Josephine Skriver named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 2020 Rookie of the Year

Kerry Justich
·5-min read

Josephine Skriver may be taking some time off from modeling gigs while quarantining in the woods of Nashville, Tennessee with her fiancé. But being named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s “Rookie of the Year” certainly is a bright spot for the 27-year-old Denmark-native.

Best known for her work with Victoria’s Secret, the model was chosen to be one of eight rookies featured in the publication’s legendary swimsuit issue for the very first time, alongside Anita Marshall, Marquita Pring, Kim Riekenberg, Valentina Sampaio, Lorena Duran, Brooks Nader and Hyunjoo Hwang. After the release of this year’s issue on July 13, fans and editor-in-chief, MJ Day, voted for the next Rookie of the Year and ultimately gave the title to Skriver.

Skriver learned of her the distinction during an interview with Yahoo Entertainment’s Kylie Mar, where the model spoke about her longtime desire to work with the brand.

“It's been a dream of mine to be in the magazine for so long,” she says. “I must've been 16 or 17 and once you sign with an agency and they give you your people, you kind of sit down and you have this meeting and they go, ‘So, what are your goals in life?’ And I was like, well, SI, Victoria's secret and like a beauty campaign. And I just hit the trifecta. And I can't believe that that was like finishing that little girl’s dream and finally getting it 10 years later in my career.”

The SI issue, which features veteran models Hunter McGrady and Halima Aden, has been praised as the most inclusive yet with the debut of Kathy Jacobs, a 56-year-old model, Christie Valdiserri, a bald model and Sampaio, one of the year’s Rookies who is also the magazine’s first transgender model. Pushing the envelope on who is represented in the magazine each year is what drew Skriver to it.

“I literally think that they are the trailblazers of our industry in being a movement that is just so empowering to women, every shape, every size, every background. And I couldn't be more proud of being part of a family like that and just getting to be in a group of these wonderful and strong women,” she says. “I'm actually just so bummed that this year we're not able to all meet and like hang out.”

Aside from not being able to experience special moments with the many women featured in the magazine as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Skriver reflects fondly on the experience of shooting for the publication.

Josephine Skriver posing for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2020, on sale now. (Photo: Kate Powers/Sports Illustrated)
Josephine Skriver posing for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2020, on sale now. (Photo: Kate Powers/Sports Illustrated)

“I remember I couldn't stop smiling for days after. And I kept telling my fiancé, I was like, ‘This was probably one of my favorite shoots I've ever been on.’ I've never felt so comfortable in front of a camera. And it was just fun,” she says. “Just be you, be natural, just sit and have fun and look gorgeous and just embrace everything that a woman is. I mean, I was so sad when it was over.”

She even calls the cast of Sports Illustrated a “sisterhood,” similar to what she says she’s felt with the women of the Victoria’s Secret angels. “What's special about SI to me is that it's so female-driven. The whole team when you were on the beach is basically women and just MJ has built this amazing culture about all girls,” Skriver explains of Day’s role in the so-called sisterhood. “It's just really cool because you're working in an industry where you’re always usually kind of competing with everybody. But here you're working with groups of girls. We're all just here to lift each other up.”

After a decade of working in the industry, Skriver says that there’s finally an emphasis on women’s empowerment and the idea of women supporting women. “We need more of that in the world,” she shares. Even when it comes to choosing Rookie of the Year, the model says, “My vote was for Valentina.”

Skriver says that she also has a close friendship with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Jasmine Sanders. “I was so freaking happy when she got the cover and everything. She's one of my close friends,” she says. “It's just so fun. Just being on that journey with your friends and just seeing them succeed in what they're dreaming about.”

When it came to naming this year’s Rookie of the Year, Day tells Yahoo Entertainment that Skriver was a perfect choice. “While many know Josephine as an iconic model who has worked with some of the biggest brands, her endeavors reach far beyond just that,” the editor-in-chief explains. “Aside from being a remarkable model, she is a well-known advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, a humanitarian, a role model and shows up for the SI Swimsuit brand in an incredibly meaningful way. In her first year alone, she hosted our first ever Sirius[XM] radio show, acted as our official Super Bowl correspondent and used her platform to join in our mission of changing the cultural conversation around beauty. Josephine exemplifies what it means to be an SI Swimsuit model and we couldn’t be happier to name her our 2020 Rookie of The Year!”

Before hearing the news, Skriver explains just how she would celebrate if she were to be named Rookie of the Year. “Honestly, just throw a three-person party at home and just drink. We have some tequila lined up, for if that happens.”

And even after learning about her new title and taking a shot of reposado, the model remains in disbelief.

“It's just so amazing, being able to still be so excited in my industry. Having done something for 10 years and still get the recognition,” she says. “Thank you to Sports Illustrated. Thank you to the subscribers. I know Raider Nation even voted, so thank you to everyone. A thank you to my family. I just...thank you.”

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