Sports Illustrated Model Haley Khalil showed that she isn’t afraid to show off her “flaws” when she recently posted a photo of herself rocking a thong swimsuit on Instagram. As her caption notes, the photo is unedited so you can clearly see the stretch marks on one of her thighs and butt.
In the comments section of the post, Haley’s fans praised her for being open to showing off her stretch marks.
“As a dude who has had them for decades, I thank you,” one fan wrote. “The body positive movement has been a great thing to see in motion. Hoping it crosses over to those of us with dad bods soon!”
“Stretch marks are proof of growth, and life is all about growing into who we are meant to be,” wrote another fan.
“Hell yes they are,” Haley replied.
The photo is part of the 26-year-old model’s recent profile in the New York Post. During the interview, she opened about her past as a lab technician and how she went from that to wearing barely-there bikinis in Sports Illustrated.
“When I was little, I watched America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), and would practice all the poses on the playground,” she said. “But I was like, the stereotypical nerd. I had glasses, I had the weird haircut … in my head, there were so many roadblocks in the way.”
Haley recently posted a photo with Tyra Banks, the longtime host and creator of ANTM, and shared how much of an impact the veteran supermodel has had on her life.
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My biggest modeling inspiration as well as a boss, powerhouse female... the one and only @tyrabanks. Thank you for being an inspiration to every woman out there that you can do whatever you damn please if you work hard enough and fight to break down the barriers. #IWasFanGirlingHard
As Haley said, the journey towards modeling success wasn’t without its setbacks. One of her biggest was when she thought it would be a cinch to get signed by an agency after she won the Miss Minnesota pageant in 2010. However, when she went looking for representation, Haley was informed that her body type was all wrong for the fashion world. She was told that she was too short and that she needed to lose weight.
After that feedback, she gave up on the dream for a while and went to college. Haley ended up majoring in biomedical science and psychology, plus a minor in chemistry. She went on to work at an immunology lab and was planning to go to medical school. But then an opportunity to get back into modeling popped up when she saw an Instagram post for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s open casting call for new models in 2017.
She became one of the winners of that model search and got the opportunity to grace the pages of the magazine alongside fellow winner and current cover girl, Camille Kostek.
Even with that big achievement under her belt, Haley said that she’s unsure what’s next for her modeling career but that she’s excited to see what happens.
“I’m very grateful, and not just because it’s a chance to be like, ‘haters, I did it!'” she said. “But because I’m literally living my dream.”