Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Announces First-Ever Co-Rookies of the Year

Katie Austin and Christen Harper are both being honored as the rookies of the year!

Katie Austin and Christen Harper are being honored as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's first-ever co-rookies of the year. 

Each year, the outlet honors each model who makes their debut appearance in that year's issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. In 2022, there were eight rookies in all, including Cindy Kimberly, Duckie Thot, Georgina Burke, Kamie Crawford, Maye Musk and Olivia Ponton, besides Austin and Harper.

Typically, the outlet chooses one of the models as its "Rookie of the Year," but this year was a little different. Austin and Harper have been crowned the outlet's first-ever co-rookies, meaning they're guaranteed to be invited back to be photographed in next year's issue. 

SI Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day surprised the two with the news on a video call, where she stated, "This whole brand is what you guys represent—fabulous people supporting each other, doing their thing bigger and better all the time."

She continued, "Really motivated, smart individuals who keep creating opportunities for themselves and keep growing. You do it for each other, and you do it for random strangers and you do it for us. It's pretty awesome. There's never been two more worthy people."

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA - MAY 21: Christen Harper and Katie Austin attend the Swimsuit on Location event hosted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit at Hard Rock Seminole on May 21, 2022 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)<p><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1398537949" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images" class="link ">Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images</a></p>
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA - MAY 21: Christen Harper and Katie Austin attend the Swimsuit on Location event hosted by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit at Hard Rock Seminole on May 21, 2022 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Harper and Austin were first discovered through SI Swim Search, an open casting call for the franchise. They were each selected as 2021 Swim Search finalists, appearing in a photoshoot alongside 11 other finalists in Atlantic City, NJ. 

Harper and Austin both expressed their excitement over modeling for the iconic brand at the 2022 issue launch event in NYC on May 19. "It's truly a full-circle moment," said Harper, adding, "To be here as a rookie is just crazy."

Austin chimed in, stating, "I always wanted to be a part of Sports Illustrated because it aligns with my brand so much. But, after going through Swim Search, it feels so rewarding that we're here right now."

Congrats are in order for these ladies!

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