A former Snyder resident was chosen for the 2018 issue of Sports Illustrated Swim Suit edition.
Allie Ayers was raised in Snyder, where she graduated high school. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree from Southwest Oklahoma State University.
Sports Illustrated held an open casting call and Ayers submitted an entry video.
“This was the first year Sports Illustrated ever held an open casting call,” Ayers said. “To enter, we had to make a short video and post it on Instagram. I just wanted them to get a good idea of who I am all in that 60-second video so I talked about winning the 2011 Basketball State Championship, being in pageants and modeling. Over 5000 girls submitted to the open call, 35 were chosen to attend the casting in New York City, 15 were chosen to attend Miami Fashion Week to walk in two shows for Sports Illustrated and to shoot the campaign for their new swimwear line and now they’ve narrowed it to the final six who will be featured in the 2018 issue.”
Ayers said she knew she’s a;ways wanted to do big things.
“If I had gotten a killer voice, I would have been on broadway. If I had any real talent with instruments, I would have been in a band. It just so happens I was given long legs and the thick skin to survive the fashion world, so I’m a model,” Ayers said. “I love this though, because it has given me a real platform to encourage women to love their bodies as they are. Not just as the very exclusive sizes that the fashion world usually promotes. I’ve been trying to find my place in modeling since I was 18 and I’m finally getting my break at 23, almost 24. It wasn’t a quick process for me.”
As a middle-size model, Ayers said she really had to work to make room for herself in the industry. She said Myla Dalbesio was an inspiration to her as a middle-sized model herself, who was featured in the 2017 Swim Suit edition.
”Myla Dalbesio was in last year’s issue at a size eight. I was so inspired by her because she made me feel like I could do it,” Ayers said. “I had seen ‘straight’ size and ‘plus’ size represented, but she was the first ‘middle’ size I had seen. Plus, she is incredibly creative and philanthropic, which are two things I admire way more than someone being beautiful.”
Ayers also used to compete in pageants, making it as far as the Miss Oklahoma stage.
“It was such a dream of mine to make it to Miss Oklahoma, so that was a really big deal for me,” Ayers said. “As far as what I enjoyed most though, that was always competing at the local level. I don’t know what it is about local pageants in the America system but they feel like home. Probably because I spent so many nights of my life doing that.”
Ayers was Miss Altus in 2015. She says pageants are behind her, but she misses competing sometimes.
“I think modeling fits me better. I can have tattoos and I don’t have to sing in front of a crowd anymore,” she said. “Plus, I get a similar feeling walking in runway shows.”
Ayers said she’s felt nothing but support from everyone involved in the casting process.
“I’ve only been encouraged through this process. I’ve been reminded why I stepped back into modeling — to use the industry to change the industry,” Ayers said. “I’m getting to put that to work on a bigger scale than ever before and that’s so exciting. I was also blown away by how kind everyone involved was. The whole Sports Illustrated team was so warm and wonderful and they totally didn’t have to be. They completely exceeded my expectations and they were set high. The girls involved were all wonderful too. No one was catty or rude in the slightest. I legitimately made long-term friends through this thing.”
The 2018 Sports Illustrated Swim Suit edition is expected to hit shelves in February.
Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.