Miami swim week is a special time of year, a lot of people travel to see the swim design shows and combine their love of fashion with a well needed tropical vacation. One thing really special about swim week is the buzz of excitement, in a way it’s indescribable. You fly in, get a tan (or a spray tan), swim in the warm ocean, lay on the beach chairs sipping on mojitos and gobbling down sticky sweet pineapple, with the smell of sunscreen and salt wafting around you and you just feel… happy. The humidity might contain a magic potion that makes you want to put on your smallest outfit and go out dancing all night, or maybe it’s the house music playing 24 hours a day in every hotel, but either way it’s thrilling. This is the first year I attended swim week without presenting my own brand, and it was amazing to watch Francesca Aiello feel the rush and stand behind the scenes, almost more fun to take it all in as an observer and contributor! The electricity backstage is magnetic and dreamy. We brought the 60’s to life for her line, “Frankie’s Bikinis” in a kitschy-cool style including a cardboard VW bus with smoke billowing out, trippy projections, my hand painted bell bottoms and pop art costumes. The girls screamed backstage as the rolling stones blared loudly. It’s beyond a good time, 10 minutes of pure adrenaline!
The models at swim week are some of the most confident, sexy and out going women I have met in my career. I felt it would be great capture that mood and round up a group that could rush down to the beach in between their crazy fitting schedule and get some soft, sexy pictures, all wearing Frankie’s bikinis. A big thank you to Wilhelmina Models Miami!
Here’s an interview I had with them so you can get to know a couple of the girls:
What's your background, where are you from?
Ashley Robbins: I was born here in Miami. But my parents are Cuban, Greek and Scottish.
Isabelle Boemeke: My background is mostly European, small percentages of native Brazilian, Middle eastern and Sub Saharan African. Originally from Brazil.
Nereyda Bird: Antigua/ Dominican Republic
Hannah Whelpley: I’m American, and I’m from Charlotte North Carolina
Amanda Li Paige: I'm Chinese/Lithuanian but I am from somewhere over the rainbow on a little island called Oahu.
Julia Freedman: I'm from LA and I'm Hungarian and Russian!
When did you start modeling, how did it all begin?
Ashley Robbins: I started modeling when I was 16 after being scouted on south beach walking around with my mom!
Isabelle Boemeke: I started modeling about 6 years ago after being scouted outside my school in Brazil.
Nereyda Bird: I started modeling last year! It all began when a scout named Susan Harrell introduced me to my mother agent Robin Basile.
Hannah Whelpley: I started when I was 14, and I was scouted in a mall in Charlotte. Wilhelmina scouted me through that agency and the rest is history!
Amanda Li Paige: I was scouted when I was 7 years old at a restaurant to be photoshopped into a fairy for cards and frames.
Julia Freedman: I wanted to model when I was 12. My aunt and uncle owned a clothing store and a jean company owner asked my aunt for my contact information and I started to shoot line sheets for JET Jeans. One thing lead to the next, from little jobs to some bigger ones and then I actually shot for Frankie's Bikinis when I was 15!
How many times have you done swim week?
Ashley Robbins: 5 years and counting
Isabelle Boemeke: Only once :)
Nereyda Bird: Once.
Hannah Whelpley: this is my 3rd year doing swim week
Amanda Li Paige: This past year was my second time.
Julia Freedman: 2 times
Is it hard walking a runway wearing only a bikini?
Ashley Robbins: why would walking in a bikini be any harder then walking in normal clothes. You wear confidence when you walk.
Isabelle Boemeke: Not really! When you're on the runway you can't see the people around you; besides, your body's high levels of adrenalin impede you from being too self conscious.
Nereyda Bird: Of course not! Nothing's more freeing than wearing a bikini.
Hannah Whelpley: no, because bikini’s are so comfortable and it feels so natural in Miami.
Amanda Li Paige: It actually feels more natural than wearing clothes for me, I'm still an island girl at heart.
Julia Freedman: It definitely is a little hard just thinking about all the different shapes and sizes of other girls and how close the crowd is to you. I'm not the tallest, most-skinny model and I know that, so I just embrace my body and skin that I'm in.
What's the best thing about Miami?
Ashley Robbins: Being able to go into the water all year around, beautiful sunsets and croquetas
Isabelle Boemeke: I love the relaxed environment. People are generally happy and not in a frenetic pace like the inhabitants of other big cities (like NY)!
Nereyda Bird: How close together everything is here.
Hannah Whelpley: the beach, duh!
Amanda Li Paige: I love the humidity, it is everything for the hair and skin.
Julia Freedman: The beach!!! I love the beach and the warm crystal water!
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Ashley Robbins: Ben & Jerrys half baked flavor all the way
Isabelle Boemeke: It's a tie between Caramel Cone from Häagen Dazs... or Coconuts for Caramel by Ben and Jerry's.
Nereyda Bird: Vanilla, and mango.
Hannah Whelpley: Neopolitan
Amanda Li Paige: Purple cow
Julia Freedman: Cookie dough!
If you were a mermaid, what color hair and tail would you have?
Ashley Robbins: I would have long wavy hot pink hair and a lime green tail.
Isabelle Boemeke: Black hair and black tail. I would be a pinup goth mermaid.
Nereyda Bird: Yellow
Hannah Whelpley: Blond Hair & a green tail
Amanda Li Paige: My hair would be brunette but filled with silver trinkets and my tail would be purple
Julia Freedman: Pink hair and a rainbow tail!
I've never heard someone pick a goth mermaid, and this is one of my favorite questions to ask people. I would LOVE to know a goth mermaid... yes please!