The Florida native Kayla Fitzgerald is no stranger to beauty and fashion. Placing in Top 15 in Sports Illustrated’s open casting call for their first ever SI Swimsearch, she walked in their debut fashion show for Miami Swim Week.
Honing in on her calling, she has been blessed with accolades and even gracing magazine covers such as Maxim, Sports Illustrated and has been featured in international media sites TMZ, Parade, CBS, Yahoo, and more.
Kayla is here to not just break barriers but completely knock them down. Her philosophy in life is to be the “best version and to live life to the fullest while treating others with respect and kindness.” When asked about how she plans on using her platform to make a difference during this racial and cultural global re-set she wishes to continue having those “tough conversations and to be as educated as possible.“
Take a look at the full interview below.
Do you believe in zodiac signs and if so what’s yours? Yes!!! 1000 percent. I am a Leo through and through.
Do you believe in ghosts and have you seen one? I do. I have experienced a few different paranormal things…. nothing evil but I definitely believe in ghosts.
Weirdest fact about you! Hmmm that’s tough. I don’t know if I can pinpoint one right off the top of my head, but I’m overall just a big goofball and i consider myself weird, Haha!
What’s your philosophy in life? I always strive to be my best version and to live life to the fullest while treating others with respect and kindness. We aren’t promised tomorrow, and you never know what’s next, so I try not to take anything for granted and to treat each day as if it’s my first and last.
How have you grown since first walking for Sport’s Illustrated’s debut fashion show during Miami Swim Week? Nope, I am still short, hahah Just kidding. YES!!! Absolutely. That truly was such an amazing experience and milestone. Working with SI was a dream and it reassured me that If i put my mind to something, I can achieve it.
The world is in a re-set moment culturally, racially and in so many other ways. How do you feel you are playing your part in this change? I think it’s so important to have the tough conversations and to be as educated as possible. I have always used my platform to spread knowledge when I find something that I think could be useful to others and I’m not afraid to speak out, even if it’s controversial. If everyone could try to come from a place of understanding, and spread love and open up the conversations, i think we would realize how much we actually have in common and how much we believe in the same things, which is when change and compassion happens. So with that, I am always putting myself in the position to come from a place of understanding and using my platform to push the same.
How do you define true beauty? Beauty comes in so many shapes and forms that don’t include the outside appearance. I think it’s all about how you treat others and how that translates into your every day life, that’s beauty!
When you look back at your career, what would you say is that one consistent thing that sets you apart from everybody else? That’s a tough one! I think the easiest difference that I could point out would be that I am petite and have been fighting for recognition as a petite model for the past 10 years. Now with social media and this era of inclusivity, it’s becoming more acceptable, but even 5 years ago it really wasn’t a thing, so everything that I have accomplished was even more of a big deal.
Outside of physical attributes, I would have to say my persistence is something that sets me apart. There are a ton of beautiful women, but the amount of hard work it takes to succeed is really underestimated. I’m the person who will go the extra mile and stay an additional hour or two (even if I’m not being paid extra) just to make sure we achieved the goal for that day!
Can you share a personal experience that has reshaped your views on fashion? The thing I love about fashion is that it’s ever changing and there isn’t any aspect about it that’s “wrong” because it should just be whatever helps you embody YOU, that’s what’s cool about it is that everyone has their own sense of fashion. One thing that sticks out for me is there’s always been this ideal that fashion models have to be tall or runway models have to be tall … but why?
When I was walking for Sports Illustrated during Miami Swim Week, we had our fittings that morning and MJ Day, the editor, really wanted this one piece on me but it was too big in a few places. She sent it off to a tailor that day and had it done before the show for me to rock on the runway. If that doesn’t prove right there, that we don’t need to fit a mold, then I don’t know what does haha. It just reassured this idea that we actually can change this whole ideal that models have to be a certain size and height, it was really cool!
The definition of Contrast is “to be strikingly different.” What makes you strikingly different? I think I kind of explained that above already. Haha! Because being a petite model in this Industry is rare and different, but aside from that we’re all different and unique in our own way and I’m just excited to be in a position and time where we can embrace those parts of ourselves more than ever!