Among the 14 finalists competing for a chance to appear in the Sports Illustrated’s 2023 Swimsuit Issue is Kelly Crump, who is living with metastatic breast cancer.
Thousands of people applied to the 2022 Swim Search, an annual casting call that gives both aspiring and established models a chance to be featured in the next edition of the iconic issue. This year’s group of diverse models included a high-altitude climber, a lawyer, an astronaut and an ICU nurse.
The oldest of the 14 finalists, Crump was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38 after discovering a lump in her chest. She had no family history of the disease. In 2019, the cancer spread to her neck, lung, armpit, ribs and spine; she has since undergone six surgeries and 60 rounds of chemotherapy.
To cope, Crump took to her Instagram, @itskellycrump, where she candidly shares her experience with others and has garnered a dedicated following over the past year.
“The amazing, smart, beautiful and diverse people they are putting in the magazine just makes me so proud that I have been given a chance to be a part of it all,” Crump told People. “I never thought I would ever even have the chance to submit myself for the magazine but here I am at 42-years-old living with Stage IV Metastatic Breast cancer and that dream has come true!”
This was the second year Crump applied and “never in a million years” did she think she would become a finalist.
Crump has admired the Swimsuit Issue since seeing the 25th anniversary edition with Kathy Ireland on the cover as a young girl living in North Carolina.
“I love how the magazine has evolved over the years and how it now focuses on empowering and supporting strong beautiful women from all backgrounds,” she said.
With over 22,000 Instagram followers, Crump’s Instagram account is dedicated to “defying the look of Stage IV cancer” as well as inspiring people to live life to the fullest.
“I want to give hope, encouragement and inspiration to others to follow their dreams in life. To remind them that every day given is a gift, that they are amazing and that the small moments in life are what can really make you happy!”
This year’s finalists will be flown to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, for a photo shoot with photographer Yu Tsai; the winner will be featured in the 2023 issue.