There is no question Haley Kalil is stunning. The 28-year-old was named Miss Minnesota USA in 2014 and made her SI Swimsuit debut in 2018 as part of the Swim Search franchise. But her bustling modeling career didn’t come easy. In fact, the self-proclaimed nerd was teased growing up for her looks and desire to become a model. So to inspire all those women who were also bullied growing up, the model has been posting throwback photos from those awkward years showing off her incredible transformation.
“From a nerd modeling on the playground (yes in my transition lenses) to a nerd on the red carpet, boy oh boy, it’s crazy where life takes you,” Kalil captioned a picture from middle school next to a shot of her attending the SI Swimsuit launch party this summer. “Where’s the @nerdherd at? What did you manifest?”
A few months earlier, she shared another snap modeling on the playground at school wearing a sparkly top, long skirt and clogs alongside a striking beach photo donning a bikini. She captioned the comparison with the ultimate clap back to her bullies.
“Ok, #nerdherd. Time for another challenge,” she wrote. “You know all those nerdy kid photos, time to showcase that little girl/boy every single person laughed at when you told them you wanted to be a model or actress or scientist or photographer or whatever that ultimate dream was.”
She added, “Then it’s time to show how far you’ve grown because of your hard work, dedication, support from friends and family and blocking out the hate. #Nerdherd is all about being strong, intelligent, hardworking, kind, passionate, humble, and dedicated. It’s time to prove to the world that you can’t categorize anyone and that no matter how much hate you get, if you work hard, stay humble and be kind, dreams come true.”
Kalil has posted several photos like these over the years to promote her body positivity message and encourage others to go after their goals. She opened up about how she was teased for practicing her modeling poses on the school playground and how she was turned down by a local modeling agency at 17 because she was too big, too short and just didn’t have that “model look.” That was until the 2017 open casting call came along where SI Swimsuit recognized her beauty inside and out.
“The @si_swimsuit Open Casting Call gave me the chance to make my dreams into my own hands,” she wrote in an Instagram post. Now she can’t wait to watch someone else’s dreams come true and hope her platform provides inspirational support.
“Even when everyone says there’s no possible way you can ever do it,” said Kalil. “You should never give up on your dreams.”