Olivia Dunne on Why She’s Deeply Appreciative of SI Swimsuit Legend Paige Spiranac

The athletes and magazine stars have a mutual love and respect for one another.
Paige Spiranac and Olivia Dunne
Paige Spiranac and Olivia Dunne / Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Olivia Dunne and Paige Spiranac are both athletes, SI Swimsuit models and content creators. And though the two didn’t meet for the first time until the magazine’s 60th anniversary launch events in May, they were thick as thieves even before they connected IRL.

We sat down with the dynamic duo in Hollywood, Fla., last month to talk about their connections and shared experiences, from excelling in their respective sports (gymnastics for Dunne, golf for Spiranac) and dealing with internet trolls along the way. Both women concurred that upon meeting, they felt like they’d known each other forever.

“She stood up for me during the New York Times crap, and I will deeply appreciate that forever,” Dunne, 21, gushed of Spiranac, 31. “I knew that she was just so awesome ever since then, and I just couldn’t wait to meet her.”

Paige Spiranac and Olivia Dunne
Paige Spiranac and Olivia Dunne at SI Swimsuit’s 60th anniversary launch party in New York City on May 16. / Mike Coppola/Getty Images

In 2022, the outlet published a disparaging article about Dunne, which critiqued how the LSU gymnast leveraged her beauty and social media platforms to thrive under the NCAA’s name, image and likeness (NIL) policy.

“I’m so sick of women belittling accomplishments of other women because it’s done differently than they would,” Spiranac wrote on social media platform X at the time in response to the public criticism. “@livvydunne is getting hate for making 2 million a year. She’s built a successful business (at 20) all while being a student-athlete. That’s badass.”

Not only did Spiranac publicly defend Dunne, she also reached out to the young athlete in private to show her support. Spiranac, who has likewise been the topic of internet discussion regarding everything from her outfits on the golf course to the content she creates, wanted Dunne to know she had an ally in hwe.

“I wanted to be there for Livvy when she went through the hardship that was being a woman and embracing your sexuality and capitalizing on that, and that makes a lot of people very uncomfortable,” Spiranac told us. “It can be really isolating from [both] men and females. We always talk about female empowerment and being there for your friends and people who are going through the same thing, and so I reached out publicly and privately and wanted [Livvy] to know that she could always reach out to me if she ever needed anything.”

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.