Ever wonder what it’s like to travel with SI Swimsuit? Tune into “Explore with Swim.”
Each episode will explore a new location through bespoke and raw experiences where there is no professional makeup, hairstyling or script. We highlight a range of exclusive, high-end, off-the-beaten path, and everyday experiences with our SI Swimsuit team and models. Come along the journey to embed yourself in local cultures, savor the flavor of local cuisine and explore the natural beauty of all of the amazing places Sports Illustrated Swimsuit travels.
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Camille Kostek grew up periodically visiting family in St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, so it’s only fitting she’d drop in a day before her 2022 beach shoot to have a day of extreme adventure with the SI Swimsuit team. Kostek bravely leaned into the packed day of excursions: she conquered her fear of heights while parasailing, danced on stilts with Moko Jumbie dancers and rewarded herself with a spin on a jet ski. It’s a wonder she wasn’t too exhausted for her time in front of Derek Kettela’s cameras the next day.
Surrounded by glistening blue waters, St. Croix is a country rich with history that feels exotic yet familiar all at once. “It is stunning. The blues, the colorful buildings here, the energy is just amazing,” Kostek says. On Travel Series Episode 2, follow the five-time SI Swimsuit model 600 feet in the air parasailing, experiencing the island's breathtaking views from above. “We’ll put a harness and a life jacket on you. We’re going to head out to where we’re going to fly, put a parachute up in the air and then bring you up, and clip you into the parachute,” explains Captain Jake Walter before releasing Kostek into the clouds. Floating high above St. Croix, she gushes, “They said this wasn’t scary… They lied! This literally has taken my breath away.” The incredible experience left Kostek speechless as she ended the excursion in awe, saying, “I have no words.”
With adrenaline trickling throughout her body, dancing with Moko Jumbie dancers seemed like the perfect outlet. Moko Jumbies are a cultural staple in St. Croix, and we all know Kostek is #NeverNotDancing. Covered head-to-toe in elaborate and decorative costumes, Moko Jumbie dancers stand on 10 to 20-foot-high stilts and traditionally have been said to ward away evil spirits.”Moko” means healer in Central Africa and “Jumbie” is a West Indian term for ghost or spirit. “This art form means a lot to us here in the Virgin islands, in the Caribbean, and by extension Africa,” says Willard John, president of Jumbie Productions Inc., “It's noted for being a part of carnival parades and festivals.”
It’s certainly not as easy as the Moko Jumbie dancers make it look. “I just learned how to walk on stilts. It was so scary, but it was so freeing,” says Kostek. “I’m learning a lot of new things today but this is one thing I’m going to remember forever. The first time that I've ever parasailed was today. You witnessed it and it literally took my breath away. I was up there. I needed to take a deep breath so I could truly enjoy the moment. And once I did, it was unbelievable to witness everything around me. I was so high up in the sky. What was I thinking? Next, we went to the Moko Jumbies. Again, what was I thinking? A beginner on stilts? It’s never too late. You’re never too old. Start now. Go for it. Put your fears aside because I just did that today and it’s very liberating.”
A day of tackling firsts and conquering fears concluded with jet skiing, Kostek’s favorite water sport. “It’s been incredible. I will remember this day forever and I’m so happy we ended it here on the beautiful waters in St. Croix, jet skiing. It was really freeing to be out there.”