The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Search Finalists Have Been Revealed. And They Include Brooks Koepka's Wife Jena Sims, A 56 Year Old College Dean, and a Denver Broncos Cheerleader

Daily Mail - Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has announced its Swim Search Final 12.

The list includes a former associate dean, entrepreneurs, ex-beauty queens and a Denver Broncos cheerleader. 

After in-person casting calls were scrapped because of the COVID pandemic, the search went digital, using social media and The Swimfluence Network app to find a new pool of candidates.

Past winners have been models Haley Kalil, Brooks Nader, and Camille Kostek, as well as actress Kathy Jacobs.

Daily Mail did a breakdown but I decided I'm going to do my own because there's was rubbish as the Brits say.

In the good old days I would have made this a "rankings" blog, but those days are long gone. #notmybarstool

So instead, you'll get a piece on each of the twelve contestants, in no particular order, and at the end, I will give my picks for who I think should win, and who I would bet money on to win. (Very different).

Let's get started shall we?

Contestant #1 - Former Miss USA, Nana Meriwether

The 37-year-old is no stranger to the spotlight after being a former Miss USA.She was named runner-up in 2012, but after Miss USA Olivia Culpo won Miss Universe that same year and had to relinquish the role, Nana stepped in.Nana, who was born in South Africa and grew up in Potomac, Maryland, now runs Navina, a company that makes low-alcohol wine alternatives.


The 26-year-old content creator is currently based in New York.

She was born in Kenya before moving to Richmond, Indiana, where she finished high school, and then went on to study PR and Spanish at Goshen College.

At New York's Hult International Business School, she completed a double masters in international marketing and business analytics. 

She made more than $1 million from brand deals during her first year as a full-time influencer in 2022, Insider reported.


Contestant #2 - Retired College Dean, Nina Cash

Nina Cash gave up her modeling career to raise her daughter as a single parent at 25 before reviving her dream years later

As a retired university associate dean, from California's Long Beach, the realization of Nina's modeling dream has been a long time coming.

She has worked in education, training and workforce development for more than three decades, and holds a doctorate in educational leadership - focusing on higher education and adult learning.

The impressive finalist was on season three of TV Land's reality show She's Got The Look back in 2010.



I don't care how old this lady is. She can still get it. Her name alone is spicy as fuck and would look great in print.

She must have been a stone-cold, hard 10 back in the day.

Contestant #3 - Model, Sharina Gutierrez

The 32-year-old is no stranger to the industry.

From the age of 12, Sharina has been in music videos, commercials and campaigns.

Her extensive resume includes working with high-profile brands - including Reebok, Rimmel London, Estee Lauder and Ralph Lauren.

'In addition to her modeling career, [Sharina] is a sound guide who helps people rise to their higher selves and pursue a life of unconditional self-love,' SI Swimsuit reported.


Contestant #4 - Non-Profit CEO, Jena Sims Koepka 

Jena, 34, founded Pageant of Hope - a non-profit organization which 'aims to raise awareness and support in giving children and teenagers who face serious challenges the opportunity to shine and be celebrated for who they are,' according to its website.

She is also a model, and has gained more than 250,000 followers on Instagram.

Jena - who is an actress and is most known for her role in the Sharknado movies - is often photographed supporting her PGA star husband, Brooks Koepka, at his golf tournaments.

Jena really doesn't need an introduction. She's a fucking rocket launcher, married to an equally hot babe, who hits golf balls to the moon, and is destined to have the best-looking, golf-playing kids of all time.



Contestant #5 - Criminal Justice Reformer, Adison Justis 

Adison, now 21, was first scouted by Wilhelmina Models at just 17, but when she isn't modeling she's an intern for executive producer Lori Rothschild Ansaldi.

The model works on criminal justice reform and wrongful conviction cases, researching 'innocence claims to determine the viability of wrongful conviction cases, pushing cases for media exposure in hopes of finding a law firm to take the case pro bono.'

And she also appears to have the full support of her boss, Lori, who shared a touching message about her intern on Instagram after she was announced in the Final 12.

Giphy Images.

Sweet Baby Jesus! Honest question, how is this girl not super-mega-famous already? 



Contestant #6- Model, Acacia McBride 

After earning her Bachelor of Arts in communications from Atlanta's Clark University, Acacia set her sights on Los Angeles to pursue her modeling career.

Originally from Starkville, Mississippi, the 25-year-old digital creator, with more than 88,000 followers, is also an autism advocate.

You may have also seen her in campaigns such as Sephora for Patrick Ta, Too Faced Cosmetics and Beauty Blender.

Contestant #7 - Model, Penny Lane 

The 27-year-old, from Cheshire, England, had a rough introduction to the industry.

Penny was scouted aged 13 while shopping with her mom. She was already five-foot-10, with 'absolutely no boobs, hips or clue,' describing herself as 'a complete giraffe' to Work Work Work in 2016.

'I was the tallest teen in my class, none of the boys were anywhere near as tall as me and I just felt like a lanky misfit. I was so self-conscious – there was a permanent feeling that I stuck out like a sore thumb,' she said. 

What's in the water over in England?

Contestant #8 - Model, Mahalia Handley 

Hailing from Darwin, Australia, the 30-year-old has been modeling for 13 years not just Down Under, but in the UK and the US as well.

She identifies as half Maori and Irish, according to SI Swimsuit, and started Shine4Diversity, a group aimed at changing the fashion media landscape in Australia.

Mahalia shares candid insights into her experiences in the fashion industry and as a person living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

She's also spoken about body dysmorphia.

Contestant #9- Denver Broncos Cheerleader, Berkleigh Wright 

The 28-year-old is from Lawrence, Kansas, but now lives in Denver, Colorado.

She works as a technical account manager and analyst, with degrees from the University of Kansas in psychology, strategic communications and business.

Berkleigh is also a tech industry businesswoman and a Denver Broncos cheerleader.

Her enthusiasm for books has also sparked her starting up a book vlog called Bookin' It With Berk. 

She has more than 36,000 followers across two Instagram accounts.

Berkleigh works with the Children's Hospital of Colorado, Habitat For Humanity, Dare To Cheer and the Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleaders.

Contestant #10- Naval Employee, Brittney Nicole

After studying psychology at Augusta State, Brittney joined the Navy, a job that saw her stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi, but also took her all over the world to Spain, Japan, Israel and Guam.

In these countries, she built schools and runaways among other projects.

She then worked for the Navy as a civilian employee and is relatively new to the world of modeling, an interest that she only started chasing a year ago.

And already she's started to see success, walking New York Fashion Week and landing a magazine cover.

Contestant #11- "Influencer", Achieng Agutu

The 26-year-old content creator is currently based in New York.She was born in Kenya before moving to Richmond, Indiana, where she finished high school, and then went on to study PR and Spanish at Goshen College.At New York's Hult International Business School, she completed a double masters in international marketing and business analytics. She made more than $1 million from brand deals during her first year as a full-time influencer in 2022, Insider reported.

Contestant #12, NYT Best Selling Author, Jenna Kutcher 

She has millions of adoring fans as the host of The Goal Digger Podcast.

Jenna, 34, has written a New York Times bestseller, How Are You, Really?, as well as being a digital marketer and mother-of-two.

Ok those are the finalists. Overall, a pretty good group. 

And as somebody who, from the age of about 5, has anxiously awaited the arrival of the SI Swimsuit Issue in the mail every year (funny story on this I'll tell on a podcast one day, or have my mom on to tell), I feel I'm in a position to speak on who should win this thing. So let's dive into it.

Who Should Win?

Without a doubt it should be Adison Justis. 

I mean it's shouldn't even be a contest. It's almost unfair the other girls have to compete with this girl.

I don't know what planet she is from. I just know it's not Earth. 

Dare I say that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is beneath her? I mean this girl belongs on the opposite Glenny Balls in the Onlystans studio. Or at the very least as one of Eddie's Barstool Chicago Smokeshows of the Day.

Sadly though, I don't think she'll end up winning this thing.

Who I Think Will Win- 

If Jon Rahm wasn't a golf playing cyborg, with no nerves or feelings, and Brooks Koepka held on to win The Masters last weekend, I would have bet the house on Jena winning this thing. I'm still very confident she does, as Sports Illustrated loves featuring sports stars WAGs in their pages, but I don't think it's a certified, Feel It In My Plums, lock like it would have been.

Plus, it's not like Jena doesn't deserve it on her own.

Who Would Win If Sports Illustrated Was Smart, But They Aren't-

As a smut blogging/marketing genius, if I'm Sports Illustrated, bordering on the edge of irrelevancy, I make Broncos Cheerleader Berkleigh Wright the winner of this contest, and give her an entire spread. Blow it out with the Broncos, get the weight and leverage of the NFL PR machine behind it and drum up all the publicity you can. And then use that as a springboard to announce and launch a pro/college sports cheerleader feature in EVERY month's issue. 12 girls a year. Not hard to do when you've got the NFL, NBA, and all of the NCAA at your disposal. Throw it back to the basics. Sports + pretty girls is a pretty proven recipe for success. As Dave Portnoy (ever heard of him?) will gladly tell you.

p.s. - remember back in the day when SI used to do the pictorials of the athletes and their wives? bring that back.

p.p.s. - shout out to friend of the program The Block Agency for representing two of these 12 finalists - Jena Sims and Berkleigh Wright