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6 Viral Moments from SI Swimsuit at Past Miami Swim Weeks

There’s never a dull moment at these PARAISO Miami events, but these had the town and world talking!

There is no doubt that things are about to heat up in the 305 since PARAISO at Miami Swim Week is upon us. Every year the who’s who in swimwear heads to the Sunshine State to showcase the latest and greatest at runway shows and parties. The action is always nonstop, so naturally, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit will be bringing it all to you throughout the week. Over the weekend of July 15-16, SI Swim will host its own events and a big runway show that is set to break the Internet. Until then, take a look back at some of the highlights from recent years in Miami.

Making a Splash

MJ Day and Hailey Clauson at Miami Swim Week 2017.

MJ Day and Hailey Clauson at Miami Swim Week 2017.

At the first SI Swimsuit fashion show at the W Hotel in 2017, editor in chief MJ Day walked hand in hand with model Hailey Clauson. The two danced down the runway and at the end jumped in the pool. From the looks on their faces, the women didn’t regret their decision one bit!

Duty Calls

In 2018, SI Swim Search contestant Mara Martin had the cutest accessory as she walked down the runway in a gold bathing suit: her daughter, Aria, who she was breastfeeding. The proud mom took to Instagram after the memorable moment and wrote in part: “Anyone who knows me, knows it has been a lifelong dream of mine. I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!”

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Changing the Game

Halima Aden walks the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Runway at WET poolside lounge at W South Beach on July 14, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida

Halima Aden walks the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Runway at WET poolside lounge at W South Beach on July 14, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida

Halima Aden opened SI Swim’s show in 2019 wearing a custom floral burkini from designer Cynthia Rowley. The swimsuit had “Don’t Change Yourself, Change the Game” written on the sleeves and was a poignant message for all to be true to themselves.

Better With Age

Kathy Jacobs walks the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach. 

Kathy Jacobs walks the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach. 

In the summer of 2019, Kathy Jacobs, then 55, traveled to Miami to participate in the franchise’s in-person Swim Search casting. She nailed the interview and advanced to the finalists group, which walked in the runway show. Jacobs ultimately was named a co-winner of the 2020 Swim Search. She returned to the Miami runway in 2021 for the brand. “This is what Runway domination at 57 years old and 5’2” tall looks like on the surface,” she wrote on Instagram. “What you don’t see are the years of hundreds of rejections, discipline, heartbreak, and balls to the wall perseverance behind what it took to be in this short video! Fake it till you make it. If you fall down get back up and try again!”

Bald and the Beautiful

Christie Valdiserri walks the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach

Christie Valdiserri walks the runway during the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach

Christie Valdiserri walked the runway in confidence. In 2019, the Swim Search alum and professional dancer, who has alopecia, decided to take off her blonde wig while posing for the cameras to show that bald is beautiful. “I want to show the confidence that I’ve worked so hard for and my love for life to radiate through my posts and through my presence every day, so young girls or other women who are losing their hair or have been hiding under a wig for years have at least a small glimpse of hope, she said in an Instagram post on SI’s page. “I want to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold.”

Active IVF 

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Katrina Scot walked the runway while openly going through IVF treatments. The 2021 Rookie of the Year has spoken openly and vulnerably about her struggles with infertility. At the time Scott shared, "So many of us as women, we don’t feel ready — we’re not ready to go to the pool, or beach - I wanted to walk that runway exactly as I am right now." Scott has since made history yet again as the first visibly pregnant woman to be photographed in SI Swimsuit.