Louisville woman named finalist for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A local woman is one of six finalists for the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Shannon Burton said it’s always been her dream.
At 50 years old, she decided to give it a shot.
“So, I promised myself if they open this back up, I’m going to try it and see what happens,” Burton said.
At six foot one, the Indiana native who now lives in Louisville played basketball for Duke and Butler.
She started modeling at the age 35. She never entered the SI Swim Search contest until this year, and did so by submitting a video shot by her husband in their backyard.
“The good part about it, (the video) was genuinely me and no bells or whistles, anything crazy,” Burton said.
She made it to the second round, which was a TikTok video.
“I just talked to the camera, one take and out,” Burton said with a laugh. “It worked.”
That was followed by a Zoom interview, when she was told she’s one of six finalists for the 2023 Swimsuit Issue and was invited to walk the runway at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show in Miami Beach.
Burton recalled her first time down the runway.
“I turn to the crowd and Jack Harlow’s ‘First Class’ song came on,” Burton said. “Louisville, I’m home.”
She said she decided just to have fun walking the runway.
”If you go out there and look scared, it doesn’t come across well on the runway,” Burton said. “So why not, it’s a moment.”
She said she also entered the contest because she wanted to show her two daughters, 16 and 18, to never give up. That it’s possible to overcome heartache, like the loss of her infant son.
Her older daughter’s twin brother died at nearly four months old after a virus attacked his heart.
”Nothing can get to you,” Burton said. “If you want to do something, you can do it. You just have to put your mind and your heart into it. You have to persevere.”
Shannon said since learning she’s a finalist, she hasn’t changed much about her diet or exercise routine. She said she has been lifting weights since the age of 15 and likes to eat clean.
She’s been told she should hear about whether she’s been chosen “shortly,” but whatever happens, she’s proven she can get through adversity and not give up on herself.
“It makes me so emotional to even think about,” Burton said. “I’m so close to like truly living out a lifelong dream.”
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