6 Powerful Black-and-White SI Swim Photos of Ebonee Davis

The model was featured in the magazine five years ago after participating in a special studio project.
Ebonee Davis was photographed by Taylor Ballantyne in a New York studio.

Ebonee Davis was photographed by Taylor Ballantyne in a New York studio.

Ebonee Davis was named a 2018 SI Swimsuit rookie, having participated in the brand’s model search competition two years prior. She posed for a powerful black-and-white studio project called “In Her Own Words,” in which models chose words or phrases to be painted on their bodies before being photographed by Taylor Ballantyne in a New York studio.

“Unconditional” and “passion” were written along Davis’s arms, while words like “love” and “infinite” were displayed across her stomach. The 30-year-old model was also captured in the nude, sans any written words.

“Following the model search competition in 2016, I was certain my time with Sports Illustrated had reached its end,” Davis previously told SI Swimsuit. “Shortly after the competition wrapped, and after years of conforming to industry standards, I made the career altering decision to go natural and became vocal about the racial bias I experienced during my time in the industry. Getting the call to shoot for this year’s issue of Sports Illustrated was the last thing I expected, especially after changing my appearance and speaking out, but it was one of the most fulfilling moments of my career. What I know now that I didn’t know [then] is I am most powerful when I am creating from my own lane and my authentic self is good enough. I am not only coming back as a rookie, I am coming back as Ebonee. The real me. Unapologetic and 100% true to myself.”

Below are six dynamic images captured during Davis’s 2018 SI Swimsuit special feature.


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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.