Ashley Bird, a former construction worker for SI swim model, is exchanging her helmet for a bikini: “very surreal”


Ashley Bird decided to become a model – so she took on the role of a construction worker.

Amite, Louisiana, had a big dream beyond a small town. Her tough gig not only gave her the money she needed to achieve her goals, but also raised a group of her friends throughout her life in the process.Now when she marks her this year, those companions are rooting for her Sports Illustrated Swimwear Issues..

Bird, the finalist of SISwimSearch in 2022, was selected from thousands of submissions taken by acclaimed SI photographer Cai Yu. The winner of the annual casting call will be a rookie in the 2023 issue.

Bird told Fox News Digital why he decided to follow Beyonce’s footsteps, the greatest lessons he learned in a short construction work, and why she feels more hopeful about her future.


Fox News: What did you want to try about SI Swim Search?
Ashley Bird: To be honest, that’s what I’ve wanted to do for years, but I somehow then talk about myself. “They aren’t going to pay attention to me,” I just thought. But finally, I decided not to think too much … so I took a tripod and a cell phone and took a video explaining why I thought it was right for me. I thought it would happen no matter what happened. I can’t handle it now. Well, here is * lol *.

Fox News: Did you become an adult and become familiar with SI swimwear?
Bird: Where I came from is different at first. Modeling isn’t that big. And I grew up playing sports – I wanted to be a WNBA star. But as I got older, I wanted to think about modeling and do my own thing.I remember seeing it Beyonce and Daniel Harrington on the cover.. When I saw them, I felt that I could do this. A Louisiana woman, it was exciting for someone like me * lol *. I didn’t expect to be an SI model, but I decided to try it. They encouraged me and gave me a drive to mark myself.

Fox News: You were initially hesitant to try swim search. How was your reaction when you learned that you were a finalist?
Bird: The screaming didn’t stop * lol *. Who would have thought, the first time, you would hear, “Hey, you’re on the next step.” I was honestly completely shocked. As I remember, I didn’t think I could do that, so I stopped trying it myself before. And finally, I just did it, without rethinking it. I certainly didn’t expect myself to be chosen. I’m glad I talked about myself for years and finally tried it.

I remember saying “Thank you Jesus” many times after receiving the news. I think every girl dreams of becoming an SI model At some point in her life. So when she finally got the call, I couldn’t stop her screaming. I had to apologize for the news, but I was told, “Please, please.” And I did. For some reason, this girl from the small town of Louisiana has come this far.

Click here to sign up for the Entertainment Newsletter

Fox News: Is it true that you were involved in construction before modeling?
Bird: Yes wife. I built it for several years. After graduating from college, I did some work. However, I finally wanted to move to Los Angeles or New York to pursue a modeling career, so construction began. And working in the construction of Louisiana meant more money. To do that, we needed to save money right away. So I tried it.

I thought it would be a short gig. But I worked in the construction industry for many years. I started working in the scaffolding area. It’s pure hard work non-stop. And I moved up. I was scared at first, but I was always a tomboy and comfortable around everyone. My brother is my best friend. So I knew how to handle myself around a group of guys. I am also very sociable. I was able to talk to anyone.

It was certainly different when I first entered the construction industry. The moment these guys saw a woman, they were everywhere * lol *. But you will soon be one of the guys. You dress like them too. And I adapted easily. For me, it was all about business. It was a stepping stone to get me where I needed it. Ultimately pursuing the modeling industry.. But one thing about construction is to meet people of all kinds of backgrounds and cultures.

I always loved it. And these are the people I’m still in contact with. They will be a family. It was a great experience. And it realized that I could handle anything. If you can handle the construction industry, you can tackle any challenge. I worked below freezing in winter and burned out in summer. I need another kind of hustle. So modeling? It’s easy to compare * lol *.


Fox News: Did any of your construction associates have anything to say about you being a SI Swim Search finalist?
Bird: Oh, they are very proud of me. They couldn’t stop blessing me. They buy the problem and use it to take pictures. They are excited that I have made my dream come true. In construction, it’s easy to stay in that ditch. Money is great. We are paid weekly. You earn over $ 1,000 a week. But that’s a lot of work. You work 6 days, sometimes 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. But we love that money.

It’s easy to get caught up in it and forget about your dreams and plans. I stayed a little longer than I expected, so I’m glad I decided to quit. It was easy to be comfortable. But one day I had to take a step back and decide what I really wanted to do in my life. And I knew I had this dream, and it would only happen if I did it. So I seized the opportunity. And I’m very happy with what I did. It’s very surreal.

Fox News: Your SI shoot was done in the Dominican Republic. How was it?
Bird: It’s a beautiful destination. From the moment you get off the plane, you will be welcomed by many people. They are very grateful that you got there. People are very attentive to you and want to make sure you have one of the best experiences you’ve ever had. Everything felt like a dream. That experience made me feel as a person and cherished. The weather was great, the food was great and the beach was just a paradise. I spent the time of my life.

Fox News: How Did you prepare for shooting???
Bird: I’m an athlete, so I exercise regularly. For me, it was about mental preparation. I wanted to be in a wonderful spiritual space. I wanted to incorporate everything without rethinking. So I had a lot of prayers and meditations before shooting. SI is so comprehensive that it is not expected to be displayed in any particular way. You are expected to look like you. So, I never had the moment, “I’m getting closer to shooting. I have to be in the gym all day, every day.” At the end of the day, I wanted them to see who I am as a person. I wanted to be me.

SISWIM model ASHLEY CALLINGBULL about making history as the first indigenous woman in question: “I had to do that”

Fox News: This year’s issue is celebrated as the most diverse to date.
Bird: And I think it’s very important. It was incredibly difficult for me when I started my modeling journey. You want to feel like you’re picking up a magazine and looking at it. You want to feel that you are important and that your characteristics are beautiful. Once you get that recognition as a model, you find it worthwhile. And it’s a privilege to know that you can feel that someone is picking up a magazine and looking at it because it’s part of it.

I have tried many agencies and jobs in the past. I heard a lot of no. As a model, especially as a black model, it can be very disappointing. I didn’t realize it because I don’t have 100,000 followers on social media. It can hurt you because you start believing that you are not enough. But SI’s message is “You are beautiful, and you are important.” They show other brands how it is done, and it is possible. And people want this.

Fox News: What kept you moving after being constantly rejected in the modeling industry?
Bird: It’s hard because I was disappointed. I did all this myself. I moved from Louisiana As I go to LA, I can open more doors for myself. However, there was no resource or support to pursue modeling. It was hard. I tried to break into the New York market, and again, a lot of no. I was so depressed that I didn’t know what to do. I started to wonder if I made a mistake.

But as soon as I came up with that idea, I immediately thought of another support system, my friend who supported me. And thank God for it. At the moment I wanted to give up, they told me, “See how far you have come. You have this, keep going. If that doesn’t happen today, it’s okay, do it tomorrow. Please see. ” They advised me to keep trying. They made me feel that it was possible when I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t. These numbers don’t affect me much now because I know this can be done. You need to keep pushing until the door is fully open.


Especially in this industry, you will hear a lot of nos. You will spend a lot of money building your portfolio and ensuring that your photos stand out. But over the years I have developed some thick skin, as I absolutely must have it to survive in this industry. I choose to pray and meditate, especially on days of disappointment. It can be difficult, but God does not give you challenges that you cannot overcome.