Here are some fun facts about Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2018 rookie Ebonee Davis
Rookie of the Year voting begins next week! Before you cast your vote, spend some time getting to know the 12 members of our incredible rookie class. Next up is Ebonee Davis.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
Ebonee Davis: I am from Seattle but currently live in Brooklyn.
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Following the Model Search competition in 2016, I was certain my time with Sports Illustrated had reached its end. Shortly after the competition wrapped, and after years of conforming to industry standards, I made the career altering decision to go natural and became vocal about the racial bias I experienced during my time in the industry. Getting the call to shoot for this year's issue of Sports Illustrated was the last thing I expected, especially after changing my appearance and speaking out, but it was one of the most fulfilling moments of my career. What I know now that I didn't know in 2016 is that I am most powerful when I am creating from my own lane and my authentic self is good enough. I am not only coming back as a Rookie, I am coming back as Ebonee. The real me. Unapologetic and 100% true to myself.
SI: Your career has taken off since you were part of our 2016 Model Search. What was the turning point in your career?
ED: 2017 was really a year of metamorphosis for me. I told my agency I was going to wear my hair natural. When I first got into modeling, they said I had to straighten my hair and get extensions otherwise I wouldn’t work. I said, physically, this is how I have to express myself, because this is how I feel on the inside.
SI: Did this help your career?
ED: I booked a campaign with Calvin Klein, and I was on a billboard in SoHo with my natural hair. That was a huge confirmation when it came to me being authentic.
SI: It seems like your metamorphosis is part of a bigger trend in society. Do you see it happening in the modeling industry?
ED: I do feel a change happening in the industry. It feels like there’s a push toward inclusion and diversity. There’s a push toward realness. People are just really ready. They want to feel represented, to feel seen and heard. When you’re true to yourself and walking in your truth and loving every part of you, that radiates. People pick up on that. They want to support it.
SI: Did you expect to be back with us?
ED: I never thought I’d come back to Sports Illustrated with a short, curly fro, and the openness and voice that I have, but I'm so excited to be part of it.
Meet the final three rookies of SI Swimsuit 2018: