It’s that time of year again! We need your help picking a member of the 2018 SI Swimsuit Rookie class. We sat down with one of our Model Search contestants, McKenna Berkley, to get to know a little bit more about the Kansas City sweetheart who grew up in Las Vegas.
SwimDaily: So, you get the call that you're going to be a part of Model Search. Take me through the next 30 seconds.
McKenna Berkley: It’s like I’m watching myself answer the phone. I’ve never been so excited. It was a dream come true. I honestly just couldn't believe that my agent was saying what she was saying.
SD: How does SI compare to some of the other jobs that you've had?
MB: SI is just such a benchmark for me. It's so exciting. It was always such a huge dream, so that fact that it's in process right now and that it's happening is just incomprehensible.
SD: Tell us about little McKenna. What were you like as a child—were you a tomboy or a girly-girl?
MB: I was a nice little mixture of both. I was always getting in trouble. My parents always joke that they had to spank my sister once and they spanked me literally every single day. I was always grounded. If I wasn't stirring up some kind of little rambunctious little problem, I was pantsing my brother—always up to no good.
SD: What would you be doing if you weren’t modeling?
MB: I want to say I’d probably be acting because that was always what I wanted to do. I was always in musical theater in high school, so that was always a big goal for me as well.
SD: Do you have a favorite musical?
MB: Wicked probably, but that's just because it was the first musical I saw as a kid, and I haven’t seen Hamilton yet.
SD: Are there any embarrassing clips from your musical theater days floating around on YouTube?
MB: There are probably a lot of videos, but probably the most embarrassing video is actually from when I started modeling. I had an interview when I was probably 14 and I had never been interviewed before. Someone asked me ‘what would your dream job be?’ I had no idea how to answer it, but I thought that it was always really cool when people would scuba in aquariums and clean out the tanks and stuff. Which, you know, to a 14-year-old sounds pretty cool and exciting, but it's haunted me because people see it and say ‘So you want to clean out the fish and whale tanks in aquariums? That’s your dream? Nice.’
SD: Who is the one person in the world, past or present, that you would like to meet and why?
MB: I would maybe say Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine just because she's like my goddess. I’m obsessed with her.
SD: Describe your perfect day from when you wake up to when you go to bed.
MB: I would have to decide if it was an adventure day or a relax day because an adventure day would be like go skiing or snowshoeing and do something really active and exciting and see new things. Or there are those days when you just wake up, you don't get out of your pajamas, you watch TV and play Crash Royale all day.
SD: What was it like growing up in Vegas?
MB: There were definitely a lot of parties. It was really fun, but I don't think it was as crazy as you would think. I do think it was a lot more fun compared to Kansas City and I’m very grateful that I grew up in Las Vegas just because I've met a lot of good friends that I’ve stayed close with and I just appreciate my entire experience there. But that's not to put down Kansas City because I still would consider myself a Kansas City girl at heart.
SD: Were you rooting for the Chiefs in the playoffs?
MB: Of course. My grandpa was actually mayor of Kansas City for eight years, so Kansas City runs through the blood.
See McKenna's gorgeous photos from SI Swimsuit 2017!