A bald model is battling society’s stereotypes about beauty by making a sizzling debut in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit – becoming the first woman with alopecia to appear in the pages of the iconic magazine.
The dancer, who is from Philadelphia but now lives in LA, is one of six finalists from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search to appear in the magazine, after beating out thousands of other hopefuls to land a coveted shoot in its pages.
Christie, who started losing her hair three years ago, was flown out to Turks & Caicos for her beach shoot, in which she is seen proudly showing off her bald head while posing in a barely-there nude bikini.
Another image shows Christie posing in a skimpy thong bikini while crawling out of the ocean – a photo that was chosen to be a centerfold in the publication, much to the model’s surprise.
Celebrating the triumph on Instagram, Christie confessed that she felt as though she had ‘lost her zest for life’ before landing the shoot – and she praised the publication for ‘celebrating her unique look’.
‘So many people always comment on my energy & my light & I just have to give it to the entire [Sports Illustrated] team right now,’ she wrote.
‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart for, in a sense, giving me my life back. I’m crying typing this.
‘For quite some time prior to this, I feel like I had completely lost myself & my zest for life.
‘SI was the first brand to see me for me & to celebrate my unique look. This brand knows no boundaries!!!! They’re looking for passionate, hardworking, soulful people… not just numbers to fill their roster.’
The publication of the 2020 Swimsuit Issue comes just five months after it was revealed that Christie had been chosen as one of six Model Search finalists – guaranteeing her a spot in the magazine’s pages.
Christie was first selected as part of a group of 17 women who participated in the competition, after she strutted her stuff on the catwalk at a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit fashion show at Miami Swim Week in June 2019 – during which she confidently whipped off her long blonde wig to show off her bald head.
Then, in February, the magazine revealed the six women who had triumphed in the search, naming Christie as one of the newest faces who would appear in the 2020 Swimsuit Issue – an achievement that she happily celebrated on her Instagram account at the time, while opening up about her struggles with alopecia.
‘Do you know how many days I have woken up to hair all over my pillow, or so afraid to get out of bed to look at myself in the mirror?? COUNTLESS DAYS,’ she wrote.
‘But you know what trumps all of those days…. waking up today & CELEBRATING my bald look all bc of [Sports Illustrated Swimsuit] & [editor MJ Day] believing in me.
‘I will be the first bald model to ever be in SI. I am so insanely emotional today & I just want to share that we have one little old life to live. If you’re hiding or ashamed of something or feel different or not enough, ugh I just wish you could all understand how much I can relate to that.. but allowing your strength to be more powerful than your doubts can forever change how you view yourself.
‘NEVER EVER stop going after what you want. I just knew I couldn’t let this stupid condition alopecia suck the life out of me anymore. So if you’ve lost all of your hair with me, I’m out here for us… because nobody, no circumstance, no health condition, NOTHING can ever define your beauty for you— it all starts from within.
‘Never forget that. Thank you for the love ppl I’m on LEGIT CLOUD 9.’
In a previous interview with Sports Illustrated, Christie opened up about her motivation for taking part in Model Search, explaining that she wants to change society’s stereotypes about beauty.
‘Associating hair with beauty was taught to us. We weren’t born believing hair makes you pretty, but society has lead us to believe that. So I plan to let my personality and my positive nature shine through regardless of if I ever have hair on my head again,’ she said.
The dancer admitted that she had spent years working on her self confidence, and that she wants to share her ‘love for life’ with others, while also encouraging young women to embrace their natural beauty.
‘I want to show the confidence that I’ve worked so hard for and my love for life to radiate through my posts and through my presence everyday, so young girls or other women who are losing their hair or have been hiding under a wig for years have at least a small glimpse of hope,’ she said.
‘I want to give people the little push they need to go from being bald to being bold.’