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INTERVIEW: Former Miss Georgia USA And "Sports Illustrated" Model, Jasmyn Wilkins, Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down

Shakir Philippe

Jasmyn Wilkins is an American fashion model, social media personality and actress. (Photo: Holly Parker)

Former Miss Georgia USA and current Sports Illustrated model, Jasmyn Wilkins, is an American fashion model, social media personality and actress. She comes from a long line of professional athletes who all had monumental careers in the NBA. After winning the Miss Georgia USA competition in 2012, she went on to place 4th runner up at Miss USA in Las Vegas.

Following the pageant Jasmyn attended both Clemson University and Georgia State University where she obtained her bachelor's degree in Sociology. She then immediately went on to become a full time fashion model. Jasmyn is currently signed with Next Model Management in Miami, ONE.1 in New York City, LA Models, Select Chicago and MGM Germany. During her long career, she has modeled for several well known beauty, fitness and fashion brands such as Nike, L'Oréal, Maybelline, Savage x Fenty, Adore Me, House of CB, and Bite Beauty.

Wilkins also landed a coveted spot as a rookie in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in 2018 where she shot in Nevis with the likes of Ashley Graham and Kate Bock. Jasmyn has been dedicated in using her growing platform to not only show her success in the fashion industry and love of all things health and beauty, but to also bring light and awareness to many social issues such as mental health de-stigmatization, racial injustices, and organ donation. I got a chance to speak with the bicoastal, Atlanta-based model about her expansive career, background, and inspiration.

What are your favorite memories as a pageant winner of Miss Georgia USA in 2012?

JW: The whole experience was so life changing, as I had never competed in a pageant prior to Miss GA USA and Miss USA. The most memorable thing though was all of the opportunities I got to work with kids and teens. I became an ambassador for a program called The For A Day Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization where children in hospitals (specifically the oncology ward) are thrown a big day party where they get to be anything from Queens for a Day to Firefighters for a Day where the local fire department pulled out all of the stops. I was introduced to the program during Queen Day and we gave the kids in the ward manicures, facials, makeovers and they always loved wearing my crown and sash for photos. It was the most rewarding part of my pageant days and I continued to work with the programs in the years following. The actual telecast was also very memorable. Being on a national stage in front of millions of viewers and making it to the final 5 was surreal.

How has your life changed since being featured in Sports Illustrated in 2018?

JW: Being in Sports Illustrated was definitely a game changer for my modeling career. I was able to work with clients that I had only dreamt about shooting for such as Maybelline and Savage x Fenty. It does help having a big job like SI on my resume when it comes to meeting casting directors and photographers. I still get goosebumps when I look at my rookie page on our coffee table. I'm forever grateful for my time with Sports Illustrated and the career boost it provided.

What is something you wish people knew about you?

JW: I wish people knew that I'm obsessed with music and that I grew up playing the saxophone in both the wind symphony and the marching band. I think coming from the family that I come from people, assume that my first love would be sports, but I always chose music and the arts over sports. My music taste is all over the place. I really love any and everything from Hip Hop and R&B to House and Rock music.

Do you have any advice for the young girls who look up to you and your career?

JW: Don't change who you are just to fit in with societal and beauty standards. Look at how much beauty has been redefined in the past five years alone. People are learning to love their bodies, their hair textures, their freckles etc. I remember when I first started modeling I was considered curvy at a size 2 and I faced a lot of pressure to lose weight and get work done. I even had a top agency in NYC that I was prepared to sign to tell me that they wanted to put me on a soup diet, scrap my entire book and work five days a week with a personal trainer. With so much outside pressure and influences from social media it can get to your head as a young girl. Also, make sure to always keep a strong and supportive circle around to help keep you level headed.

Did your father, uncle and brother's career inspire you to be as exceptional in your field?

JW: Definitely, they were so committed to reaching success in their careers that it was only natural that that competitive drive would trickle down to my siblings and I. I was always especially inspired by my father. He was constantly being compared to my uncle Dominique who had already cemented his career as a Hall of Famer. My dad had to hustle hard to carve out a professional identity for himself, which is something that I can relate to. They also each played for 13 plus years, which is almost unheard of to have that long of a career in sports. I would love to have that much longevity in my own career.

Which social issues mean the most to you to use your platform to speak about?

JW: I am passionate about so many things - from providing resources to helping combat social and racial injustice to bringing light and awareness to the importance of organ donation, as well as mental health, particularly mental health laws and destigmatization. Each one of these issues has had a profound impact on my life, so I've used my Instagram in particular to provide resources and information for my followers that may be struggling to find help. Our social media platforms are such powerful and useful tools. I am lucky to have the reach and the following that I do and will continue to use my voice to advocate for those who are unseen and underserved.

Fore more updates, you can follow her on Instagram @JasmynWilkins.

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