‘I didn’t think I’d be so emotional, but I honestly just started crying’
Anita Marshall never dreamed she would one day see herself in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
The model, now a rookie, is featured in the magazine’s 2020 issue, which is on newsstands now. The issue includes Kate Bock, Jasmine Sanders and Olivia Culpo as this year’s coveted cover girls. For her first spread, Marshall headed to the Dominican Republic, where she proudly flaunted her curves for the magazine.
According to SI, Marshall was discovered by submitting her photos to Dorothy Combs Models, never realizing that there was ever a possibility she could model. Since then, Marshall has gone on to work with Macy’s and Nordstrom, where she represented women like herself who are sizes 14/16.
Marshall spoke to Fox News about why she cried like “a big baby” after seeing her photos for the first time, the one moment that almost made her give up modeling for good, and why a former SI Swimsuit cover girl became an idol of hers.
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What was it like shooting for SI Swimsuit in the Dominican Republic?
Anita Marshall: There were so much nervousness and excitement. Those were my two emotions. I’ve visited DR multiple times before so I was totally comfortable with the culture, the people, the food – everything. So I was excited to go back and go to a different part of DR that I haven’t been before. But I was nervous — very nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, this is Sports Illustrated. This is a magazine I’ve seen growing up as a kid… It was definitely humbling.
We also got to visit some high school girls in one of the schools up there. They were amazing — so welcoming and kind. They would try to teach me Spanish. I’ve been trying to learn Spanish since high school. I took it four years ago. They were trying to get my slang down for me.
We cried, we laughed. There were just so many types of emotions. But I have to say it was a special trip. And I didn’t know what to expect out of the trip. And that day was the best, one of the best days I’ve ever had in my life, honestly. I left a little piece of my heart there for sure. The girls did it for me. I still have their WhatsApps and check in on them.
: What was your initial reaction when you saw your photos for the first time?
Marshall: I started crying. I didn’t think I’d be so emotional, but I honestly just started crying. I think that’s when it became a reality of what was happening. I called my mom the next day and I was like, “Is this happening to me? Is this real?” And she’s like, ‘Yeah girl, you deserve it. You’ve got to claim it.”… But yeah, I cried. I cried like a big baby.
What does it mean for you to be in a magazine like SI?
Marshall: It means a lot. Growing up, I didn’t see myself represented as a standard of beauty, whether that be in television, whether it be in a magazine — no matter where it was. I didn’t see me. So being able to see that image that a little girl can see and say, “Oh wow, that girl has braids like me, how cool.”