Sports Illustrated announced on Thursday that Rhode Island native and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo is among the models selected for the 2018 SI Swimsuit Rookie Class, a group of women who will be making their first appearances in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
“This was a major goal of mine because many of the women that have posed for SI have gone on to have such inspirational careers,” Culpo said in the release. “I feel so blessed that this goal is becoming a reality and it shows me that hard work and positive intentions can lead to something amazing.”
Culpo joins 11 other models in SI‘s rookie class, from which one will be selected as the Rookie of the Year. Past winners of the award include Chrissy Teigen and Kate Upton.
In the magazine’s release, Sports Illustrated hinted that Culpo and her fellow rookies have been working on an “all-new, top secret project” that will be released during the week of Valentine’s Day, along with the 2018 swimsuit issue.
Culpo also hinted at the project in an Instagram post.
“Today has been an absolute dream come true!!!” Culpo wrote in her Instagram caption. “I can’t believe I am a 2018 sports illustrated rookie! This has been a goal of mine for my entire career and it is something that I have worked towards for years. I can’t wait for you all to see the final product from this shoot – It is unlike any other project. Today truly reminded me that hard work and perseverance can pay off in such a huge way.”