Olivia Ponton on What Pride Month Means to Her, Coming Out and Navigating Internet Fame

The TikTok influencer has become an inspiration to the young LGBTQ+ community through her relatable content.
Olivia Ponton was photographed by Amanda Pratt in Dominica. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus. Bracelets by Eklexic Jewelry.

Olivia Ponton was photographed by Amanda Pratt in Dominica. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus. Bracelets by Eklexic Jewelry.

Olivia Ponton is a name you should know by now. The two-time SI Swimsuit model, who was photographed by James Macari in Montenegro last year, returned to the magazine and worked with Amanda Pratt in Dominica for the 2023 issue.

The social media star, who began regularly sharing content during the pandemic, has amassed 11.1 million followers across Instagram and TikTok. She attributes her rapid social media success to consistency, authenticity and sharing honest, relatable content that people her age will resonate with.

The 21-year-old recently chatted with SI Swimsuit about all things Pride Month, entrepreneurship and special fan moments.

“I post my life and show up online how I am every day. If I have a bad day, I talk about it. If I have the best day, I also talk about it,” the Florida native explains. “I think that has led to me fostering a really close community online and has given people something that they can hopefully connect to.”

Not only is Ponton, who identifies as pansexual, a micro style icon and the epitome of a New York City girl, she’s also an inspiration to and an influential member of the young LGBTQ+ community. She often creates candid content about her experiences and identity.

Olivia Ponton was photographed by Amanda Pratt in Dominica. Swimsuit by Monica Hansen Beachwear.

Olivia Ponton was photographed by Amanda Pratt in Dominica. Swimsuit by Monica Hansen Beachwear.

“I am so blessed to have built a family of like-minded people around me who support everyone for who they are. Being a part of a community that is so accepting truly is an amazing feeling and brings so much joy to my life,” Ponton says. “Pride Month is the one month of the year where you are able to experience all of the love the community has to offer.”

Olivia Ponton’s Pride Collection with American Eagle

Ponton released a clothing line with American Eagle outfitters in honor of pride month. The collection launched in May exclusively at ae.com.

“The design process took us over a year. It was endless meetings, Pinterest boards and back-and-forth with the American Eagle team to come up with designs that encompassed exactly what we were envisioning,” Ponton says. “It was incredible to partner with such an iconic brand to bring awareness and celebrate Pride Month. I feel so honored to be representing my community through this collection and am so proud.”

Shop our favorites from the collection here.

How to be a good LGBTQ+ ally

The model is constantly advocating for the young LGBTQ+ community and sharing her experiences with dating, coming out and meeting people with her followers. She’s also outspoken about how individuals, and the industry as a whole, can do and be better to be more accepting and inclusive. 

“Attending Pride and just being receptive and open-minded is a great way to learn,” she says. “Speaking openly about my day-to-day life, sharing my personal coming out story, shining light on current events affecting our community, and ultimately just being my true self has allowed me to spread awareness and promote allyship through my online platforms.”

Favorite fan moment

Ponton has been candid about one of the biggest perks of internet fame being the stories she gets to hear from fans, particularly when they tell her that she had a special place in their coming out journey.

“A girl once came up to me at a party, and I walked her through (literally step-by-step) how to come out to her friends at that exact party. I remember her crying in my arms that night because her friends were so accepting—it was something I will never forget,” Ponton recalls. “Being able to support and help others is such an amazing feeling and I feel blessed I get to do that.”

She adds that being yourself is never something to be ashamed of. Coming out was difficult for her, too, but she took her time with it and felt better after.

“Immediately after coming out, I felt such a weight lifted off of my shoulders and relieved that I could fully embrace myself and those around me,” she shares. “Being able to express myself has given me the opportunity to have the platforms I have to hopefully encourage others to do the same.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.