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Tanaye White Gives us the Inside Scoop on Winning SI Swim Search

Looking back on the Swim Search journey, advice for next year's hopefuls and what's next for the rising star.

SI: You are officially an SI Swimsuit rookie! What does this moment feel like?

TW: This moment is unbelievable. I cannot begin to explain every detail of what this means to me. I took a leap of faith in starting this journey two years ago and sacrificed a lot along the way. I am ready to thrust myself into everything this has to offer and I want to uplift and encourage women to live unapologetically along the way.

SI: What was the first thing you did after you got the big news? Who did you tell?

TW: I first called Mara Martin, the breastfeeding mama from the 2019 search, who has been my literal rock throughout this whole process and has helped keep me sane. Then I called my mom who shouted with joy. Tears and screams all around!

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SI: This is your second time casting for SI Swim Search. Your first year you made it to the Sweet 16, but not the final six. What inspired you to come back for a second try?

TW: My inner desire to try harder and go harder was eating away at my spirit. I had countless restless nights going back and forth about whether I wanted to try again or go back to a “normal” life. I know my conscience would not let me NOT try again. I never want to live life thinking, “What if?”

SI: If you could give advice to the next wave of SI Swim Search hopefuls, what would that be?

TW: This is your chance to show some of the elite in the game what you’ve got! No matter if you are a model or aspiring to become one, show who YOU are. Personality, creativity, every facet of you. Show what makes you, you. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

SI: What has been the most challenging part of the SI Swim Search journey?

TW: The most challenging part is definitely the waiting. Waiting for an email, or a phone call, or video call. It can drive you crazy!


SI: What’s the most rewarding?

TW: The most rewarding part is the friendships you make along the way and the confidence and courage that comes from interacting and getting to know the SI team. I’ve met women through this experience whom I now talk to every day! And the SI team is full of boss women. Boss women beget boss women.

SI: Doors are about to blow open for you -- Name three brands or companies you’d love to work with.

TW: Chileee! Let me speak this into existence right NOW! LaQuan Smith, everything Fenty, Nike. But the list could go on. In 2018, I wrote down all of brands I’ve dreamed about working with and the list has been growing ever since!

SI:If you could shoot your rookie spread anywhere (dreaming in a perfect COVID-free world), where would you pick?

TW: I’m dreaming of some rainforest-like dreamy escape, so Thailand or Argentina!

SI: Lastly, what’s next for you? Anything exciting coming down the pipeline?

TW: I’m really excited to possibly move to Los Angeles and get my own apartment.