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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Natalie Mariduena is aiming for right down the middle. She believes the normal body size in underrepresented in modeling and hopes to serve as an example for that genre.
The 25-year-old’s appearance in this year’s magazine is her second. Her first appearance came after she won a Sports Illustrated poll asking fans which “Instagram baddie” should be a featured in the next swimsuit issue.
“In the industry, you see models who are very thin or your see plus-size models, but there isn’t this genre of modeling that’s right in the middle,” the Chicago native told Fox News Digital.
“I try to champion that for other people. I want to be an example of that and show that it’s cool and it’s beautiful. [On social media] I show my body, I show my life, I show what I represent and what I value with no filter. Whether it’s a bikini image or just an image of me out in the street in a cute outfit, I want to show that the normal body size is valued.”
There’s nothing wrong with normal
The self-described snack queen and pasta lover has over 3.5 million followers on Instagram alone. That seems to indicate that she’s having a good bit of success representing the normal body size.
Mariduena’s followers appreciate her representation. They also appreciate that she’s not relying on filters or Photoshop to craft her image.
“I have so many followers who are young women, very impressionable and looking at me as an example for themselves,” she said. “I try to connect with people, whether it’s through DMs or the comments section. I’m often told, ‘I have your body type — thank you for showing this.’ These people are showing their appreciation towards me and I want to give that love back. Because I have this platform, I think it’s more important than ever that I provide positivity for women.”
Mariduena has gone from YouTuber assistant to Instagram baddie to the pages of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in just the last few years. That’s quite the run. Being normal appears to be working out just fine for her.