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Filipino-American model and Instagram fashion influencer Kelsey Merritt made her SI Swimsuit debut with a marvelous beach feature in 2019, when she posed for Laretta Houston in Great Exuma, Bahamas. She returned to the magazine the following two years and was photographed by Kate Powers in the Dominican Republic and Ben Watts in Hollywood, Fla.
The 27-year-old, who celebrated her birthday earlier this month, is constantly sharing her impeccable style and serving as fashion inspo for her two million Instagram followers. She also uses her platform to advocate for removing plastic pollution from oceans and encourages fans to live as close to a plastic-free lifestyle as possible.
The part-time New York City resident, who marked a major milestone when she bought her first house in Los Angeles in September, made history in 2018 when she made her personal runway debut and became the first Filipino model to walk the catwalk for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
“The fact that I am living my dream job and working with my dream clients continuously motivates me. I never take for granted the work I have always dreamed of doing,” she reflected to SI Swimsuit in 2020. “Dream hard, work hard. Dream anything you want but also put in the work. Be patient. Things will fall into place if they are meant to be. You have no idea what your life will be like in nine years.”
Below are five of our favorite photos from Merritt’s photoshoot with Kate Powers in the Dominican Republic.
Now through Nov. 1, 100% of SI Swimsuit’s portion of proceeds from cover prints purchased here will be donated to the Maui Strong Fund, which is helping to support the people and places of Maui affected by the recent wildfires.