Yumi Nu’s Swedish Massage in Belize Was ‘Perfection’

The four-time SI Swimsuit model and 2022 cover girl calmed her nerves ahead of this year’s photo shoot with some self-care.
Yumi Nu was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize.
Yumi Nu was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize. / Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated

Four-time SI Swimsuit model Yumi Nu traveled to the breathtaking Belize for her 2024 photo shoot with visual artist Derek Kettela. The 2022 cover girl, who made history that year as the magazine’s first plus-size Asian-American model to land on the front of an issue, calmed her nerves ahead of posing for her 60th anniversary feature with a wonderful massage at the Grand Caribe Belize resort.

The 27-year-old model and musician was greeted by massage therapist Kathy Silva, who set up a bed at the end of a dock under a canopy for Nu’s session. The location overlooked miles of crystal blue water, and there was a light breeze in the air, creating the perfect, picturesque setting for a massage.

“This massage for Yumi is a Swedish massage, which involves long strokes, tapping, kneading, which is mostly used for releasing stress, the pain of the muscles and mostly for relaxing,” Silva explained.

A Swedish massage is one of the most common types, and is gentler than a deep tissue massage, as the strokes are slower, longer and lighter. It is meant to provide gentle relaxation while warming up the muscles and breaking down the binding spots, relieving any tension or knots.

“I was a little nervous because I’m a little ticklish and I don’t really like hard [massages], but Kathy [nailed] it. I blacked out, fully drooling, snoring, I forgot where I was,” Nu explained. “I could hear [the ocean] crashing around me [with] the wind ... [it was] perfection. I can’t believe that I get to do this as my job, and then shoot my fourth year of [SI Swimsuit] tomorrow. [I have] no words. Thank you, Kathy, I really appreciated that.”

View Yumi Nu’s full 2024 SI Swimsuit gallery from Belize here.

Yumi Nu
Yumi Nu was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize. Swimsuit by Asta Resort. Scarf by Swimsuits for All x Camille Kostek. / Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated

Ananya Panchal