Who is Lewis Freese, Sports Illustrated’s first male swimsuit finalist?

You may not know his name yet, but Lewis Freese may soon join the ranks of Kate Upton and Ashley Graham.

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Freese is the first male model to be named a finalist for Sports Illustrated’s coveted swimsuit edition, “Good Morning America” reported.

The 21-year-old said he was obsessed with models like Upton and Graham when he was growing up. He said in his submission video that they gave him the inspiration to be confident in who he was.

“But as a man and as a teenager, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed of that because I was told for so long I had to look up to men and I had to aspire to be something that a man would be and not a woman,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Freese, who lives in Minnesota and is a full-time student, applied to become an SI model. He first applied in 2019.

He said in an Instagram post that his dream is finally coming true.

He said being the first male model chosen as a finalist doesn’t bother him.

“I really don’t view myself as the first but as the next,” he told People magazine. “The next model to break a barrier, the next model to have these uncomfortable conversations, the next model to be unapologetically myself. I am so grateful to be a part of a group of finalists who all represent completely different messages, yet have the same goal, to further inclusivity.”

Freese isn’t the only one making history in this year’s casting call.

Model and musician Yumi Nu, who is Japanese Dutch, is the first Asian curve model to be featured in the swimsuit edition, Page Six reported.

The swimsuit issue hits newsstands on July 20.


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