When Kirby Griffin posed for the SI Swimsuit Issue in 2012, she traveled to Livingstone, Zambia, for her rookie feature with photographer Derek Kettela. Griffin, who grew up in Georgia, moved to Wisconsin in her early teen years and entered the modeling industry as a college student.
“I got into modeling when I was at the University of Wisconsin,” she explained while on location in the African country. “I went on a spring break trip to South Beach, and I basically got scouted. I went in and I took Polaroids the next day and I actually moved from Wisconsin [to New York].”
The now 32-year-old described her move from the Midwest to a major city as a big change, but it was a necessary step in pursuing her modeling career. And we’re so grateful that she went on that spring break trip, as eventually, it led to the SI Swimsuit team knocking on her door.
For her magazine feature, not only did Griffin pose among wildlife (several snaps captured her with zebras and giraffes roaming around in the background), she was also photographed among natural wonders like the region’s Victoria Falls. The model struck poses in a number of bright and beautiful animal print swimsuits, from leopard-inspired two-pieces to snakeskin-like monokinis. Each look was incredibly colorful and brought out the hues of her natural surroundings.
Below are just a few of our favorite looks from Griffin’s SI Swimsuit Issue feature in Zambia.