Ellie Thumann on How SI Swimsuit Helped Boost Her Confidence

The two-time brand star talks feeling more secure in her own skin.
Ellie Thumann was photographed by Yu Tsai in Mexico.
Ellie Thumann was photographed by Yu Tsai in Mexico. / Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

Model and influencer Ellie Thumann returned to the fold in this year’s SI Swimsuit Issue, marking her sophomore appearance in the magazine. And this year, she’s more confident than ever.

“It's very surreal just seeing everyone and knowing everyone this year and having more confidence with it,” the 22-year-old told us on the red carpet at the 60th anniversary launch event in New York City on May 16. “Being younger [than some other models] and feeling so overwhelmed on this exact carpet last year, it’s crazy to now have so much confidence that SI Swim has given me throughout the last year and through the experiences with them.”

Ellie Thumann
Ellie Thumann was photographed by Yu Tsai in Mexico. Swimsuit by Miaou. Body Chain by Swarovski. Ring by Swarovski. / Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

Thumann’s rookie SI Swimsuit photo shoot last year took place in Puerto Rico, where she worked with photographer Derek Kettela. This year, she traveled to Mexico with visual artist Yu Tsai. Her budding confidence is something Thumann has been vocal about from the start of her work with the franchise.

“I’m very proud of myself because [modeling] can be a very intimidating, vulnerable thing, but everyone’s made me feel very comfortable and very confident in myself and [are] reminding me why I’m here,” she stated while on location during her rookie feature. “And it just means a lot to just have amazing people that are making me feel so good.”

In addition to her two brand photo shoots, the Arizona native walked the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show at the W South Beach for Miami Swim Week last July.

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.