Katie Austin Shares Reflections on ‘Life-Changing’ Rookie SI Swim Photoshoot

The model was named co-Rookie of the Year after last year’s feature in Montenegro.
Katie Austin

Katie Austin.

At this time two years ago, Katie Austin was in Montenegro for her rookie SI Swimsuit photoshoot. Little did she know that her work with photographer James Macari would result in 2022 co-Rookie of the Year honors alongside friend and fellow model Christen Harper

The certified fitness trainer took her Instagram followers on a trip down memory lane in her stories on Tuesday, when she reflected on what she deemed a “life-changing trip.” She sat in the back of a car in a strappy brown Melissa Simone swimsuit en route to the location and pursed her lips in a selfie with hairstylist DJ Quintero. In another snap, Austin stuck out her tongue while clad in a pink crochet bikini by Akoia Swim.

“I’ve been trying to find the words all day and ever since I found out I was a rookie to explain how insane this is, and I think I keep saying like, ‘oh my God, oh my God, this is crazy, it’s unreal,’ because it really is unreal,” Austin said in a vlog from the Balkan country that she reshared along with the snapshots. “I cannot believe I just finished my first-ever, really my first-ever shoot, my rookie shoot, with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. It’s just, like, crazy. I can’t get over it, I really can’t get over it. When you dream about something for so long and then it becomes a reality, it’s like still so surreal. I want this moment to like last forever and it goes by so fast. [It’s] seriously a dream come true and I’m so thankful.”

Austin was discovered during the brand’s Swim Search in 2021, and co-won the open casting call that year, once again alongside Harper. She returned to the fold for the third time this May and posed for the 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue in the Dominican Republic.

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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.