She skyrocketed to fame when she became the first Filipino model to walk the famous Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show, and at the young age of 22, Kelsey Merritt is about to become even more prolific when this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue comes out in May, as reported by Elle magazine.
The model, who landed the much-coveted gig as a 2019 SI rookie, turned up the heat on Instagram on Monday. The magazine’s official page shared a behind-the-scenes video of her posing in the clear blue waters of the Bahamas while shooting her spread. Kelsey is seen rocking a skimpy golden bikini with a criss-cross detail on the top, splashing around crystal clear waters and beautiful fine white sands on the idyllic island of Exuma, Bahamas.
Her flawless body is on full display while she works some of her sexiest poses, and her long brunette locks are worn in a loose, wet style with waves — cascading down her shoulders and back. She wore minimal makeup, and she made sure to gaze at the camera seductively, absolutely nailing her rookie shoot. With this effort, Kelsey showed why she was chosen as one of this year’s new beauties, joining other famous faces such as former New England Patriots cheerleader — and Rob Gronkowski’s girlfriend — Camille Kostek.
Kelsey had previously posted a few sneak peaks from her shoot on her own Instagram page, where she also gushed about being able to join the exclusive group of ladies who make it to the final swimsuit issue. She also spoke out about how much she enjoyed working with the SI team. She will be joining a few of her Victoria’s Secret friends who are also Sports Illustrated models, such as Brazilian beauty Lais Ribeiro, Robin Holzken, and Winnie Harlow.
“That’s a wrap on my rookie shoot! So thankful for the whole team that made the trip so fun and memorable!! Glad I get to be part of a family that celebrates body positivity,” she wrote on Instagram.
And in a clip posted by the brand on social media, Kelsey is seen donning a black swimsuit — one personalized with her name written across the chest — while talking about how much the whole gig felt like “a dream.”
“It just feels so surreal. I mean, look at where we are shooting! And I’m with such a great team, and I’m shooting for such an iconic magazine. It doesn’t feel real, everything’s like ‘Am I dreaming right now?'” the young model said while smiling broadly, surrounded by the beautiful Bahamian landscapes.