Meet 2023 SI Swimsuit Rookie Madisin Rian
The model, who is the face of Armani Beauty, makes her SI Swimsuit debut this spring.
Madisin Rian is a force to be reckoned with. She got her start in the modeling industry in 2008 after being discovered at a luncheon held by Kimora Lee Simmons, and, 10 years later, she became the face of Armani Beauty.
Rian has starred in campaigns for notable brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Stuart Weitzman and J.Crew. She has also appeared in the pages of magazines like Vogue Portugal and Marie Claire Australia. This spring, Rian will make her debut in the SI Swimsuit Issue.
“We couldn’t be more excited to introduce Madisin in the 2023 Swimsuit Issue!” says editor in chief MJ Day. “She is a trailblazer who has taken the fashion industry by storm. Her journey reminds us that strength and beauty come from being true to yourself and loving others.”
Rian isn’t afraid of being bold. She chose to shave her head in 2017 and has made a name for herself while breaking barriers as a top Black model.
She uses her platform to promote causes near and dear to her heart, such as making clean drinking water accessible to all. Toward that end, she is currently working to set up a foundation that will bring fresh water to impoverished areas in Africa, starting in the Ivory Coast.
Rian recently traveled to the Dominican Republic, where she worked with photographer James Macari on her rookie photo shoot. Afterward, she opened up about her time on location, her continuous self-love journey and why she’ll never grow her hair out again.
“I’ve dreamed of doing SI [Swimsuit] for so many years now”
Rian says her rookie photo shoot was a “dream come true.” She describes the set as relaxed and chill, and notes that everything from the weather to the company made for the perfect vibe.
“The [Swim] team is so nice. Everyone here on set has just been so lovely to me, and I’m in bliss. I literally have no words,” Rian says. “It’s just so organic and so natural for me to be shooting with this amazing team that is giving me the creative freedom to just be me. That’s what it's all about.”
Rian shares that she’s so grateful for the opportunity to pose for SI Swimsuit, as working with the brand had been a huge personal goal of hers.
“I’ve dreamed of doing SI [Swimsuit] for so many years now, and for me to be in the moment right now that it’s happening, I’m a firm believer that everything happens in the right timing,” she says.
The model is excited to be able to share her personal story with the SI Swimsuit audience and expresses that there’s so much more to her than just her striking looks. She appreciates that the brand promotes diversity while providing a platform for each of the models to share their individuality.
“What I want people to take away when they open up the magazine is to see all of the diversity,” Rian says.
“It takes courage to be who you are in this world”
Rian describes herself as goofy and introverted, and shares that she loves having fun and living in the moment. She says she gets her confidence from her grandmother, who taught her to believe in herself.
While she states that the journey to self-love is never-ending, Rian has a few go-to practices for caring for her mental health. She relies on meditation, positive affirmations, reading and time alone to center herself.
“I think that as we grow older, with more experience, we find out new things about ourselves and other people,” Rian says. “I think that growth is everlasting, and it’s a journey. It’s not really a destination.”
She also credits the power of music and prayer with her mental well-being, as well as surrounding herself with her loved ones.
“I’m a big prayer warrior, I grew up in the church and I’m very connected to my family,” Rian says. “Family is really important for me, so spending time with my family, my close friends, especially from back home in St. Louis, I really just am all about spending quality time.”
The model, who says she feels her most authentic self in sweatpants and a tank top with no makeup on, defines strength as having the resilience to live in your own truth, whatever that may be.
“It takes courage to be who you are in this world and that is very strong. … Just walking in your truth and just not being afraid to be who you are, and also loving other people and being patient with other people,” she offers. “It takes strength to just stand in who you are.”
“You can be whatever you want to be”
One of the ways in which Rian says she became her most authentic self was when she made the decision to shave her head six years ago.
“I just woke up one day and I just buzzed it off,” she shares. “I did that because I just wanted to be free.”
Rian feels that Black women are often judged by their hair, so shaving her head was a self-reminder that she didn’t need hair to feel beautiful.
“I would never grow my hair back out again because I feel like I’m so liberated and free from that stigma and I really just want to represent for women out there like myself who feel that same way,” she admits.
She hopes to be a positive representation for young women while demonstrating what happens when you tap into your authentic self and chase your dreams without limits.
“I think it’s really important for little girls to see themselves in the world, to see themselves being represented on every platform,” Rian says. “Starting out with doing commercial work and then going to high fashion, it was very hard for me to break out of a mold and not to be placed in a box. I want to represent for women who are bridging the gap between both sides of the industry and also just in the world. Whether you want to be an artist or you want to be a model, or you want to be a singer … you can be whatever you want to be.”
Rian calls women “the most multifaceted beings on the planet” and says that collectively, society often puts too much emphasis on looks rather than who someone is on the inside.
“Beauty to me means standing unapologetically in everything that you are, from personal style to your beliefs,” she says. “That is how I live my life.”