Former Ravens Cheerleader Is in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

072221-Summer-Wilson-SI
Former Ravens cheerleader Summer Wilson

If you live in Florida and want to get a copy of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, you better beat Summer Wilson to the magazine rack.

The former Ravens cheerleader is one of the 13 "Swim Search" models featured in this year's historic magazine, which hits shelves today, and she's planning to buy every copy she finds.

"It's so freaking crazy. I can't believe it," Wilson said. "This all started a year ago and it happened. It's so crazy!"

In April, Sports Illustrated revealed that Wilson was one of the "Swim Search" finalists, of which six were supposed to be chosen to appear in print. But the magazine's editors had such a tough time narrowing the field that they all made it in. Wilson got the news Monday.

"I was crying, obviously!" she said. "When I got it, it was like, 'Holy crap, this is real life.' I'm in this magazine.

"It was a very emotional moment for me because I got there myself. I didn't have an agency, I didn't have this massive following, I'm not this massive name. I'm just a girl in corporate America, a retired NFL cheerleader, just chasing a dream in a pandemic and it happened. It's a historic magazine that I cannot believe I'm in."

There are three different covers for this year's issue, featuring rapper Megan Thee Stallion, professional tennis player Naomi Osaka and actress/model Leyna Bloom, who is the first transgender woman to ever be featured on the iconic cover.

Wilson still doesn't know which of her photos, which were taken by Yu Tsai in Atlantic City, N.J., will be featured in the magazine.

Wilson cheered for the Ravens for five years (2016-2020) before deciding to retire shortly before finding out she was a SI finalist. A North Carolina native who lived in Baltimore for seven years, Wilson recently moved to Florida with her boyfriend and switched from medical sales to doing sales for Toast, a restaurant point of sale and management system.

At the same time, Wilson hopes to use the SI Swimsuit Issue and experiences and contacts she's made along the way to continue building her brand, which advocates for self-help and self-empowerment.

"I've always been somebody that tries to wear as many hats as possible," Wilson said. "I love my job at Toast, but I also want to open doors to more modeling, I want to do more podcasts, maybe more hosting and things like that."

Now fans can vote for their favorite "Swim Search" model, so Ravens fans can still give Wilson a boost. Voting ends Aug. 2.

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