Olivia Dunne to Appear in 60th Anniversary SI Swimsuit Issue Next May

The LSU athlete and social media superstar was photographed for her rookie photoshoot in Portugal.

When Olivia Dunne made her debut in the 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue, her photoshoot with Ben Watts in Puerto Rico nearly broke the internet. We’re thrilled to share that the 21-year-old gymnast, known as “Livvy” by her more than 12.2 million TikTok and Instagram followers combined, will return to the fold as a rookie in the 60th anniversary SI Swimsuit Issue next May.

“The decision to invite Livvy back to appear in the 2024 issue as a rookie was an easy one,” says SI Swimsuit editor in chief MJ Day. “Last year, we featured Livvy the D1 athlete, highlighting her accolades as an all-academic and an all star on the rise. This year, we are featuring Livvy as a well-established, industrious entrepreneur who is here to stay, who continues to break barriers, continues to work hard and forge an unforgettable path for herself and future generations of female athletes. Like all the incredible women that represent SI Swimsuit, Livvy stands out in her own unique and critical way. We are so incredibly proud of what she continues to achieve and are so excited to welcome her back not as Livvy Dunne the LSU D1 gymnast, but Livvy Dunne, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie.”

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Skirt by BABEN. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

Dunne, now a senior at LSU, traveled to Porto and North of Portugal, for the 2024 SI Swimsuit Issue, where she reunited with Watts in the coastal European town. In between takes, we caught up with Dunne to chat about her personal growth in the last year and how she’s working to give back.

“I can’t believe I can call myself a rookie”

Dunne couldn’t contain her excitement while on set with the SI Swimsuit team the second time around.

“Coming back for Year 2, I mean, last year I said it was a dream come true, and nothing’s changed,” Dunne says. “It’s still a dream come true. I can’t believe I can call myself a rookie. It feels unreal.”

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Skirt by BABEN. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Skirt by BABEN. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

When Dunne stepped in front of the camera last year in the Caribbean, it was her first editorial photoshoot ever—though you’d have never known it. She credits her 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue experience with having facilitated several other professional opportunities for growth since—among them a feature in Elle and a Sports Illustrated cover story alongside fellow LSU athlete Angel Reese.

“Ever since my last SI shoot, I feel like it just opened a bunch of new doors into the modeling world and media world,” Dunne shares. “I announced at the ESPYs, I worked with new magazine brands, and it’s just been really cool.”

In Portugal, Dunne’s photoshoot took place away from the beach and allowed the athlete to tap into her creative side in a slightly different setting. Rather than posing on the sand, she modeled in front of lush trees and along cobblestone streets. Overall, Dunne describes the experience as “awesome.”

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

“Last year was my first year [with SI Swimsuit], and all the girls welcomed me with open arms—I consider them my SI family now,” Dunne shares. “Everyone is just so friendly, and we just have a blast on set.”

Also on set were Dunne’s mother, Katherine, and older sister Julz, whom she refers to as her “everything” and her “partners in crime.”

“Working with my sister is the biggest blessing in my life,” she says. “It’s just awesome having my family around. My family means everything to me.”

“I’m still working on … being confident”

Dunne fell in love with gymnastics at the age of 3 and has been excelling at the sport ever since. After joining the U.S. national team in 2017, she made her senior elite debut in ‘18 in Jesolo, Italy. And while Dunne got her first scholarship offer from a Division I school when she was just 10 years old, she committed to LSU at 14.

Dunne signed a national letter of intent with the school in November 2019 and joined the Tigers for the ’20–21 season. Next month, she and her LSU teammates will kick off the season with an intrasquad exhibition Dec. 16 before their first competitive meet Jan. 5, against Ohio State.

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Skirt by BABEN. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Skirt by BABEN. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

It’s hard to believe that Dunne, who is the highest-paid female college athlete in the country, has ever felt less than, but the New Jersey native admits she often struggles with body-image and self-confidence issues. She hopes to use her platform to let young girls know that it’s O.K. not to be perfect, a lesson that she’s still in fact learning herself.

“SI Swim means to me being comfortable in your own skin and being undeniably you, which is something I still work on to this day,” Dunne admits. “Body image is something that a lot of girls struggle with, especially young girls. In the sport of gymnastics, [body image is] a huge thing, and it’s something that I’m still working on to this day, being confident. But SI’s really helped me to see that it’s O.K. to not be perfect and to just be comfortable in your own skin.”

“The Livvy Fund is so special to me”

Earlier this summer, Dunne partnered with Bayou Traditions to create The Livvy Fund, an organization that works to connect female college athletes at LSU with top brands to secure name, image and likeness (NIL) endorsement deals. 

Dunne has benefited greatly from the NCAA policy that went into effect July 1, 2021. Since then, she’s garnered lucrative partnerships with brands like Vuori, American Eagle, PlantFuel and Accelerator Active Energy, helping her to amass a seven-figure income. The Livvy Fund is her way of giving back.

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

Olivia Dunne was photographed by Ben Watts in Porto and North of Portugal. Swimsuit by Ola Vida. Necklace by Vanessa Mooney.

“The Livvy Fund is so special to me,” she says. “I’m blessed enough to have all these opportunities with NIL, and I just wanted to provide NIL opportunities for the women student athletes at LSU.”

Last month, Accelerator Active Energy became the first brand to partner with the fund and granted eight of Dunne’s teammates—Sierra Ballard, Chase Brock, Haleigh Bryant, Ashley Cowan, Jillian Hoffman, Kiya Johnson, KJ Johnson and Konnor McClain—NIL deals as brand ambassadors.

While working hard to build her own brand over the years, Dunne has curated both partnerships and knowledge that she wants to share with her peers, which continues to be her goal with the collective. Dunne recently held a kickoff event with Snapchat in which the brand educated female athletes at LSU on how to best use the platform to capitalize on deals.

“I want my fellow female student athletes to have the opportunities that I have,” she says, “because they work just as hard as I do.”

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Published
Cara O’Bleness

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.