Paige VanZant is officially a part of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit family! You may be used to seeing her kick some serious butt in the UFC Octagon, but now she is showing off a softer side of herself in this year’s issue. If you haven’t seen all of Paige's photos, you’re definitely missing out. This wasn’t her first time in front of the camera, and we sure hope it won’t be her last! We caught up with Paige to talk about what being in SI Swimsuit means to her, her dedication to fighting, and more!
On landing a spot in SI Swimsuit 2019: I was unbelievably shocked that SI Swimsuit called and asked if I would be apart of their magazine. I have constantly been having to prove to the world and UFC fans that you can be beautiful and a bad ass at the same time. Well, now it's my moment to shine.
On what being in the issue means to her: This is my way of not holding anything back. I want people to know that you don’t have to choose. You do not have to label yourself as one thing because that's what surrounds you. I'm not scared anymore to show how girly I am. To go from an amazing UFC finish win in January, to shooting for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit magazine in February could not be more of a dream come true.
On her experience shooting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: Puerto Vallarta was magical! The beaches were beautiful, the food was amazing, and the people made us feel like family. I am so happy that I was able to bring my husband on the shoot with me. We haven’t been able to go on a honeymoon yet and after visiting Puerto Vallarta, we are sure that this is where we want to spend it and are in the process of planning it.
On her love for modeling: As a little girl I aspired to be a lot of things. Dirt bike racer, professional dancer, fire fighter or a model. I got a small taste of modeling as a child by being in some ads for a few clothing companies. I never got a real feel for it until later on in my career. Being in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is the pinnacle of my modeling career thus far. I would love to continue modeling and show off the girly side of me that people don’t get to see when I am training for fights.
On her passion for fighting: Fighting for me was never a choice. It was never something I watched as a child or looked up to anyone doing. Fighting found me. It’s who I am. I walked into a gym one day and realized I was home. My career took off right when I was 18. It’s a rush. Its dedication. Day in and day out sacrificing and grinding for the most amazing feeling in the world, getting your hand raised after a hard fought war.
See all of Paige's gorgeous photos from SI Swimsuit 2019: