Georgina Burke knows a thing or two when it comes to swimwear. The Australian model was the face of Torrid for its 2014 swimsuit collection and has posed for Polo Ralph Lauren swim numerous times. The model has even created her own size-friendly, fully adjustable swimwear range, Burke NYC. So it was only natural that the body positivity activist would make her way to SI Swimsuit. In fact, she even wore one of her suits on the SI photo shoot! Here the model shares what it was like to find out she had been cast for the 2022 issue as well as her passions outside of modeling.
What was your reaction when you found out you would be a rookie?
“SI has been on my vision board for a long time so it was pretty much a dream come true! When my agent called to tell me I was shooting with SI, I thought she was kidding. It didn’t really set in that it was real until I landed in Barbados. I’m beyond excited to be part of the SI Swim team, especially coming out of the pandemic and not knowing about the future of the business and my modeling career. SI fits with my passion for all things swim, it’s a magical opportunity and a sign of more good things to come!”
What’s the experience been like since then?
“I just can’t wait to tell everyone! I think that’s the hardest part, keeping this major secret. It’s been a dream of mine forever. But then for it to actually come out is going to be exciting.’
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Was being in SI Swimsuit on your bucket list?
“I think it’s on most models’ lists. I took it off my list because [SI Swimsuit] shot my swimwear last year. And I was like, O.K., I can say I was in SI, even though it wasn’t me physically. Then it kind of happened! It’s always been a dream of mine; it made it even better to have my swim line in there the year before."
How was the shoot in Barbados?
“Well, getting to Barbados was a nightmare. I was actually in Montana at the time. I had all my winter clothes, went to New York, took like six COVID tests, packed a summer suitcase, and got out the door the next morning by 6 a.m. But once I was there, Barbados was amazing. And I know Ben [Watts], the photographer, Jody Boland [makeup artist] and Anthony [Cristiano, hair stylist,] so I kind of knew the team. So I felt really confident and comfortable knowing they were there. And MJ took the best care of me. She made me feel confident and said I didn’t have to try anything I wasn’t comfortable wearing. I feel like a woman of my size doesn’t necessarily get to say what we can and can’t wear because I think it’s like they only have one or two things that will fit us, and you just have to roll with it. Whereas SI had like 82 swimsuits that all fit, luckily.
What are some of the suits that you used for the shoot?
“I chose really simple chic lines. We did a lot of little itty-bitty string bikinis that barely covered me. Everybody was on nipple check the whole day! I also wore a lot of Ralph Lauren because they’re one of my favorite clients to shoot for. And we actually ended up using a couple of my swimsuits as well. So that made it even better.”
Besides modeling, what are some of your other passions?
“I grew up being a mad equestrian girl. I competed my whole life until I moved to New York. Modeling is my full-time job, and I’ve recently taken on a creative role for a few of my friends’ brands. But I would love to get back into equestrian soon.”
You have such a big following. Are there any messages you’d like to spread via your platform?
“I feel I’ve been a plus-size model for the last 11 years, and it’s in the last few years that we’ve seen a movement. SI has definitely been one that has continued to open doors for people that aren’t genuinely seen in the media. And I feel my growing platform will give me a voice and keep pushing those boundaries. And it’s exciting to keep seeing all the models like Ashley Graham walking down runways and busting down doors. So I hope being in SI will put me on a bigger platform to do more, do better and stay accountable because my audience is going to grow.”