• Claire Kittle

Miami Swim Week 2018

Updated: Jul 2

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July 11th-16th 2018

The power of manifestation is real people…. Miami Swim week takes place in July each summer and way back in March I blocked off that week in my schedule in order to make it a point to get a casting and be able to go. I researched all of the brands and promoters and sponsors that would be involved in the show. I found their contact information and ultimately casting submissions for various brands and sent in my info. 




At first I didn’t receive anything back and then a few months later repeated the process. Sure enough, I received an email right away from the main show sponsor Art Hearts Fashion inviting me to their casting for multiple different clients. I was through the roof excited! Around that same time the Sports Illustrated Swim Search was happening and while on vacation I decided to make a video and submit that as well. I figured If I was going to be in Miami I may as well put myself out there for all of the possible castings.

Swim week shape, not my leanest not my thickest, definitely happy and loving my curves so much more!


a little R&R at the pool before my crazy week begins!


When I signed with my first modeling agency in February of last year they sat me down and asked the question, “what are your modeling goals?” My response- I want to walk in Miami Swim Week and I want to be in Sports Illustrated! At the same time I was saying this the founder of my agency walked out of his office and said “you and everyone else honey.” I kind of made a face at him as to say “watch me.” In the most respectful & sweet way possible lol. Now, he knew nothing about me and i’m sure he does hear that all the time but, it just didn’t quite sit right with me. Ever since I was young I have marveled at the beautiful, powerful and confident women that have graced the cover of magazines and have been spokeswomen for Sports Illustrated Swim. Arguably the most well known magazine and the pinnacle of the swim modeling world. I never really believed It could be attainable until probably last year. Growing up in Iowa and knowing really nothing but sports my whole life, I didn’t seem to think past college. Well, that hit me like a ton of bricks when I graduated and was no longer passionate about anything. Not having the one constant I have had my whole life was extremely hard! Not only that but I was no longer in that pristine athlete shape I had been my whole life. This came with negative self doubt and talking myself down, which I had never done before! This is where my decision to train for a fitness competition came in. Moving to California I saw a whole new world of opportunity that growing up in Iowa I wasn’t exactly exposed to. I became more and more interested in modeling as I became more and more confident in myself and my body. Sports illustrated’s whole motto is be who you want to be and own it. They praise every woman’s body and honestly her brain and personality too. They encourage you to be a complete individual and run with what makes you different. They have broken the mold and the stereotype of the modeling world and have opened so many more doors for women who are not stick thin. They emphasize being healthy and making  your own category rather than trying to fit into someone else’s. So when I found out about their second ever open casting I had to throw down my walls and jump at the opportunity.

If you’ve never been to Miami, it’s exhausting lol. The weather is amazing and sunbathing couldn’t be any better but I have never been more exhausted from something unrelated to physical activity. I’m sure the 10 hour casting calls and waiting in lines all day long had a huge impact on that but even on my ‘chill’ days I ended up in bed by 8:30-9pm. It’s such a different world from any place i’ve been before. I booked my flights a week a part and stayed at the Marriott Biscayne bay right on the water across from South Beach, it  was B-E-A-utiful! 

in the Uber on the way to my first swim casting!


My first casting was held at a huge mansion on the northern part of Miami Beach. Absolutely breathtaking but completely over run with girls in bikinis lol. Most would say quit complaining lol. I have never done something like this before so I  had no idea what to expect! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little overwhelmed. The Art Hearts casting was from 4pm-8pm and I got there a little before 4pm and the line was out the door almost off the property. Tip #1 ALWAYS ARRIVE EXTREMELY EARLY. It’s best to be seen early and fresh rather than later when they have probably already found the models they need. when I say I waited all day, I mean I WAITED ALL DAY long to walk for maybe 6 seconds in front of the designers lol. It’s all a part of the process and you just have to keep telling yourself to be positive in moments like this cause trust me it does get hard! To be honest with you I think at this point even the designers were exhausted and over it cause they were hardly paying attention as we walked by. essentially if they stopped you as you were walking by then you could give them your information and hope for a call or email back. At the end of the day  I am so glad I went because I learned so much just by watching the process and taking everything in around me. I’ll be so much more prepared for my next huge casting like this.



^^^ Inside the Art Hearts Fashion casting ^^^

On one of my chill days I enjoyed the beach with my mom and did some shopping on South Beach. Not to mention we had AMAZING Cuban food the majority of the time we were there.

So many selfies on this trip. The first Cuban restaurant we went to was called Versailles. AMAZING.


Obviously we had to turn it into a beach photoshoot cause why not?

Later that day I had a meeting with NEXT Models Miami a huge modeling agency right there on South Beach. The meeting went extremely well, I met the head of the Curve department and he put me in contact with an amazing photographer I could shoot with while I was down there. Andre Gabb is the real deal for any of you looking to build your portfolio.


After the beach, my meeting and shopping around we stopped at Havannah 1957 for some more amazing Cuban food.


The Sports Illustrated Swim casting was very similar to the first casting I went to a few days prior. Thousands of girls, long lines and lots of waiting. But  I did meet amazing women and got to introduce myself to some of the most incredible Sports Illustrated models. The Day started at 9 am I got there at 8am to a huge line probably 150 girls ahead of me. The sun started to come out and girls were baking in the heat, they tried to accommodate by moving everyone around but ultimately messing up everyones place in line. what would’ve probably been a 2 hr wait in line ended up turning into a 4-5 hr wait in line. Which is fine! I was getting tan and met awesome girls in line around me. I knew we would all be seen at some point in the day. But plenty of ladies around me made it known that they were not happy about it. Once we got through the doors we were assigned a number and told to wait until our number was called. In this time we could hang out, grab something to eat and mingle with the other models.



I have never in my life felt so intimidated by such a large group of gorgeous, intelligent, and driven women. Once I started talking to those around me I actually had the best time waiting in line. No one really knew each other and we were all there for the same goal. It was so much fun getting to know all the girls around me and kind of supporting one another a long the way.

The BIGGEST take away I have from this whole experience is to never second guess yourself. You are unique and beautiful in your own way and just because it’s not exactly what someone is looking for at this exact point in time doesn’t mean that your time wont come. Timing is a wild and crazy thing and it has to aline properly. I became more and more confident as the day went on and actually thought to myself wow I could actually freaking do this. These are normal every day girls around me mixed in with supermodels who have been doing this their whole life and we are all getting the exact same opportunity. I really did have to take a step back and observe and truly tell myself how great it was I was actually here. The setting was so positive and all the girls were so incredibly genuine and supportive. It’s sad to say but that 100% is not the norm or the stereotype within a big group of girls. At least not in my experience. Sports Illustrated has a way of bringing out the greatest parts of each woman.

My two fav Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models Camille Kostek & Haley Kalil, thank you wonderful ladies for taking the time to talk to me. Hope we meet again someday soon in a stadium & at a shoot 😉

My two babes Barron & Nicole thanks for putting up with me all day <3 you have no idea how much you helped me get through the day and enjoy the process a long the way! Hope we meet again in NYC or CA or FL <3 thats a well rounded United States right there 😉

Ps. we met outside in line at 8am and Nicole door dashed a smoothie lol hot mess express brings friends together. I loved laughing both with you two and at you lololol.

They were taking girls back 60 at a time to get interviewed in the first step of the search process. We get to the back room and there are 4 tables with different woman behind the Sports Illustrated Swim scene sitting there. We started getting called up one by one and its more like small talk. hi how are you where are you from what did you study what do you do now how long have you  modeled stuff like that. All while flipping through your portfolio. we were up there for no longer than a minute and a half per person. I got a lot of positive feedback from the woman I met with but ultimately wasn’t what they were looking for exactly at the time. I was dismissed and didn’t see past the first round. I think the interviews continued from there but those who continued on didn’t end up meeting Mj til about the 4th or 5th round.  I was EXHAUSTED! But so extremely grateful for the opportunity and the whole experience. I walked away that day with so much confidence and desire to further my career. So thank you again, SI team for this opportunity and I hope you continue doing this for years to come, it really is so powerful.

After the SI casting day I had no other obligations or meetings or castings or shows to go to so momma and I planned a full beach day! We got a recommendation to check out Nikki Beach Club on South Beach.





Highly recommend! If you want to party this is your place if you want some privacy at your own little umbrella and chairs on the beach then this place is for you too! I had the best day relaxing and tanning and eating great food with my momma.

The one thing I for sure wanted to do while we were in Miami was go on  some type of a boat to watch the sunset. Our final day we did just that! It is my absolute favorite thing being on the water seeing all the calm and the beauty in the water and sky.






Thank you Miami & my momma & G & SI & all the amazing women I met for the best week in Miami! I will be back and I will walk in a show….. one day. It’s a dream bby girl go for it!

Xx Lettey

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Nashville, TN

San Jose, CA  

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