Jasmyn Wilkins grew up around professional athletes — her dad, uncle and brother all played in the NBA — but that gene skipped her, she said. Instead, she spent her school days in band practice and theater group, eventually dipping her toes in the modeling world while studying to be a nurse at Clemson University.
In 2012, she won the Miss Georgia USA crown and transferred to Georgia State University so that she could be close by for her various Miss-related duties. With that role also came more recognition, making the modeling world seem like a safer bet, so, after graduation, she put nursing on hold and decided to pursue it full time.
She’s now represented by One Management, and works regularly with brands like Forever 21, Adore Me, Fashion Nova and House of CB. But her biggest break came earlier this year, when she was chosen to be a “rookie” model in Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit issue. The issue, which debuted on February 13, has somehow managed to survive the #MeToo movement, even featuring famously outspoken celebrities like Kate Upton and Aly Raisman.
Wilkins in Sports Illustrated’s 2018 Swimsuit issue
And for Wilkins and her fellow “rookies,” it’s still considered a coup. When her agents called her on FaceTime to tell her the news, her jaw dropped, she said. “I was so overwhelmed with excitement and couldn’t stop smiling,” she said. “I have wanted to get this job since the start of my modeling career.”
The promotional duties surrounding the magazine are a little less glamorous than the beach photoshoots themselves, of course, but Wilkins has no complaints. “I enjoy it,” she said. “SI actually gives models a platform to show who they are and share their opinions, which is really exciting.”
We asked Wilkins — who lives in Atlanta — to detail one of those recent jam-packed promotional days in New York, which included numerous interviews, an after-party and lots of sugar.
7:15 a.m.: My alarm goes off, but I’ve already been wide awake for 30 minutes. The anticipation of today’s busy schedule has me up before the alarm. I’m in New York to celebrate the release of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, where I’m featured as a rookie. First, I read a daily devotional series called “She Reads Truth,” which contains short motivational stories and bible verses to accompany them. My faith is important to me, so I like to read those in the morning to get my head in the right place before the day. Then I meditate, check my emails and hop in the shower.
8:00 a.m.: Time for glam! I have a full day of press before the magazine launch party, so I steam all of my outfits, pull out my makeup kit and get to work. I decided to do my own hair and makeup for this day of press, but will have someone coming for the main event later tonight. My first outfit is a hot pink tuxedo from a London brand called House of CB — I’ve modeled in a lot of their campaigns and they gave me a bunch of options to wear for the launch. I finish off the look with a bright pink lip, winged liner and sleek, middle-parted hair.
9:00 a.m.: I head up to the breakfast bar at the Moxy Hotel, where I’m staying this week. I grab some morning fuel of coffee, a banana and peanut butter M&M’s. Such a balanced breakfast, I know. Then I go down to the hotel lobby where I meet my agent, Andrew. He handles my schedule and accompanies me to all the press events I go to, which is incredibly helpful, especially during these last few days.
9:30 a.m.: On the way out to meet our driver, I run into the new SI Swimsuit issue cover model, Danielle Herrington, in the lobby. She is so sweet! We chat for a minute and take some pictures to post on Instagram, and then I’m finally off to my first press event of the day. Let’s do this.
10:00 a.m.: We arrive at the CBS Sports Radio office for an interview on “The D.A. Show,” hosted by Damon Amendolara. I’m joined by fellow SI swimsuit model Olivia Jordan. We know each other from previous modeling jobs, as well as from our former pageant days — she was Miss USA in 2015. During the radio interview we play a fun “Get To Know Your Host” game with a box of chocolates on the line as the prize. After four rounds, Olivia wins the game, but at least we split the candy.
Wilkins with SI Swimsuit cover star, Danielle Herrington
11:00 a.m.: It’s time to hop back in the car and head down to Hell’s Kitchen for my next interview with Celebrity Page TV. We arrive a few minutes early, and instead of waiting around, we walk to Starbucks for another caffeine fix and a snack. I’m happy I can finally get my favorite chai tea latte with soy milk.
11:30 a.m.: I get back to the studio as some of the other rookies I’m interviewing with (Robin Holzken, Kate Wasley and Vita Sidorkina) show up. I have never met them before, but we all immediately click. The segment is filled with questions about the upcoming magazine launch that evening, and about our individual modeling careers and backgrounds.
12:00 p.m.: That interview wraps and now we have a little break, so I head back to the hotel because this girl is in need of a nap and some lunch.
12:45 p.m.: I return to my room, and my boyfriend shows up a few minutes later with a bevy of snacks (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Starbursts and granola bars) and lunch. He’s such a great boyfriend. For lunch, I scarf down some protein egg bites and a huge chia seed pudding, with fruit and veggies on the side. Then I lie down for a much needed rest.
12:55 p.m.: Spoke too soon — I hop up in a panic when I remember that I have a 1:00 p.m. phone interview with USA Today. Whoops! Guess I won’t be getting any shuteye just yet. I do the interview, sharing some stories about growing up in a family full of professional athletes and how I’ve been making a name for myself on my own merit.
1:15 p.m.: Now, finally, I can sneak in a nap!
2:30 p.m.: I wake up and do some light hair and makeup touch ups. The Sports Illustrated rookies are headed to the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell, so I want to look my best.
4:00 p.m.: I arrive solo at the NYSE. I’m still in my hot pink tuxedo, so I really stick out among all the business women and men in their classic black suits. After stopping for some pictures outside of the building, I head in to meet up with SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day, as well as the other girls in the issue. We get a full tour of the building and then get to ring the closing bell together. It’s such a fun and memorable experience!
4:30 p.m.: I rush back to the car to head back to the hotel. The launch party starts at 6 p.m., and I still have to shower and get ready, so I’m a bit stressed. It’s a long ride back in rush-hour traffic, so I’m able to get a little Instagram action going and catch up on current events with the driver.
5:30 p.m.: I make it, with only 30 minutes to spare. For the launch party, I have an amazing hairstylist, Jazmin Kelly, helping me get ready in time. We head up to my room, where by boyfriend is waiting with a giant bouquet of roses (again, such a great boyfriend). We put the finishing touches on my look, and now it’s time to party!
6:30 p.m.: We head up to the rooftop bar of The Moxy, called Magic Hour, where I reunite with the rest of the SI Team and models for a huge party filled with press, SI sponsors and SI editors. We have a blast dancing, taking pictures and catching up. Everyone looks so beautiful. I see a video from my shoot up on the big screen, so I run and take a selfie with it before being summoned over to the other side of the room for last-minute red-carpet interviews.
10:30 p.m.: After the party, it’s — of course — the after-party! We load up in a huge bus and head over to Gold Bar for a more intimate celebration. I’m able to see everyone and get one last dance in before it’s time for me to hit the sack.
11:30 p.m.: We head back to the hotel, but make a quick pit stop at Joe’s Pizza to grab a few slices. You’ve got to soak up the champagne! We arrive back to the room and I dress for bed, wash my face and say my prayers. What a day.