February 13, 2018 07:41 AM

The highly anticipated Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue cover was finally unveiled Tuesday morning, and the cover girl is a fresh face to the pages of SI. Instead of tapping a swimsuit issue regular, the editors of SI Swim went with newcomer Danielle Herrington, who was first featured as a Rookie in 2017.

So who exactly is the 24-year-old up-and-comer? Read on to find out how she got her big break, which SI Swim veteran inspired her to get into modeling and what she hopes to do next.

Her big break was B.I.G.

Her magazine and red carpet debuts weren’t like the humble beginnings of some stars. Her very first big photo shoot was for SI Swim last year as part of the Rookie class (which includes Olivia CulpoHunter McGrady and Ebonee Davis this year). And she told FOX News that she was so nervous on set last year that she couldn’t eat anything before the shoot.

Ben Watts for Sports Illustrated

“It took place in Fiji and I was really nervous,” she revealed. “You know how you’re so nervous your knees shake? That was me. SI was my first big job modeling so I definitely felt the pressure within me.”

And as if that’s not impressive enough, her first walk down the runway was during Philipp Plein’s star-studded spring 2017 show in September (which also featured Irina Shayk and Adriana Lima on the catwalk).

“I’m so grateful to Carine [Roitfeld] and her team for casting me in the Philipp Plein show, which was my New York Fashion Week debut,” she told CR Fashion Book. “I’m obsessed with Future and Nicki Minaj, who both performed, but my most starstruck moment by far was being backstage with Adriana Lima. She’s even more beautiful in real life.”

Ben Watts/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

She made her NYFW return at Plein’s fall 2018 show last weekend.

She’s from Compton, California.

She may be Bushwick-based now, but Herrington grew up in Compton, Califorina, and had a childhood that she describes as “pretty normal.”

“A lot of the time after school, we would go to my grandma’s house because my parents were working,” she shared. “We would swim, ride our bikes down the street, we had a trampoline, scooters, everything! I went to a private school so I guess I got away from the bad action.”

 

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She has a very low-key beauty routine.

Herrington calls herself “pretty chill” when asked to describe her beauty rituals. “My hair is a weave, so I just kind of wet it, put a little conditioner in, and let it air dry. It’s so easy,” she said. “I don’t really have acne, and just wash my face with the Neutrogena orange pump soap ($5.99), then moisturize with some basic cream like Pond’s ($4.99). My only splurge is the GlamGlow mask, which I use a lot.”

She feels sexiest when she’s spritzing perfume.

She told GQ she feels most sexy when she’s, “putting on lotion and my favorite perfume after a hot shower.”

One of her modeling idols is Tyra Banks.

Herrington revealed that she always aspired to have a career like Sports Illustrated Swimsuit two-time cover star Tyra Banks. “I just remember Tyra Banks being on the cover and that’s where it all started for me,” she said. “That’s what really made me pursue modeling. SI was a goal from that point, from seeing Tyra on the cover. It was love at first sight… everything happened naturally.”

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She wants her career to span between swim and high-fashion.

Even though Herrington’s making major moves in the swim world right now, she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into one modeling category. She told CR Fashion Book that she hopes the industry has room for someone who can do both swim and high-fashion.

“I started modeling when I was 13 years old, and I already had boobs and a butt then, with a baby face. I’m pretty much the same now,” she said. “Everybody knows me as a ‘swim’ girl, but I’m trying to get more into high fashion. I’m not like a ‘curve’ model, but I have curves, right? It seems the industry is finally making room for more kinds of beauty now.

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