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Drumroll, Please! Kelsey Merritt Is the Latest SI Swimsuit Rookie

The 2019 rookie class just keeps getting better!

As if our Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2019 rookie class wasn't already hot enough, we just added another babe to the crew. Welcome to the family, Kelsey Merritt!

You might recognize this freckle-faced beauty as the first-ever Filipino woman to walk in the Victoria's Secret Fashion show just last year. Our girl has also modeled for brands such as Vera Wang and Maybelline, even while she was still in school! Talk about beauty AND brains. 

Before pursuing modeling full-time, Kelsey earned a degree in communications from Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines. Right before graduation, Kelsey took to Instagram to discuss her experience as both a student and a model and why she is glad she stuck with it.

“I can say that one of the best decisions I've made so far is to finish my degree instead of stopping it halfway,” Kelsey wrote. “I learned so much in Ateneo, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.”

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The 22-year-old is also a firm believer in body positivity and isn’t afraid to proudly show off her stretch marks. Just another reason to love her!

During her SI Swimsuit casting call last October, Kelsey was all smiles as she told us what modeling for the magazine would mean to her.

“I really want to be a Sports Illustrated model because I love how confident the models are and I want to show everyone who is looking at these pictures and reading the magazine that they can also be confident in their own skin,” Kelsey said.

Looks like dreams do come true!

Want to see more of Kelsey? Check out her best Instagram posts: