Name: Gigi Robinson
Hometown: New York City
Occupation: Gen Z Thought Leader/Advocate for Chronic Illness Awareness//Host of “Everything You Need Is Within” Podcast
What inspired you to try out for SI Swim Search?
“As a multidimensional woman, patient advocate, scholar, creator and model, I knew that if I could make it through to be a finalist in the 2022 SI Swim Search, anyone can. I spend every day working with brands in ethical ways that elevate and help marginalized voices across social media and ad spaces so when SI announced Pay With Change earlier this year I knew that I had to get involved. I also wanted to be the first Gen Z and chronically ill woman in the magazine, further pushing forth the agenda of inclusivity. And I saw a fellow USC alum and SI 2021 Swim Search winner Katie Austin go through the process from afar and thought if she can do it, so can I!”
What would it mean to you to win SI Swim Search?
“Winning Swim Search would show the world representation for the chronically ill community in an unprecedented way. Mental health and body image have been issues at the forefront over the past few years, but what we don’t always pay attention to is other invisible illnesses. Becoming a rookie for the year would be a job that I’d fulfill perfectly because I love public speaking and advocating on panels, creating content as a digital nomad, and, most importantly, lifting up communities across the globe.”
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What has been the best part (so far) about being a part of The Swimfluence Network community?
“I have loved chatting with like-minded women in different subcategories on The Swimfluence Network and meeting people I interact with online Some I even speak to every day! It really feels like a big group of sisters sharing a lot of vulnerable conversations that are handled with fragility and respect while also uplifting one another when life challenges arise. It has been beyond beautiful to share life updates, career advice and community building from Swimfluence into IRL friendships.”
How did you prepare for the SI Swim Search photo shoot?
“Between my master’s research at USC, growing my team at It’s Gigi, creating content for 11-plus social accounts and being chronically ill, I was VERY busy to say the least. I believe that when you feel your best in your body, you are your most confident self which was the goal for shoot day! I prepared by hyping myself up every single day with dance parties, reviewing poses and talking to myself in the mirror. I also scheduled a few facials and lymphatic drainage massages to help me feel my best!”
Who was the first person you told the good news to?
“I was with my best friend when it happened, I immediately called my family group chat and then each member of my team. Everyone was ecstatic because we had all been planning scripting, shooting, editing and social strategy for this for a few months. I still feel like I am living in a dream!”
What is your favorite SI Swimsuit memory?
“For some reason, most people do not know that I am and have been a photographer before anything else. I have followed the work of the photographers and fashion designers of SI Swimsuit over the years and I have been a huge fan of Yu Tsai. I think my favorite memory will be meeting Yu Tsai and telling him how much of an honor it has been to look up to him for over a decade and to finally shoot with him!”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Living with a chronic illness has taught me about the resilience that we all have within ourselves. We are truly capable of anything we set our minds to, whether that is landing a dream role or simply getting out of bed each morning. My advice would be that if you made it through 100% of your worst days so far, you can make it through the best days yet to come.”
What changes would you like to see in the world?
“As a GenZ-er, I often think about the way that my generation is going to shape the future to be inclusive and equitable for all communities, especially those that are marginalized and oppressed. A major factor in shaping the future is in the education we provide to youth today, which is why I am so committed to teaching social media literacy and advocacy to high school and college students as well as global companies, so they can implement it in real time. I don’t want to see change happen over time, I want to create the change now. “