Tara Yazdi was hesitant to audition for a spot with the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Her curves made her nervous and feel insecure sometimes, even though her boyfriend loved them.
But this UCLA senior took the plunge and decided to try out. She ended up making it all the way to the Swim Search Sweet 16 and recently released a stunning video of her last photo shoot for the magazine.
“Thank you endlessly for giving me so much more than confidence in my curves. The #SISwimSearch taught me to trust my gut and to take chances. This is a lesson I will carry with me far outside the modeling world to chase any career I’ve ever dreamed of. I learned to embrace myself and my culture on my own terms. Being a Sports Illustrated #sweet16 finalist has evolved me as a person and for that I am forever grateful. Oh and thanks for giving me 15 bad*** new friends,” she wrote alongside the video.
The video she shared on Instagram is a short clip featuring herself wearing a skimpy black string bikini as she leans on the edge of a glass balcony with the picturesque Miami cityscape behind her. She looks straight ahead in one shot, then glances over her shoulder in the second, shooting a pouty glance toward the camera.
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@mj_day @si_swimsuit thank you endlessly for giving me so much more than confidence in my curves. The #SISwimSearch taught me to trust my gut and to take chances. This is a lesson I will carry with me far outside the modeling world, to chase any career I’ve ever dreamed of. I learned to embrace myself and my culture on my own terms. Being a Sports Illustrated #sweet16 finalist has evolved me as a person, and for that I am forever grateful❤️ oh and thanks for giving me 15 badass new friends ???????? Some clips from my shoots with @si_swimsuit x @fae @keslertran
In another shot, she poses alongside a fellow Sports Illustrated model in a revealing black bikini. She tosses her wavy jet-black hair back over her shoulder and tips her head backward in an alluring way.
She reflected upon her experience in another Instagram post, crediting Sports Illustrated for the wild and crazy ride she’s been on. She shared that her Instagram account used to be private and only had a couple hundred followers consisting of friends and family. She can’t believe how her page has grown, and so has she personally.
When asked by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to provide one sentence about herself, she offered a bold statement.
“I feel sexiest when I first walk in a room full of people,” she said.
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Thank you infinitely, universe, and all the stars you’ve aligned since I was tiny to get me to this point. 11.17.18, shooting for @si_swimsuit. Cannot put into words how surreal this moment felt. This team is everything and then so much more. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.
She shared how blessed she was to be able to participate in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Best Buddies Celebrity Soccer Match and how much she loved strutting down the catwalk in Miami with the rest of the models.
“Thank you for making the dreams that kept me up at night since I was a kid come true this weekend. Thank you for relieving the existential crises I have constantly at school, panicking about if I’m living my one life doing what makes my soul happy. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent girls who want to love and embrace their curves even when it may be taboo. To every girl who fantasizes about some crazy opportunity like this one, but are intimidated and feel unqualified to pursue it, I AM YOU,” she wrote.
Yazdi described herself as an underdog and encouraged everyone to take a chance on themselves like she did with the Sports Illustrated opportunity. If you don’t chase your dreams, you’ll never know what might be, she insisted.
“Life is about making stories. Never done a fashion show, never had an agency, never even really had any modeling experience, but on July 15th, 2018, I was amongst the 16 ladies chosen to strut their stuff in Miami Swim Week for Sports Illustrated. To the tens of thousands of girls who showed up to the casting and made video submissions, I respect the hell out of you and you are so deserving of this. I hope to see all the beautiful souls I met in that insane line again next year. FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE,” she posted.