For many years since the publication’s launch in 1964, the picture of what it means to be a Sports Illustrated model has been rather unwavering. But in recent years, cover stars like Martha Stewart have changed the game for what we think of when we envision this iconic swimsuit magazine.
Thanks to the likes of Stewart and others, Sports Illustrated has began to push the message that you’re never too old to rock a bikini and show off your natural, authentic beauty. Continuing on this body-positive streak, just this week, SI announced the latest addition to their rookie roster: a 57-year-old former college administrator who is helping women everywhere embrace the gray.
Nina Cash, 57, Becomes Newest Sports Illustrated Rookie
While Nina Cash says she has always dreamt of being a Sports Illustrated model, she’s spent much of her life in school, earning impressive degrees and eventually becoming a college administrator. But, at 57, Cash decided to chase her modeling dreams and entered the publication’s annual Swim Search, ending up as one of the lucky few to walk in the 2023 Swim Week runway show. But now, Cash’s dreams are being taken to a whole new level as for the first time in Sports Illustrated history, the magazine is featuring all of their Swim Search finalists in their 2024 print issue.
“My heart just started pounding—I got tears in my eyes,” Cash told Fox News Digital on hearing she was going to be in print. “I was shocked but happily shocked. I was so happy that all seven of us were doing this together.” Though Cash is now proudly rocking two-pieces on runways and magazine covers, she acknowledged that facing the fear of criticism from the public was necessary, but not easy. “I would tell myself today, ‘Girl, who cares what other people think?’” she began, “You are living and you have to live. There are always going to be critics, no matter what you do, but if you stay true to yourself and block that out, you’re going to be happy. I like to say it’s none of my business what people think of me or what other people say of me.”
At 57, Cash stuns with a radiant smile and her naturally gray strands on display, and her position in Sports Illustrated history is one she hopes to use to inspire other women to embrace the gray, too. “There are some men that still want to put the person with the gray or silver hair in this box,” she began, “Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘You can only be offended if you allow yourself to be offended.’ I don’t know those people making the negative comments and I won’t dwell on that. I get a lot of people private messaging me [on social media] saying, ‘Thank you for making it OK to go gray,’ or, ‘Thank you for making it OK for a woman to be an educator or to have advanced degrees and still do something like this.’”