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Gabriella Halikas Took Miami Swim Week by Storm

Here’s the 2021 SI Swim Search model’s take on her weekend.

Last year model Gabriella Halikas hit the SI Swimsuit runway at Miami Swim Week as one of our 2021 Swim Search finalists. Last week she walked in Miami Swim Week runway shows for Berry Beachy Swimwear, Cupshe and VDM the Label. She gives us her personal take on all things Miami Swim Week.

Gabriella Athena Halikas walks the runway for VDM The Label Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at The Paraiso Tent on July 17, 2022 

Gabriella Athena Halikas walks the runway for VDM The Label Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at The Paraiso Tent on July 17, 2022 

Nothing could have prepared me for what Swim Week really entails. Imagine a small room and hallway with hundreds of girls standing in swimsuits and heels, in 95+ degree weather, waiting for their name to be called to cast.

So many lines, various swimsuit brands and different rooms holding castings for hours on end. I believe I casted for eight hours on Tuesday and six on Wednesday, while simultaneously running around to different fittings and callbacks as well.

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This was my first time experiencing Swim Week for the full week of castings, and I can probably say I’ve never worked harder. With that said, it was still such an amazing experience, where I met so many people in our industry and connected with so many brands!

After the chaos of castings comes the shows! Each show had a different vibe. It was especially cool to see the uniqueness of each show, depending on the brand. Some shows were more traditional and some were not. The Pretty Little Thing show, for example, was not your typical runway setup. The models looked as if they were walking through a huge maze to get to the end of their runway—rather than just walking straight back and forth.

The Riot Swim show was cool as well, and the vibe of the models was a lot more serious. There weren’t many smiles shown during this show, but rather the women had more serious-empowering looks on their faces. They also had all the girls’ hair pulled back in low ponies, so the main focus of this show was strictly on their swimsuits.

Each of the shows I walked in were completely different from each other as well. 

The Berry Beachy Swimwear show had more bright colors, vibrant, playful and fun vibes, where the designers wanted it to feel like almost a dance party for the guests. The theme of this runway setup was more of an 80's dance party vibe!

Gabriella Athena Halikas walks the runway for Cupshe Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Miami Swim Week.

Gabriella Athena Halikas walks the runway for Cupshe Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at Miami Swim Week.

The Cupshe show was one of the most inclusive runways I’ve ever been on. They had a seperate show strictly for the Tabria Majors x Cupshe plus-size collection, where all the models were curve and plus-size. I felt so seen and included in this show, it was super empowering! This vibe was also fun, bright, happy, a little sexy and confident.

The last show I walked in was for VDM the Label. Every model was so beautiful and had the best energy— stunning and friendly. The designers wanted us to be a mix of serious, bold, sexy, fun and confident when walking. I loved how I got to walk with another girl who was a lot smaller than me because we showcased the same suit but on two different body types. The runway setup was great, the music was vibrant, and the vibes were high! I could tell the crowd loved this show!

Gabriella Athena Halikas walks the runway for VDM The Label Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at The Paraiso Tent on July 17, 2022 in Miami Beach, Florida. 

Gabriella Athena Halikas walks the runway for VDM The Label Fashion Show during Paraiso Miami Beach at The Paraiso Tent on July 17, 2022 in Miami Beach, Florida. 

Overall, one trend of the season definitely stood out. The majority of the suits were colorful and vibrant, and the creative direction matched that vibe. I saw a lot of smaller coverage bikinis and string bikinis! I definitely noticed micro suits as that were showcased on all body types and sizes. I loved my experience this past week and am so glad I got to be a part of Miami Swim Week this year.