Haley Kalil at all times wished to be a mannequin. However till lately, she was satisfied it was by no means, ever going to occur.
“Once I was little, I watched ‘America’s Subsequent Prime Mannequin,’ and would apply all of the poses on the playground,” the 26-year-old mentioned on the set of her picture shoot for The Submit. “However I used to be like, the stereotypical nerd. I had glasses, I had the bizarre haircut … in my head, there have been so many roadblocks in the way in which.”
Then, in November 2017, the trail abruptly cleared. Kalil appeared within the Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit Concern as one in all six finalists from the journal’s open casting name.
The Minnesota native went on to win the competitors — alongside 2019 Swimsuit Concern cowl lady Camille Kostek — and was featured as a rookie within the 2019 difficulty, alongside veteran bikini babe Paulina Porizkova and Kalil’s longtime idol, Tyra Banks.
Snacking on a pre-breakfast bodega haul of Bugles and Weight-reduction plan Dr. Pepper, Kalil mentioned that her greatest setback as an aspiring mannequin got here in 2010, when she was 17. To her shock, she gained the Miss Minnesota Teen USA pageant, which she entered as a result of she wished to place the prize cash towards faculty.
It was her second-ever pageant, and he or she mentioned each experiences helped her see herself as one thing apart from “the bizarre child.”
“After the primary pageant, any person got here as much as me and was like, ‘you’re so fairly!’ It hit me, like, ‘I’m?!’” she mentioned, including that she had been bullied at school for thus lengthy that it was onerous to be ok with her seems to be. However her on-stage success helped her muster the boldness to method a modeling company.
Sadly, it didn’t go nicely. A rep requested her peak and weight, after which informed her, “You’re gonna must be a few inches taller and a few inches smaller.”
As Kalil recalled, “After that, I used to be like, okay, I’m not a mannequin.”
So, the daughter of two engineers went all-in on her different ardour: science. At St. Cloud College, she double-majored in biomedical science and psychology, with a minor in chemistry. Kalil labored as an immunology lab tech after faculty and was planning to take the MCAT when she noticed the Sports activities Illustrated casting name on Instagram.
She was so excited that, instantly, she filmed a cute however no-frills audition video and uploaded it from a resort room in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
By then, the 5-foot-7-inch magnificence was already married to Matt Kalil, a professional soccer participant who she met whereas on a Tinder date together with his buddy.
“It was the world’s worst date,” Kalil mentioned, laughing. “He saved telling me how one in all his pals lived so near [the restaurant] and I used to be like, ‘Invite him!’ [Matt] was my method out.” (There are not any onerous emotions, she added — the three are all nonetheless good pals.)
Her husband now performs for the Houston Texans, which signifies that the couple — who tied the knot simply 4 months after they began relationship, in 2015 — and their three canines break up time bouncing between Texas, Minnesota and New York.
Kalil is fast to level out that her modeling profession continues to be new and he or she doesn’t know what is going to occur within the coming years. She hopes there’s a lot extra work to come back from Sports activities Illustrated and past.
However she additionally is aware of it might all finish as rapidly because it started— during which case, Kalil would research to be a doctor’s assistant.
“I’m very grateful, and never simply because it’s an opportunity to be like, ‘haters, I did it!’” she joked. “However as a result of I’m actually dwelling my dream.”
Pictures: Tamara Beckwith/NY Submit; Stylist: Emma Pritchard; Hair/Make-up: T. Cooper/crowdMGMT utilizing ECRU New York; Location: Dream Downtown, 355 W 16th St. NY, NY.