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SI Swim Search: Amanda Kay

Name: Amanda Kay

Hometown: This is a bit hard to say as I was born in Canada, but by the time I was one, my family had moved us to the Middle East. For the next 18 years I lived in Jordan, Egypt, England, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I moved back to Toronto for college and remained there for 8 years. So, I guess I would say Toronto.

Occupation: Curve model.

What inspired you to try out for SI Swim Search?

I have a friend who is a die-hard Sports Illustrated supporter. When she told me about the SI community and what they represented, I was sold and wanted to be a part of it!

What would it mean to you to win Swim Search

I don’t even think I can put it into words what it would mean. In short, it would mean the world to me! I hope my involvement, in whatever capacity, can help someone out there love themselves to the fullest. Coming from a background of being bullied and having issues with accepting my body, I just want to help people see that our differences make each of us beautiful and to own that.

What has been the best part about being a part of the Swim Search community? 

The best part is the support that I have received from other SI applicants. I attended an SI-inspired shoot, put together by a group of Southern Californian women, where I met the most vibrant and sweet individuals. The entire shoot was nothing but encouragement and support as each of us had our turn in front of the camera. These women have continued to root for and support me ever since.

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What is your favorite SI Swimsuit memory? 

My favorite SI memory is when I saw Ashley Graham on the 2016 cover. It was so exciting to see a woman that looked like me on such an internationally known magazine cover. It not only made me feel beautiful but also gave me a boost of confidence to know that "Yes! All sizes are indeed beautiful!"

Photo courtesy of Amanda Kay. Photographer: Niki Cram.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Kay. Photographer: Niki Cram.

Who is your role model? 

My role model is Precious Lee. She is a beautiful, full figured, African-American woman taking over the fashion world (from walking Versace shows to appearing on the cover of Vogue) and owning it. She advocates for size and race diversity in all that she does. I’m in awe of what she has accomplished and hope that one day I will be walking the runways of Milan right next to her.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to never give weight to negative comments from others. If you stay true to yourself and love yourself, you can achieve anything.

How are you preparing for the SI Swim Search photo shoot?

I work out six days a week and maintain a healthy diet. I find that when I do this, my energy and productivity is at an all-time high. I am going to continue on that path, so that I am hyped up for the big day. Mentally, I am going to take it one day at a time. I am still in shock that I made it to the finals, so I am going to keep it in perspective that my involvement is so much bigger than just me. This is how I can make a difference for someone out there who battles with body confidence and acceptance.

Who was the first person you told the good news to? I told my best friend, my roommate. She’s always the first person I run to when anything amazing happens.