Kelsey Merritt turned the heat up on the Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition’s Instagram page on Thursday when she popped up in a behind-the-scenes video of a shoot for this year’s issue. In the clip, the 22-year-old brunette bombshell’s skin looks as if it’s been glazed with molten bronze, as she poses under the sunlight on a beach in the Bahamas. Her skin compliments the tiny golden string bikini she’s wearing perfectly and her long wavy hair worn over to one side only helps to heighten the impact of the clip.
Sports Illustrated’s followers showed their appreciation for the video in the comments section and some of those comments came from fellow models.
“Wow,” wrote one of the model’s featured in this year’s magazine, Hayley Kalil.
Ashley Alexiss, a popular curvy model on Instagram with over a million followers, expressed the same sentiment, but did so with emojis instead of words.
But some non-famous commenters chimed in as well.
Despite the fact that Kelsey is wearing a very skimpy bikini in the clip, one fan felt that the video didn’t show enough skin.
“Let’s see those pictures and videos of the glutes,” they wrote. “Don’t hold out on us.”
Others were more succinct with their commentary.
“Babealicious,” one admirer commented.
“Golden girl,” another added.
Kelsey Merritt often gets this type of feedback on the photos that she posts on her personal Instagram page. As The Inquisitr previously reported, fans were just as supportive when she recently posted a photo of herself rocking a tiny blue bikini.
Posted six days ago, that photo currently has more than 115,000 likes and over 500 comments.
Although she’s a Sports Illustrated rookie, Kelsey Merritt is no novice to the world of modeling. She made history in 2018 when she become the first Filipino model to walk the runway at The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
“It feels like a dream,” she said in an interview Teen Vogue. “Getting the show is the dream come true but being the first Filipino woman to walk in the show means I’m making history. The show is broadcast on more than 190 countries with models from 20 countries and I got chosen to represent my region. Blessed!”
As the article notes, her success hasn’t been without some controversy, as some have sought to diminish her groundbreaking achievement by pointing out that she is half Filipino — she has a white American father — and fits the Western standard of beauty.
But she responded to the criticism with a tweet in her native tongue, which according to Teen Vogue, was a declaration of her right to claim Filipino heritage as her own since she was born and raised there.
“My blood is more Filipino than the ‘pure’ who have never set foot in the Philippines,” she wrote.