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Retired 57-Year-Old Model Poses For Iconic Sports Illustrated Issue

via ABC News

Nina Cash, a 57-year-old retired university associate dean, is set to become a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit rookie, joining other finalists in the 2024 issue.

Encouraged by her husband, she submitted her photo to the casting call, receiving an overwhelming response.

“My heart just started pounding – I got tears in my eyes,” Cash recalled. (Trending: Biden Baffles Thanksgiving Guests With Bizarre Joke)

“I was shocked but happily shocked. I was so happy that all seven of us were doing this together.”

“To this day I still pinch myself,” she said.

“Is this even happening to me? Just a year and a half ago, I was an associate dean at a university. Now I’m a rookie who’s going to be on the 60th anniversary issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.”

Despite some criticism, she aims to inspire others, especially older individuals, to pursue their dreams.

“People have told me, ‘Your husband pushed you into [modeling] a bikini – I would never push my wife to do that,’” said Cash.

“No – my husband encouraged me because I wanted to do it. Big difference. He didn’t say, ‘I want you to show everybody that you could wear a bikini at [57]’. He said, ‘Honey, if you want to do it, I support you 125%.'”

“There are some men that still… want to put the person with the gray or silver hair in this box,” she said.

“Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘You can only be offended if you allow yourself to be offended.’ I don’t know those people making the negative comments and I won’t dwell on that… I get a lot of people private messaging me [on social media] saying, ‘Thank you for making it OK to go gray,’ or, ‘Thank you for making it OK for a woman to be an educator or to have advanced degrees and still do something like this.’”

“A lot of times, you have to be really smart, but you can’t also be in a bikini because those two, for whatever reason, don’t go together.'”

“You have to be one or the other. Nope, I’m here to say you don’t. You can be educated, and you can also be in a bikini… Do what’s going to make you happy.”

Cash hopes to challenge stereotypes about aging and beauty, emphasizing the importance of embracing different life stages.

“Never in a million years did I think I would be walking in one of the biggest runway shows in the world,” she said.

“… It rained – in Filipino culture, when it rains on your wedding day or when it rains on a special day, it means really good luck. So when some people [were] like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s raining,’ I’m like, ‘Bring on the rain – it’s magic right now!’”

“Having my husband, my best friend, my daughter in the audience cheering me on was just so encouraging,” she added.

“Not to mention, the SI Swim family… It was magic… They gifted me a bag that I got to walk with on the runway that said, ‘Gone gray and still slay.’ Yes, you can go gray and still slay. There is nothing wrong with that. So embrace it – embrace the gray.”

Her story reflects a message of self-acceptance and living life to the fullest, regardless of age.

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