Get to Know 2023 SI Swim Search Finalist Penny Lane

The 27-year-old model and health coach believes accepting yourself is the first step toward success.
Penny Lane.

Penny Lane.

Penny Lane is a model and certified holistic health coach from Cheshire, England. The 27-year old loves adventure and enjoys a good challenge like a steep hike or a sea swim. As a child, Lane dreamed of exploring the world and moved to London at 16 to pursue a career in modeling. However, the industry demanded that she lose weight and even consider a breast reduction, which led her to develop an unhealthy relationship with her body and compromise her fertility. In response, she chose to prioritize her health and became a certified holistic health coach. Lane wants to inspire others to continue the conversation about mental health awareness and body standards. She believes that accepting yourself is the first step toward success.

Please list five fun facts about yourself.

  1. I love croissants and will have one most days. I love them so much that I took a croissant-making course.
  2. I have lived in 64 places over the last nine years.
  3. My full name is Penelope Elizabeth Lane, but even my parents have always called me Penny.
  4. I’m a certified holistic health coach.
  5. I was brought up in the U.K., but when I was 17 my family moved to Australia. 

What inspired you to try out for SI Swim Search?

“When I was just 15 years old, I had an incredible experience that stuck with me for years to come. I vividly remember coming across a Sports Illustrated [Swimsuit] magazine for the very first time and feeling immediately struck by how empowering the women featured within its pages were. I was so taken with their confidence and beauty that I cut out their pictures and proudly displayed them on my wall, dreaming that I too could one day be like them. Looking back, I now realize that the power of my manifesting was at play even then, as little did I know that my dream would eventually lead to this moment.”

What would it mean to you to win SI Swim Search?

“Embarking on this journey towards my goal, I never could have anticipated the twists and turns that life would bring me. As I navigated the various chapters of the fashion industry, I encountered numerous body standards that had an incredibly detrimental effect on my body, mind and spirit. However, despite these challenges, I emerged on the other side as a healthier, more balanced person. That’s why, if I were to win SI Swim Search, it would mean everything to me. Representing a truly healthy image in an industry that can sometimes be harmful would be an honor and a reflection of the hard work I’ve put in thus far in my career.”

What has been the best part (so far) about being a part of The Swimfluence Network community?

“It has been an absolute joy to be part of this network! I’ve been truly inspired by the incredible women on this app who consistently cheer each other on and celebrate each other’s unique stories. It’s been such a pleasure to connect with other hopefuls and Swimfluence users, and it’s truly heartwarming to know that we can all come together in a completely safe and non-judgmental space. I truly believe that more social platforms could benefit from following in Swimfluence’s footsteps and prioritizing creating a space where people feel supported and valued.”

Who was the first person you told the good news to?

“The moment I received the email was absolutely perfect, and it was made all the more special by the fact that I was on the phone with my mum at the time. She’s been my biggest supporter since I was just a 15-year-old girl with those empowering pictures on my wall, and I couldn’t be more grateful for her unwavering belief in me. Even during the tough times when self-doubt crept in, she was always there to encourage me to pursue my dreams and reach for the stars. It’s thanks to her that I am where I am today, and I know that I wouldn’t be here without her constant love and support.”

What is your favorite SI Swimsuit memory?

“Wow, that’s a great question! As someone who has followed the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition over the years, I must say that it’s tough to pick just one favorite moment. I have been a fan of the magazine shoots even before my time, since the days when Tyra Banks, Elle Macpherson and Heidi Klum graced the covers, and those moments hold a special place in my heart as those images will forever be legendary and iconic.

But if I had to pick just one favorite moment, I would have to say that Kate Uptons Antarctica shoot really stood out to me. The images were simply breathtaking, and I was struck by how feminine and strong she looked at the same time. It was a perfect representation of the kind of beauty that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit celebrates and what I would also like to represent myself—one that is both powerful and feminine and healthy. I will never forget that moment, and it remains one of my all-time favorite Sports Illustrated Swimsuit moments.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“This is a truly profound question and one that I believe many of us can relate to. Looking back on my younger self, I think one of the most important things I would tell her is to treat herself like she is little baby Penny—one who is naive and pure and deserves love and kindness above all else. Be her guardian and make decisions for her that are made through love and kindness.

In moments when she might feel disconnected, I would advise her to pause, take a deep breath and look around her to find something to be grateful for. By focusing on the positive, even in challenging times, she would be able to find strength and perspective.

Furthermore, I would tell her that if she feels like she is forcing something, then it is likely not the right path for her. Life has a way of showing us the same lessons until we learn them, so it is important to pay attention to the signs and be open to new opportunities. Overall, I would urge my younger self to trust in her own intuition, to believe in herself, and to know that even in the face of difficulty, she has the power to overcome and thrive.”

What changes would you like to see in the world?

“I am glad that you are interested in knowing more about the changes that many people would like to see in the world. I believe that when we achieve greater equality and fairness in society, with opportunities and resources distributed more fairly to people of all races, genders, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds, we can achieve a sense of balance and connection that benefits everyone.

On a more personal level, I share Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s passion for promoting healthy body standards, particularly in the fashion industry. It is heartening to see that there has been a shift towards more inclusive and body-positive representations in media and advertising, but there is still a long way to go. I believe that everyone should be celebrated for their unique qualities and strengths, rather than being judged based on their appearance or conforming to narrow beauty standards.

It is exciting to see that Sports Illustrated [Swimsuit] has been a champion for this movement, and I am honored to be a part of this history in the making. I hope that we can continue to work towards a world where all individuals are valued and appreciated for who they are, and where healthy body standards and body positivity are the norms rather than the exception.”

What is your morning routine?

“My morning routine is like a choose-your-own-adventure book, but with fewer dragons and more coffee. Depending on where I am in the world, I might wake up and stretch like a yogi or stumble out of bed like a zombie. After all, I am only human.

After I wash my face and clean my teeth and have a big glass of water, I’ll get dressed and head out for some fresh air and caffeine. If I’m in New York, I’ll head to the dog park in Central Park and live vicariously through the dog owners. In L.A., I’ll hike up the hills like a wellness guru in training. And in London, I'll stroll along Portobello Road, nodding politely to all the locals like I’m auditioning for Downton Abbey.

Regardless of where I am, my ideal morning routine always involves a little bit of nature and a splash of caffeine. It’s like my own personal version of a morning cocktail, one that won't leave me with a headache or a hangover.”

SI Staff