserrino
jordynserrino

Wow @MJ Day this really inspired me today. Your values and mindset are beautiful and it is definitely an attitude I’m trying to implement in my day to day life. Thank you for sharing yourself. 🤍

confidencequeen
confidencequeen

Loved how submissive you became @MJ Day for your family. You made time for your son and husband. This teaches us to also be in our feminine energy which is also important .

Cathbria99
Cathbria99

Thank you for sharing that @MJ Day I'm inspired & I love learning from beautiful, strong, smart & successful women like yourself. I couldn't agree with you more! 😊 🧡 I'm now 50 & that is 1 of the most important things I learned in my 30's. I was a single mom & I got caught up just focusing on being a mom. I lost myself in a way & started to ignore my dreams, goals & personal needs. Sometimes you are so busy taking care of everyone else but you. You forget the beautiful, sexy & ambitious woman inside yourself. So that's 1 of my platforms is to show all the amazing moms, well women in general, that you need to make YOU a priority. You need to find your happiness, your success & find the Smart, Beautiful, Vibrant, & Sexy Woman that's inside all of us! The more we love ourselves, take care of ourselves the happier, more confident & more successful we will all be!! Have a great day everyone!😊❤🧡🤗

erincagney
erincagney

I love this!
And feel even more inspired reading your story & struggles. We all have them and it definitely gets hard sometimes to stay focused & stay positive. Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with us!

Shanaia Ashley
Shanaia Ashley

Wow I love this! Such an inspiration and very relatable! Thank you for sharing your story and words of wisdom. YOU are your biggest priority. We have to be gentle with ourselves but also stay hungry for our goals.

SarraWolfe
SarraWolfe

So happy to hear that 40s will be even better! I wouldn't change being in my 30s for a moment! Way happier then in my 20s!!! Love having these articles. Especially opening up about balancing career and family. I was in a terrible career and put my happiness second, worst time of my life! Looking forward to what's coming next and hopefully leaning to balance a family along with goals. It's good to see women pave the way and show IT CAN BE DONE. I appreciate that immensely. @mjday 🙌

DeonnaPurrazzo
DeonnaPurrazzo

I loved reading this! No matter what age, it seems relatable and like advice you can never hear enough! ❤️

Rhonn_14
Rhonn_14

Very inspirational message. To be honest I was like this in my mid 20. Single mom working in the city and I leave my son to my parents so I can help the entire family. I have to balance work and life and being a mother. I’m proud and happy that I made it.

RachelClareWeiss
RachelClareWeiss

I am smiling so big because these are two of the questions I was going to ask you @MJ Day ! I love the photos shown because of the beauty and power they speak. I have the utmost respect for you given your dedication, inspiring heart, and for being YOU. I emphasize more than anything to be YOU. I admired my mom growing up because she always made time for herself, and was truly a "Supermom" when it came to juggling each of her jackets. I admire the same about you and appreciate hearing your story so much!! Thank you for sharing and for opening up this community to all of us beautiful women!!

kimiafs
kimiafs

This is amazing!

Alexandria Chere
Alexandria Chere

I love how genuine an open @MJ Day is and how she never gave up. As women we have battles that we face everyday in the work world as well as in our everyday lives. MJ shows us that success isn't about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work will lead to greatness and MJ is proof of that! 

ayeshaadamo
ayeshaadamo

Love reading this @MJ Day ! Great advice, and so true what you've said about hitting your 40s :)

Monroe 45
Monroe 45

You are a true beauty and you really care about not only your work . Your family life as well. I’ve been bullied my whole life, even now as an adult. I have several reasons why I would be an amazing addition to your family. Im always told very glamorous, not sure if that works against me or not? I want to impress you and S.I. Family, it’s not a dream it’s my goal. Do you ever bring your son on set? He sure reminds me of his fast our babies grow. Mine is now 23🌷Every woman has a story and a reason to be on your magazine. I’m 45, single mom, business owner, I’m not one to beg or please pick me. I’m just me, you know your intuition what’s a good fit for you and the S.I. Family! Looks and body aren’t everything as we know. If we don’t have a good heart and we only care about number 1, it’s not real then is it? With all my heart and soul and the universe what’s meant to be will be. MJ DAY I hope your heart says Kirsten Monroe 💗 have a lovely evening 🌸😘

Aestrada
Aestrada

I enjoyed reading this very much! It’s so refreshing and reassuring to hear your words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing with us!

FJLau
FJLau

Aloha MJ 🌺
Ok, I can totally hear the sound of the breast pump lol. Been through it twice and boy it really hurt at times...being an X-Flight Attendant pumping in tight quarters was no fun, but we do what we have to for our child(ren) & Ohana. I truly appreciate your read as it reminds me to remain focused, keep smiling and even at “43” my chances are just as good as the person next or surrounding me. Kindness is love. Mahalo kindly oxox

AprilLambert
AprilLambert

This is unbelievably touching and yet so realistic that it stands hairs up on my whole body! I feel such a connection to this story and this family! God bless @Mjday for the inspiration and boost in motivation xo

Maya Dove
Maya Dove

This is so cool, no words! Thanks @MJ Day ❤️

Dannii Marie
Dannii Marie

@MJ Day SOOOO INSPIRING. Im in love with the honesty and energy here. Thank you so much for sharing. You are proof that working hard, creating your goals and following dreams equals success. ❤️❤️❤️

Kellyjpj
Kellyjpj

That is such a great story. Where did you study abroad? Does your son have red hair? I have two gingers 😊❤

Miafiorenzi
Miafiorenzi

Absolutely incredible!! Such an inspiration and motivating career path!

dietitianillustrated
dietitianillustrated

Amazing!! So inspiring and motivational. Thank you for sharing this Q&A!

Robinlynnmcfadden
Robinlynnmcfadden

What an inspirational story and thank you for sharing. You have that grit and determination that drove you to catch your dream. It also brought back memories of that dreaded breast pump in the bathroom at work!

Rish
Rish

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Jschopp226
Jschopp226

This is so fantastic MJ! I’m also a political science major who after graduating realized my true passion for creating. Such great advice, thank you for sharing your story.

Tro
Tro

Wow, I appreciate you being vulnerable to tell us a piece of your story! Thank you for the inspiration!

Troi
Troi

Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing a piece of your story with us! Very inspiring.

Barbarella Piccoli
Barbarella Piccoli

i love this so much!!

Chelsonhealth
Chelsonhealth

THIS!! It is all a journey, not a destination! Enjoy each part of it and be kind to yourself always. God has a plan!

torikerlin
torikerlin

This was so inspiring to read. I feel we can all relate in some way to MJ's story. I hope to one day have the balance she has with prioritizing family and her own dreams and career.

morgansheets
morgansheets

Loved the opportunity to read this part of MJ's story and hear her advice. Thank you so much for sharing these pieces of you with us!

I love hearing where more of your heart, values , and mindset. Makes me appreciate and want to work with you even more!!

brynnbeaudoin
brynnbeaudoin

I am always asked what SI model I look up to the most, but it’s truly the SI team and the behind the scenes that inspires me the most. If I never model for SI, I hope I work for your team in another way! I graduate in one month if you’re hiring 🤓

ksmallcanyon
ksmallcanyon

"If you keep working towards those goals, they may look a little different and they will happen when the universe is ready, but you will get there!" 🙌🏽🙌🏽
Thank you for sharing–your work ethic and inclusivity is so admirable!!

DanielleDiLorenzo
DanielleDiLorenzo

Such an inspiration!! Love and adore you so much MJ thank you for creating this incredible platform!!!♥️♥️♥️

Kristen Louelle
Kristen Louelle

"If you keep working towards those goals, they may look a little different and they will happen when the universe is ready, but you will get there!"

I couldn't love this more. Never giving up. Family first. And everything unfolds exactly how it should <3

CieraRay
CieraRay

This post just inspired me to keep going! Thank you @MJ Day and shout out to All of my Mama's out there! I am a Autism Mama, and creating tiny humans, is our super power!

PriscillaDelCastillo
PriscillaDelCastillo

Truly so inspirational

Venanta
Venanta

I love this. Thank you MJ for your encouragement. I love how your strength shines through so beautifully in this ❤️


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