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7 Things to Know About Sports Illustrated’s Natalie Noel: From Her Celebrity Crush to Her Biggest Goals (Exclusive)

7 Things to Know About Sports Illustrated's Natalie Noel
Neserin Danan

Totally herself! Sports Illustrated model and influencer Natalie Noel‘s authenticity has caught the attention of 3.5 million Instagram users — and she’s embracing every minute with pride.

Related: Look Back at Every ‘S.I. Swimsuit’ Cover Since 1964

Some might recognize the 25-year-old from her appearances in David Dobrik‘s “Vlog Squad” YouTube videos, but the Illinois native has since forged her own path. She was recently featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue for the second time, recapping the “surreal” accomplishment via social media.

“YEAR TWO!! OMG !! STILL DOESN’T FEEL REAL!!” she commented on the publication’s Instagram post congratulating her on the Belize photo shoot.

Fellow swimsuit model Camille Kostek gushed, “NAT 😍😍😍,” while SI‘s Brooks Nader raved, “GO BEST FRIEND!!!! @natalinanoel 😍😍😍😍 insane 😍😍.”

7 Things to Know About Sports Illustrated's Natalie Noel
Natalie Noel Neserin Danan

While reflecting on her career journey, Noel exclusively told Us Weekly that she still has some major items she’d like to check off of her modeling bucket list. “I obsess over fashion day in and day out,” she said. “I would love to attend fashion week, be a part of a luxury fashion campaign or even start my own brand one day! Who knows!”

Related: Celebrities Who Are Leading the Body-Positive Movement

Keep scrolling to get to know more about Noel — from her celebrity crush to her advice for aspiring influencers:

Us: What was it like being part of Sports Illustrated? How empowering was it for you to be a part of?

Natalie Noel: Sports Illustrated was the most empowering moment of my career. They recognized and praised me for being exactly who I was and appreciated the differences I have from a stereotypical model. I will never forget such a major accomplishment!

Us: Was there a pivotal moment in your life that really helped grow your followers?

NN: 2019 is when I saw the most growth and that was because I was collaborating and putting myself out there with all sorts of people. I helped to coordinate giveaways, surprises and celebrity encounters with my friends for YouTube. We ate, slept and breathed our content and it showed. I’m biased, but we made some of the most viral and epic videos on YouTube!

Us: What’s the best advice you can give on becoming an influencer?

NN: As cliché as it sounds, consistency is key! It’s important to find your niche — whether that’s a talent you have or something you’re passionate about — and tell the world. Making content you love and naturally engage with will attract a true and dedicated audience!

Us: What are three fun facts about you that no one knows?

NN: 1. I have likely broken some sort of record for chronic hiccups. I get them every day, without fail for the past 10 years.
2. I put Cholula on everything.
3. I was supposed to be born on Christmas Eve, hence my middle name Noel.

Us: What (if any) celebrity has reached out to you to try to collab and/or said they were a fan? What was that conversation like?

NN: I had the chance to meet my longtime celeb crush Halsey, and the following day [they] asked me to be in [their] Valentine’s Day commercial for AboutFace Beauty. I grew up on [Halsey’s] music and attending [their] concerts. That 48-hour span of time felt so surreal.

Us: Who (celebrity-wise) is your biggest inspiration? Whose account do you follow the most and what do you love about him/her?

NN: My biggest inspiration at the moment is Emma Grede, she’s a boss woman — [she’s] CEO of Good American and cofounded Skims. An overall very intelligent, driven and classy businesswoman, her motivation and accomplishments inspire me to one day do the same. I also, of course, love Halsey and [their] bold attitude. [They’re] not afraid of anyone and tell it like it is!

Us: What’s your goal as an influencer? What are you hoping to accomplish and/or spread the word about?

NN: I obsess over fashion day in and day out. I would love to attend fashion week, be a part of a luxury fashion campaign or even start my own brand one day! Who knows! My favorite brand of the moment is Jacquemus. I think a person’s style speaks loudly whether it’s over the top or minimal. I think style is best when it’s effortless and inexpensive.

With reporting by Diana Cooper

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