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Katie Austin Shares Why Shooting in Montenegro Felt Close to Home

The SI Swimsuit rookie’s family has ties to the region.

When Katie Austin traveled to Montenegro for her 2022 SI Swimsuit shoot, she got to taste the country’s unique offerings of authentic cuisine. From fine-dining to street food, the Southern California native went out of her comfort zone to try unfamiliar dishes. But it turns out that Montenegrin food hit closer to home than she had originally expected.

When talking to Kate Bock and Kamie Crawford on the red carpet at SI Swimsuit’s 2022 launch event in Hollywood, Fla., Austin revealed why shooting in Montenegro felt so familiar to her. The lifestyle entrepreneur’s mom, fitness icon Denise Austin, has family from Croatia.

Croatia is just over 400 miles north of Montenegro on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. “I’m actually from Croatia or my Mom is,” Austin said. “A lot of people don’t know—I didn’t know—Montenegro is about a 30-40 minute flight ride from Croatia so it felt very close to home.”

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Austin, who regularly shares her own health-conscious recipes with SI Swimsuit, clearly has a passion for the culinary arts. “I got to experience a lot of the dishes that my mom grew up with which was really cool,” she said.

Katie and Denise share a special bond. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Austin has attracted legions of fans and followers through her infectious energy and workouts. Both mother and daughter have been helping others live their best lives through health and wellness. The duo even walked the runway this summer at Miami Swim Week to a roaring crowd of supporters.

Will we see some Montenegrin-inspired dishes in one of Austin’s recipes in a future “Katie’s Column”? It’s definitely possible.