Skip to main content

Olivia Ponton Reflects on Living 100% in Her Truth

The SI Swimsuit rookie opens up about Pride Month and coming out as pansexual.

Olivia Ponton is feeling love and inspiration this Pride Month. It‘s been a year since she first came out as bisexual, and earlier this month the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie revealed that she identifies as pansexual. Being able to live her truth to the fullest has been amazing for her mental health. “I would say I’m more confident, happier, more just overall feeling like myself,” she says. “I feel like before I wouldn’t really let myself accept those feelings that I was feeling, so I think now I’m just honestly, very happy and O.K. with myself.”

The 20-year-old has relied on LGBTQ+ organizations like GLAAD and The Trevor Project to help her better understand herself and learn more about the community. “Coming out to such a large audience, I wanted to make sure that I was educated on what was happening in the community at the time,” she shares. “I’m very grateful that I have such amazing organizations to be able to look up to for educational purposes for my own self, and then also the education that I’m able to share with others.”

Ponton notes that not a day goes by without someone reaching out to her through her social channels to ask for advice and support about their own sexuality, wondering if coming out is a good idea or if others will be accepting of that choice. “I get DMs pretty much on the daily,” she says. “I think that’s honestly one of the main reasons why I love social media so much.”

Scroll to Continue

More from SwimLife

Ponton advises to “just be yourself,” which she knows is easier said than done. “The people that are in your life that are going to accept you are going to accept you regardless of whatever you identify as or your sexuality,” she adds. “I think it’s super important that people know that with loving yourself, other people will love you and that your feelings are totally valid.”

As Ponton discovered, there is also an entire community ready to accept and be there for you. “Something that I struggled a lot with coming out was thinking that I was the only person that was going through what I was going through, and then suddenly you are entered into this community where there are thousands of people who feel the same exact way that you do,” she says. “People are so supportive and so kind. It’s like a whole new world, and I think it’s something super special to be a part of.”

After coming out to her mom last year on a call, which she recounts on Alexandra Cooper’s Call Her Daddy podcast, she sent her father a T-shirt ahead of Pride Month that read “My daughter is gay,” something he still wears proudly. “He sends me pictures of it randomly, especially for Pride Month,” she says. “I just absolutely love it.”

It’s been a whirlwind month for SI Swimsuit’s social media editor at large. She celebrated Pride events in Los Angeles and then packed up and moved across the country to New York City, where she is currently getting situated. Ponton attended the Alice & Olivia Pride Prom and plans to go to the legendary NYC Pride Parade this weekend.