After making history during the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in November as the brand’s first Filipino model to walk the runway, Kelsey Merritt is adding another major accomplishment to her resume — becoming a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie. The 22-year-old stunner announced the big news on her Instagram account over the weekend and has since been sharing sneak peeks of her photo shoot in the Bahamas for the 2019 edition of the bikini-clad magazine to her ever-growing fan base.
The latest moment shared to her Instagram account revealed that the model was able to spend some time exploring the location of her rookie shoot by living her “best mermaid fantasy” while scuba diving in Thunderball Grotto, an underwater cave system in Exuma Cays. Kelsey shared a short clip of the experience to her 1.3 million followers on Tuesday, February 19, which captured her surrounded by fish underwater as she swam around the gorgeous scenery.
Meanwhile, another photo shared by the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Instagram account gave a second glimpse into Kelsey’s “perfect day in paradise.” In the sexy shot, the Filipino beauty showed off her incredible physique as she floated on her back through the crystal clear water while sharks and other marine life swam just below her. Kelsey stunned in a gorgeous gray bikini accented with black buckles that showed of an ample amount of cleavage thanks to its low scoop neck design. The model drew even more attention to her voluptuous bosom with a dainty gold pendant necklace that fell right in the middle of her chest. She wore a look of pure bliss across her face as she relaxed in the beautiful blue water.
Fans went wild for the steamy shot of the newest member of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie class, which at the time of this writing had racked up more than 9,000 likes within just the first three hours of going live. Many took to the comments section as well to show their love for Kelsey, with one follower saying she was “absolutely stunning and beautiful.”
Kelsey is a firm believer in body positivity and explained to Sports Illustrated during her casting call last October that one of the main reasons she wanted to become a model for the iconic magazine was to promote body confidence.
“I really want to be a Sports Illustrated model because I love how confident the models are and I want to show everyone who is looking at these pictures and reading the magazine that they can also be confident in their own skin,” she said.