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Get to Know SI Swim Search 2022 Finalist Ashley Callingbull

The Enoch Cree model will be the first Indigenous First Nations woman to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.

Name: Ashley Callingbull
Hometown: Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta
Occupation: Actress/Model/Motivational Speaker
Age: 32

Behind the scenes of Ashley Callingbull in the Dominican Republic being photographed by Yu Tsai.

Behind the scenes of Ashley Callingbull in the Dominican Republic being photographed by Yu Tsai.

What inspired you to try out for SI Swim Search?

“I always think about the legacy I am going to leave behind and what doors I can open for others along the way. It was always a goal of mine to shatter glass ceilings and be the first Indigenous First Nations woman in Sports Illustrated. This dream is finally a reality and the most important part about it all is that I won’t be the last. I am opening the door for other Indigenous women to walk through and shine.”

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What would it mean to you to win Swim Search?

“It would mean the world to me. It would be such an honor to work with a brand that is all about amplifying women’s voices and creating real positive change on so many levels. It would also be absolutely life changing and could help me continue my advocacy work with women and youth on a larger scale. I can’t express in words how happy it would make me.”

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

“The best thing about being a part of The Swimfluence Network is the girl power you feel 100% of the time. I’ve made so many strong connections with women who all have their own passions and goals but we all still come together at the end of the day to check in on one another. It’s empowering to be a part of a group that uplifts your soul.”

How did you prepare for the SI Swim Search photo shoot?

“I literally woke up every day so excited and counting the days until the shoot. I had been doing my normal routine of working on my health and fitness, doing my keynotes for events and spending time with my husband and pups. All I could do was continue being the best version of myself and bring this positivity with me on set!”

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

“I got the call at 6 a.m. when I was still sleeping in bed. I thought it was a dream and couldn’t actually believe that I was being told I was chosen. I started to cry happy tears and my husband was lying next to me so he heard me reacting to the good news. After the phone call I rolled over and we hugged and I cried some more and couldn’t believe this was actually happening. It was the best way to wake up ever.”

What is your favorite SI Swimsuit memory?

“My favorite memory is when Tyra Banks graced the cover for the first time. I looked at it and instantly saw a powerful woman. At the time, I was a young insecure girl finding my place in the world and there was no Indigenous representation in magazines. But seeing this woman who lived up to her own standards of beauty and looked powerful doing it, gave me goosebumps. It gave me the drive to think that I could also break barriers someday.”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“I would tell young Ashley to love and appreciate herself for the way she was created, because she was created that way for a reason. Your culture makes you beautiful and your Indigenous background is something to always be proud of no matter what anyone says. Beauty comes from within.”

What kind of change would you like to see in the world?

“I’d like to see more love in the world. Love and acceptance of people regardless of their race, gender, background, etc. Living through the pandemic has been really hard on everyone’s mental health. You never know what someone is going through and right now kindness, compassion and understanding can go a long way in creating positive change.”