Swim Search finalist Christie Valdiserri made her SI Swimsuit debut in 2020 after being discovered through the brand’s open casting call. The model made history as the first bald woman to pose for the magazine. She is the founder of The Baldtourage, an online community created to support women of any age with alopecia. After being diagnosed in 2016, Valdiserri has been outspoken about her experience with the disease, which causes hair loss.
The trained dancer and fitness instructor revealed that her SI Swimsuit feature was her first time modeling without a wig, but most of the time she doesn’t wear one and has found confidence in doing so.
“It’s such a comfort blanket to wear a wig, but I was just really sick of being perceived in a different way than I felt,” Valdiserri said. “I personally don’t wear them as much because I’m trying to fully love myself bald. I love it 90 percent of the time. I am so grateful to have alopecia. I think that I’m really living my purpose, truly doing what I was meant to be doing. We are helping people see the beauty in this and learn to embrace it.”
Valdiserri also said she is inspired and driven by authenticity, which is why being open and honest is such an important part of her own platform.
“When it comes to work, I am inspired by past experiences and then sharing those experiences in a creative, universal way,” she explained. “Real-life situations that the masses don't always speak about as much or are afraid to share motivate me because they truly humanize us all.”
Below are five of our favorite photos from Valdiserri’s 2020 photoshoot with Yu Tsai in Turks and Caicos.