Berkleigh Wright’s Rookie Photo Shoot Was ‘Surreal’ and So Are the Photos

The 2023 SI Swim Search co-winner made the most of her trip to Belize.
Berkleigh Wright was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize.
Berkleigh Wright was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize. / Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated

Last year, Berkleigh Wright was an SI Swimsuit hopeful. She submitted her name to the 2023 SI Swim Search, the brand's annual open casting call, in the hopes of joining the cast of models on the pages of the 2024 magazine.

Earlier this year, she brought her dreams to life. After co-winning the Swim Search alongside six other finalists, Wright had the chance to travel to Belize, where she was photographed by Derek Kettela for the 60th anniversary issue.

In a photo shoot inspired by the recent red trend in the fashion world, the NFL cheerleader absolutely glowed on the beaches of San Pedro on the Ambergris Caye. Not only was the moment a dream come true for Wright, but it was inspiring, too. “The pace of life in Belize was so refreshing,” she reflected following the trip. “Everyone we came into contact with was so welcoming, joyful, and full of zest for life! It really inspired me to adopt that kind of lifestyle and mindset. Being there truly put me at peace.”

Wrapping up her rookie photo shoot was “bittersweet.” While sad to see the experience come to an end, hearing editor in chief MJ Day say, “It’s a wrap on your rookie shoot!” and the team celebrating was “surreal,” she said. “It was genuinely the most incredible experience of my life, and I was so beyond proud of us and grateful for this team, but I didn’t want it to end!”

We shared the sentiment with the sweet rookie. And while it did end, we’re grateful to have a series of brilliant photos to remind us of the experience for years to come. Here are some of our favorites.

Berkleigh Wright
Berkleigh Wright was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus. Top by Andi Bagus. / Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated
Berkleigh Wright
Berkleigh Wright was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize. / Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated
Berkleigh Wright
Berkleigh Wright was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize. Swimsuit by Frankies Bikinis. / Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated
Berkleigh Wright
Berkleigh Wright was photographed by Derek Kettela in Belize. Swimsuit by Andi Bagus.Glasses by Oscar x Frank. / Derek Kettela/Sports Illustrated

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Martha Zaytoun

MARTHA ZAYTOUN

Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.