Though a long-time dream, Ashley Byrd hasn’t always worked as a model. With a criminal justice degree, she has explored several different career paths in the past several years. But, with her 2022 SI Swimsuit feature in the Dominican Republic, Byrd’s full-time modeling career began to materialize.
She was a finalist for last year’s open casting call, which aspiring talent the chance to grace the pages of the issue. As such, Byrd accompanied photographer Yu Tsai to the beaches of the Caribbean country for her feature.
“It took me years to submit my @si_swimsuit casting video because I didn’t believe in myself, NOW I’m blessed to be in the magazine alongside so many other incredible women,” she wrote in an Instagram caption at the time. “P.S…Don’t let self doubt get in the way of your dreams. You’ll never know what you can do if you don’t go for it 💚,” she urged her followers, reflecting on her decision to follow her dreams and finally pursue modeling full time.
The former college basketball player’s decision to do just that—follow her dreams—was a fruitful one. It landed her in the pages of the 2022 SI Swimsuit Issue and jumpstarted a career that has since seen her in several brand campaigns for makeup and clothing companies alike. And it all took off with her fabulous magazine feature in the Dominican Republic last year.
Here are a few incredible snaps from the trip.