SI Swimsuit 2022 Cover Model Yumi Nu Turns 26

·3 min read

Singer, songwriter and model extraordinaire celebrates another trip around the sun.

It’s Yumi Nu’s 26th birthday! In celebration of the multi-talented artist’s big day we’re taking you back to some of her greatest moments with SI Swimsuit. Let’s get to it!

Year of Visibility

<em>Yumi Nu was photographed by James Macari in Montenegro. </em> <em>Swimsuit by 437 Swim. Earrings by Michelle Ross.</em>
Yumi Nu was photographed by James Macari in Montenegro. Swimsuit by 437 Swim. Earrings by Michelle Ross.

Nu made her SI Swimsuit debut in the 2021 issue and followed that up with several high-profile gigs. “Sports Illustrated was definitely part of this huge wave I’ve been riding,” said Nu in KMOING. “After making my SI Swimsuit debut, I appeared on the cover of the September issue of Vogue; I shot for Victoria’s Secret; I even did a fragrance campaign. And I fulfilled a longtime dream of mine by booking the cover of Vogue Japan.” As a second-generation Japanese American of Japanese and Dutch descent, Nu has been consistently winning a tug of war between her two cultures. “Japanese culture values being skinny, dainty and small. So for me to be on the cover of Vogue Japan meant being seen and being honored by a culture that often makes people with bigger bodies like mine feel invisible.” SI Swimsuit editor in chief MJ Day said, “In her first year of being in the spotlight, Yumi is coming into who she is and taking on the responsibility of what she stands for.”

2022 SI Swimsuit Cover

<em>Yumi Nu was photographed by James Macari in Montenegro. </em><em>Swimsuit by Michael Costello x REVOLVE.</em>
Yumi Nu was photographed by James Macari in Montenegro. Swimsuit by Michael Costello x REVOLVE.

Nu returned to SI Swimsuit in 2022 after her groundbreaking year for a photo shoot in Montenegro. She explored the country’s vast natural beauty and historic old towns with fellow SI Swimsuit model Katie Austin. When SI Swimsuit broke the news that she’d landed the cover of their 2022 issue, Nu was in shock. “Biggest plot twist in my life so far. The best one,” she said when she learned of the big news.

“I never saw all this coming,” said Nu at the issue launch party in New York City. “I was just really happy to be in the magazine at the minimum. I always try to stay appreciative of what I have going on at the moment. So, even if I was just a rookie and it stopped there, I would still be so happy about that. But I’m so unbelievably happy to be a cover model.”


The same week the 2022 SI Swimsuit Issue dropped, Nu’s eclectic and electrifying six-song EP, Hajime, was released on streaming platforms everywhere. The work is an exploration of identity and represents Nu’s open and earnest search for her true voice. The musician shared behind-the-scenes moments into her creative process for SI Swimsuit.

Nu has since shared thoughts on her many different mediums of expression. She’s been ahead of the curve in promoting rest culture over hustle culture and is constantly empowering others through just being herself. We think that alone deserves to be celebrated daily but we’re open to celebrating a little harder today for her 26th birthday. Happy birthday to Yumi Nu!