At 57, Nina Cash is officially a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie.
The retired University of California associate dean will join Penny Lane, Brittney Nicole, Jena Sims, Sharina Gutierrez, Berkleigh Wright and Achieng Agutu in the 2024 issue. This is the first time the magazine will feature all of Swim’s finalists Search who participated in their annual Swim Week parade.
“My heart started pounding — I had tears in my eyes,” Cash told Fox News Digital of the news. “I was shocked but happily shocked. I was so happy that all seven of us were doing this together.”
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“To this day, I still pinch myself,” she exclaimed. “Is this even happening to me? Just a year and a half ago, I was an associate dean at a university. Now I’m a rookie who’s going to be featured in the 60th anniversary issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit .”
The original issue was published in 1964. It has since been a launching pad for models like Kathy Ireland, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson, Kate Upton and Ashley Graham. Cash said she was inspired by Kathy Jacobs, who became “the oldest rookie” at age 57 in 2021.
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It was Cash’s husband who motivated her to submit her photo to the annual casting call, which receives thousands of applications from hopeful models each year.
“People have said to me, ‘Your husband pushed you to wear a bikini — I would never push my wife to do that,'” Cash said. “No, my husband encouraged me because I wanted to do it. Big difference. He didn’t say, ‘I want you to show everyone you can wear a bikini at (57).’ said, ‘Honey, if you want to do it, I support you 125%.'”
Cash hasn’t always been so confident. When she was younger, she didn’t wear two pieces for fear of being judged.
“I was thinking today, ‘Girl, who cares what other people think?'” she laughed. “You live and you have to live…There will always be criticism no matter what you do…But if you stay true to yourself and block that out, you will be happy. I like to say there is none not about my business, what people think of me or what others say about me… If you are a light that shines, people who are not healed (will be) negatively affected by that light. I say shine anyway.
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Cash said she received an overwhelming response from younger women and men who fully supported her stripping down to their bikinis. But there will always be critics, Cash pointed out.
“There are men who still want to…put the person with gray or silver hair in that box,” she explained. “Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘You can only be offended if you allow yourself to be offended.’ I don’t know these people who are making negative comments and I won’t dwell on that… I get a lot of people sending me private messages (on social media) saying, “Thank you for allowing to go gray,” or, “Thank you for making it possible for a woman to become an educator or have advanced degrees and still do something like this.”
“A lot of times you have to be really smart, but you also can’t be in a bikini because those two, for whatever reason, don’t go together,” she explained. “You have to be one or the other. No, I’m here to say no. You can be educated, and you can also be in a bikini… Do what’s going to make you happy.”
In July, Cash strutted his stuff on the catwalk at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Show during Miami Swim Week.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be walking in one of the biggest parades in the world,” she said. “…It rained – in Filipino culture, when it rains on your wedding day or when it rains on a special day, it really means good luck. So when some people were like, ‘Oh my God, it’s raining,’ I tell me: ‘Bring some rain, it’s magical right now!'”
“Having my husband, my best friend and my daughter in the audience cheering me on was so encouraging,” she shared. “Not to mention the SI Swim family… It was magical… They gave me a bag that I got to walk the catwalk with that said, ‘I’ve gone gray and I’m still slaying.’ Yes, you can go gray and still kill. There’s nothing wrong with that. So accept it – accept the gray.
Today, Cash hopes his images will inspire others to take a big step in life and pursue their dreams, regardless of their age.
“Live life and embrace all the different stages of it,” she said. “Accepting the heartaches, the bad things, the good things – that’s life. And if you’re lucky enough to live a long time, then you’re very lucky. It’s an absolute privilege to grow old… And I think that “In America, we have this stigma that when you’re old, you’re not sexy anymore. You’re exhausted. You’re fragile. I think my generation…we don’t feel that. We don’t look that way. “We take care of ourselves. We pride ourselves on our health and being kind, loving, and supportive. So if I turn gray, if I inspire people, then I’m happy. “
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“The gift of being alive is not given to many,” she said. “It’s cut short. So do it – wear that bikini. Who cares what other people think? Run in the rain and dance in the rain in a bikini and love life. It’s all good. Life is too short. Let’s enjoy -in. and accept it.”
Original article source: The Sports Illustrated model, 57, becomes a rookie for the 2024 issue: “Embrace the gray”