Lewis Freese is making history at “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.” The Minnesota native and full-time student is the first male finalist in the history of “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s” annual Swim Search.
“SI’s” open casting call gives fresh faces and established models alike a chance to grace the cover of their iconic “Swimsuit” issue. Freese is the first male finalist, but tells “People” magazine that the milestone “doesn’t phase” him – he’s glad to be part of a larger conversation about inclusivity.
"I really don't view myself as the first but as the next. The next model to break a barrier, the next model to have these uncomfortable conversations, the next model to be unapologetically myself,” Freese says. “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."
photo: Getty Images (file. Not the actual SI model.)