As a finalist in the 2022 Swim Search open casting call, Ashley Byrd traveled to the Dominican Republic last year for a gorgeous beachside photoshoot with Yu Tsai. The Louisiana native earned her degree in criminal justice from Southern University, where she also played basketball, before she decided to pursue a career in modeling.
Last year, Byrd stated that when she decided to make the switch to modeling full-time, SI Swimsuit was one of the first magazines she wanted to be a part of “because I was enamored by the beauty and strength of the women both on the cover and inside the magazine. I found myself being drawn to their stories and making connections with their narratives, finding bits and pieces of them that resonated with me and affirmed my visions.”
The model and clothing brand owner also shared that she focused on prayer, meditation and positive energy ahead of her trip to the Caribbean country for her SI Swimsuit photoshoot. And while she was 33 at the time, Byrd considered her magazine feature to be divine timing.
"I would tell my younger self that dreams don’t have an expiration date,” she explained of her later-in-life career change. “Although modeling was something I always wanted to do, I didn’t have the knowledge or resources to make it more than just a childhood ambition. I thought I was ‘starting late,’ that I had missed my window of opportunity, but it seems that I’m right on time.”
We couldn’t agree more! Below are six of our favorite photos from Byrd’s photoshoot in the Dominican Republic.