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Gayle King and her niece, Mekenzye Schwab, have once again blessed our Instagram feeds with their delightful holiday tradition. For the sixth year in a row, during their annual Thanksgiving trip, our editor at large recreated her niece’s swimsuit photos to funny and heartwarming effect—from the color of the suit right down to the exact pose and location.
This tradition began six years ago, when a then-21-year-old Mekenzye was taking beach photos and Gayle decided she wanted to playfully reenact them. “That’s how it started,” Gayle told Oprah Daily, “as a big ‘ha-ha,’” In the years since, it has turned into a celebration of both body image and family love. Below, we’ve compiled all the pair’s matching photos from their trips since 2017.
Gayle and Mekenzye rocked a variety of different swimsuits and poses: black-and-white while lounging on a boat, bright yellow while posing on a green path, and colorful reds and purples while they relaxed poolside. “Back by popular demand: Our annual Thanksgiving swimsuit photo shoot with fav niece @mknzschwb,” Gayle wrote on her recent Instagram post. “Full disclosure everybody looks good taking a picture at @rwmayakoba in Cancun! Highly recommend ☀️." Mekenzye shared the same photos and captioned hers with “Can I at least get a consolation prize for attempting to keep up with my aunt?”
Last year, the pair donned some sunny yellow swimsuits while they took to the pool and some vibrant reds as they laughed on the beach. They also wore complementary black-and-white suits while posing on the front of the boat. “Time to play who wore it best (Hah),” Gayle wrote in her post, then added, “no photo shopping allowed!”
After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, 2021 was a particularly special reunion. Gayle and Mekenzye could be seen frolicking on the beach and kneeling in the sand. In one of our favorites, Gayle wears the iconic RBG swimsuit while perfectly mimicking the laid-back pose on the lounge chair. She said on Instagram: “My favorite niece @mknzschwb has the body I see in my dreams…. Our THANKSGIVING photo shoot tradition continues! Clearly NOT a competition but body-ody-ody-ody Mekenzye wins again!"
In 2019, the pair's photos feature them sprawled on the same deck in Mexico: goggles on, hand in the hair, and blue skies all around. In her post commemorating the moment, Gayle wrote, “Swipe left for a celebration of cellulite cottage cheese thighs…happy to report no photoshopping allowed!”
Don’t let the different times of day fool you! The two took to the hammocks for their second annual swimsuit shoot. “She picks the pose & I play along," Gayle explained in her caption of the photos on Instagram. "Fav daughter & fav son do not approve. And refused to come. I say Life is short have fun!"
The very first photo reenactments come from their family trip to Mexico: a playful photo shoot taken as they walk along the beach, roll in the sand, and rinse off. While they’re not wearing matching swimsuits (yet!), the neon orange and green still complement each other well—and Gayle hints at the future inspiration by calling Mekenzye her “muse” in the inaugural Instagram post.
We can’t wait to see how the duo will surprise us in 2024!
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