Q&A With SI Swimsuit Legend Hailey Clauson

The 2016 cover model returns to the fold for the eighth year, this time as a brand icon.
Hailey Clauson was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Versace. Shoes by Aquazzura. Jewelry by Melinda Maria.
Hailey Clauson was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Versace. Shoes by Aquazzura. Jewelry by Melinda Maria. / Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

Turning 60 has never looked so good. To celebrate the big milestone in style, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit called upon 27 “Legends”—women of all ages, sizes, tribes and backgrounds—who epitomize trailblazing influence and game-changing impact. 

From supermodel OGs who made their first splash on the magazine’s glossy pages in the 1970s and ’80s to stars newer to the SI Swimsuit sisterhood—the Legends symbolize diversity, inclusivity, empowerment and self-love.  

“The Legends hold the power to represent the collective us,” SI Swimsuit editor in chief MJ Day says. “Each one has played a significant role in the brand’s last 10 years, holding important conversations that have helped shift societal perceptions and led to incredible change for women.” 

The Legends had plenty to say in their one-on-one interviews, held during a three-day SI Swimsuit event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., where photo shoots for the 60th anniversary issue were underway amidst a flurry of glam teams, wardrobe stylists and veteran fashion lensmen. The Legends were unfiltered, funny, wise, compassionate, profound, and at times, searingly honest—proving that a woman’s inner beauty is her most important superpower of all.   

See more from the Legends photo shoot here.

Hailey Clauson joined the SI Swimsuit family in 2015, and the 29-year-old model and creative director went on to land the cover of the annual issue just a year later. Since that feature in Turks and Caicos, Clauson has returned to the fold on multiple occasions, and becomes a brand legend with the publication of the 2024 SI Swimsuit Issue.

What does being an SI Swimsuit Legend mean to you?

“It’s pretty cool. I can’t believe now I’m a Legend. It feels like I just shot my first year with the magazine. I was 19 the first year I shot for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit ... So it’s been a 10-year journey with the magazine. I’ve grown up with Sports Illustrated, and now I get to be in this room with all these women that I’ve admired, women that I’ve grown up with at the same time. It’s a very powerful moment.”

Describe yourself in three words.

“Motivated, goofy, loyal.”

Hailey Clauson
Hailey Clauson was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Versace. Shoes by Aquazurra. Jewelry by Melinda Maria. / Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

View Hailey Clauson’s 2024 Legends photo gallery here.

What do you love most about being a woman?

“I love getting older. I think I still have such a long way to go, this is gonna be my last year in my 20s. But I started modeling at 13, so I feel like I had to grow up really fast. I thought I was a woman and grown up—until I actually started becoming a woman and learning what it meant. I think the more you know who you are, the more powerful you are as a woman.”

What do you love most about being yourself?

“I take on a lot, I really do feel for everybody around me. I’m a very sensitive person, which is either a good thing or a bad thing. I think ultimately for my connections with people I care about, it is a good thing.”

What can women do to better empower each other?

“Being genuine and real. A lot of people say they’re empowering other women, but it’s more just to say it and to have this image of it. Really getting to know somebody for who they are is going to empower them and motivate them to embrace that side of themselves.”

Hailey Clauson
Hailey Clauson was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Versace. Shoes by Aquazzura. Jewelry by Melinda Maria. / Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated


What achievement are you most proud of?

“I’ve been modeling for 16 years now. For a long time, that was all I knew, all I did. And these last few years, I really ventured out into other avenues, exploring my creative side and my business side. I do creative direction with my boyfriend, he does photography. So I’ve gone to the other side of the camera. 

Also, I became a co-owner of Margaux the Agency, using all my good and bad experiences from being a model and being with lots of different agencies, and really wanting to make the changes that I've wanted to see in the industry. I think it really starts with the modeling agencies.”

What excites you most about your life right now?

“Using this platform to create something else out of it.”


Published
Tara Solomon

TARA SOLOMON