Name: Mady Dewey
Hometown: Santa Clarita, Calif.
Occupation: CEO and co-founder, Herd Social
What inspired you to try out for SI Swim Search?
"I've been a long-time lover of Sports Illustrated, but Camille Kostek really inspired me to apply for Swim Search. For so long, I thought being a model couldn’t happen given my career in tech and naturally curvy body. Seeing Camille on the cover changed that for me. I ultimately decided to try out for Swim Search to show women that your dreams don’t have to be linear to be worth pursuing, and to hopefully break down the boxes women in tech and business are so often placed in."
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What would it mean to you to win Swim Search?
"The absolute world. I believe that women’s power comes from our ability to be multidimensional, and as such we should proudly wear as many hats as we want! I would love to show young women that being authentically who you are, letting your inner beauty shine and letting go of what other people think has the power to change your life."
What has been the best part (so far) about being a part of The Swimfluence Network community?
"It’s been amazing to hear the stories of such diverse women. Getting beneath the surface and learning the stories that make these women who they are has by far been my favorite part!"
How did you prepare for the SI Swim Search photo shoot?
"I blasted upbeat music throughout my apartment and expressed my gratitude as often as possible. I just wanted to have fun and make sure my headspace was positive; if that was the case, then I knew my photoshoot would go well!"
Who was the first person you told the good news to?
"My best friend and co-founder, Ali. We were walking to the farmers’ market when I got the call and I basically fell to the floor in the middle of San Francisco. When I finally composed myself and told her, she just about started screaming. I will never forget that moment!"
What is your favorite SI Swimsuit memory?
"I was fortunate enough to attend the Swimfluence event in L.A. back in February, which was a blast. Seeing the digital community thrive in real life was magical. Hearing the wise words of current SI models was the final push for me to submit my Swim Search video."
What advice would you give to your younger self?
"Don’t listen to people who tell you that you have to dim your light to be successful in your career. Your passion for solving problems and love of creating is valuable—lean into it and let go of people that make you feel otherwise."
What changes would you like to see in the world?
"I want to see more women founders have their biggest dreams made a reality. In 2021, female founders only received 2% of venture capital in the U.S. This is the smallest percentage since 2016. I've experienced firsthand the soul crushing side effects of the male-dominated VC industry. Women need the same access to resources to make change happen, both in VC and the tech industry at large."