Angel Reese Explains How Her ‘Bayou Barbie’ Nickname Originated

LSU’s star forward, who appears in this year’s SI Swimsuit Issue, talks about building a brand around her moniker.

Angel Reese was photographed by Yu Tsai in Los Angeles. Top by Solo Studio. 

After helping LSU win the NCAA women’s basketball championship last month, Angel Reese is on top of the world. The 6'3" junior forward was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four and averaged 21.3 points and 15.2 rebounds in the Tigers’ six tournament victories. During the 2022–23 season, the Baltimore native set an NCAA record with 34 double doubles.

Shortly after winning the NCAA title, Reese, who is known as “Bayou Barbie,” joined  photographer Yu Tsai in Los Angeles for an SI Swimsuit Issue photo shoot. While she was on set, she divulged where her nickname (which is currently pending a trademark) came from. The answer may surprise you.

“The name Bayou Barbie came from a fan in Baton Rouge. She just called me the Bayou Barbie, and my mom heard it and we just ran with it,” Reese says. “I mean, it kind of fits me. I’m in Baton Rouge, which is the bayou, and then the Barbie part is my nails, lashes, hair [which are] always done on the court, so yeah, it went together.”

Whether she’s on the court or snapping lifestyle photos for Instagram, she lives up to her moniker and is always perfectly coiffed. Reese currently offers Bayou Barbie merch, including crewneck sweatshirts, T-shirts, cropped hoodies and more. She hopes to build an even bigger brand around her nickname and offer a line of beauty products.

“I want to do a lash line and I want to do an edge control line. I’m trying to figure out which direction I’m going to go in, because it could be many different directions and different companies have reached out,” she says. “[I’m] just trying to find the right thing that fits me the most.”

While Reese has that creative individual to thank for her appropriate nickname, she also has the support and adoration of many other fans (including 1.8 million Instagram followers), family members, fellow students and even celebrities. Case in point: Both Drake and Future have slid into her DMs to shout their praises. 

“So many people have congratulated me. [I’ve] met so many crazy people that I never thought I would meet. Just to be able to see how much they embrace us, be it LeBron [James] saying something about us, it’s been so much fun,” she says. “I love just the support that we’ve been getting. You have to realize that these have been men who are actually respecting women’s basketball, so that also helps.”

Meet Angel Reese—read the 2023 SI Swimsuit model’s full feature profile here.

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.