Model Brooks Nader, 22, has won the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2019 Model Search and been selected as the magazine’s “First Rookie of 2020.” The Louisiana native will appear in SI’s 2020 swimsuit issue. As a “rookie,” Brooks was selected based on popular vote, editors’ choice and the contestant’s history as a Sports Illustrated brand ambassador. Previous winners include Camille Kostek, Haley Kalil, Anne De Paula, and Mia Kang.
Brooks beat out 10,000 other hopefuls who sent in videos and did in-person interviews. Brooks recalls going to the Sports Illustrated open casting call in Miami. “I remember looking around and seeing all of these beautiful girls, and I was like, oh there’s no way,’ she said. Out of the group, six finalists were eventually selected to compete for the coveted “rookie” title.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this new edition to the family! There’s so much to love about Brooks! This brunette beauty with a Louisiana flare knows how to take a stunning photo and has the personality to match!” the magazine said.
Being in the [Sports Illustrated Swimwear Issue] was always a dream of mine,” Brooks revealed in a July 3 post on Instagram.
Here’s what you need to know about Brooks Nader.
1. Nader Is a Baton Rouge Native
Hailing from Baton, Rouge, Louisiana, Brooks is the daughter of Breaux and Holland Nader. She has three younger sisters and describes them as best friends. “We went from spending every day together to seeing each other once every couple months which has been difficult. But they’ve been so supportive of me every step of the way,” she told the Daily Mail.
Brooks is also the granddaughter of Louisiana State University Assistant Athletics Director Dr. Sam Nader. Dr. Nader has been involved with LSU’s football team for 44 years. During Dr. Nader’s tenure, LSU has had two national championships, six SEC titles, and 30 bowl games.
The up-and-coming model is a 2015 graduate of Episcopal High School. As a high school student, she volunteered as a tutor, helping inner-city students attending Baton Rouge’s THRIVE program. She was also active on the school’s dance team.
Brooks characterizes herself as a tomboy saying she enjoyed team sports and riding ATVs growing up in Louisiana. As an adult in New York City, she stays in shape taking boxing classes and the occasional hip hop lesson.
I’m pretty bold: I was raised in a small town riding horses and ATVs and doing lots of sports, which is why getting my hair and makeup done every day for work is so ironic and funny to me” she told Bare Necessities.
2. Brooks Was Originally a Finance Major before Being Discovered
Although Nader’s mother Holland claims Brooks used to model around the house as a child, it wasn’t her daughter’s first career choice. Brooks was originally a finance major at Tulane University.
In 2016, Brooks accepted a summer internship with a meeting and event space company in New York City. She hoped to gain valuable experience as she worked towards her degree.
Around the same time, she was scouted on Instagram by modeling agent Chad Gavery. With Gavery’s help, Nader was able to sign on with major modeling agencies in New York, Los Angeles, New York, and Europe.
3. Brooks Says She Was Rejected as a Model “99% of the Time”
Brooks revealed that her modeling career in New York, got off to a rocky start and that she was rejected “at least 99% of the time.” The 5’8″ brunette was repeatedly told that her body type wasn’t a good fit for New York’s runways and high fashion work.
“Most agencies or clients thought I was too curvy or busty, I was too short, I was too tall, especially for the NYC market and I was told by so many people I would never be able to succeed as a model,” she shared with the Daily Mail.
She did find some success modeling for Elle Magazine, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Covergirl, and Miami Swim Week. “When I was 19 and just starting out, I really took (rejection and criticism) to heart,” Nader says. “As you work more and more jobs, and more people start following you, you learn to block out the noise.”
4. Supermodel Christie Brinkley Hand-Picked Brooks for the Swimsuit Issue
While Brooks may have felt the sting of rejection early in her career, she found support from famed supermodel Christie Brinkley. Brinkley interviewed Brooks and saw her as a perfect fit for the magazine. “It was crazy to be face to face with [Brinkley] and have her be a part of the whole process,” Brooks said.
According to SI, the modeling icon was so taken with Brooks that she was “handpicked as favorite model applicant by the iconic Christie Brinkley.”
Brooks sees Brinkley as a mentor who has offered advice for success in the modeling industry. “Like any other [job], you have to show up on time, be professional, and if you’re freezing, shooting in a bikini in the show or tired, power through it with a smile on your face,” Brinkley told her.
Unlike Brook’s critics, who thought she needed to be rail-thin to work as a model, SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day and Brinkley told her just the opposite. “[MJ] said this is the you that we want,’ Brooks revealed, adding, ‘[She said], “We’re not asking you to lose 20bs for a shoot, we want you, we want you as you are. We want this Brooks.”’
Day explained that her goal is one of self-acceptance and inclusion. “We need to love ourselves in the present. No matter what.”
5. Brooks Hopes to Break Barriers in the Modeling World
Thanks to SI’s nod of approval, doors have suddenly opened for Brooks. “After being told many times that I could never do runway, it was so liberating to strut my stuff on the runway in Miami with SI Swimsuit. I hope to be a versatile model who can do both fashion and commercial work,” she told Fox News.
In an interview with Fox, New Brooks disclosed she’s taken that message to heart, saying she hopes to help remove a few barriers in the modeling world.
“Of course I hope to be an SI Swimsuit regular and maybe even venture into the fashion industry more and break the standard of what a ‘runway model’ is known as,” she said.