Georgina Burke Reflects on the Impact Being in SI Swimsuit Had on Her Career

The Australia native said ‘staying true to yourself’ is key in the modeling industry.
Georgina Burke

Georgina Burke.

SI Swimsuit model Georgina Burke got sappy when reflecting on her debut SI Swimsuit experience last year. The 31-year-old opened up in a recent video with her agency, IMG Models, and answered questions related to all things modeling.

The Australia native was discovered at the age of 17 in her hometown of Brisbane, Australia. The agent said they would sign her on the spot under the condition that she lose weight.

“I was about a size 10 at the time. I tried my hardest and it sucked,” Burke recalled. “As a 17-year-old, getting told to ‘lose weight,’ you do fall victim to that. I fell into anorexia. Honestly, it’s taken many years [to recover] and it’s something that I’m going to forever be working on, especially as a woman in the fashion industry.”

Burke then took it upon herself to find modeling avenues that would not view her size as a disadvantage or deal breaker. Burke, who has modeled for Ralph Lauren’s swimwear line for more than a decade, learned that “health is wealth” and is “the most important thing.”

“I think I look better with a little curve,” she added with a smirk.

Burke went to law school before moving to New York to pursue modeling full-time. She made her SI Swimsuit debut last year and was photographed by Ben Watts in Barbados.

“Finding out I was gonna be in Sports Illustrated [was] a huge milestone in my career,” Burke gushed. “I was stuck in Montana and they gave me 24 hours to get out to Barbados. So it was kind of cool that I didn’t get to freak out. I didn’t do any crazy diets or anything silly that you think you’d want to do for this shoot.”

She noted that her experience with the Swim Team was unforgettable, and different from previous photo shoots she had been a part of.

“I walked on set and [editor in chief] MJ [Day] was so incredible because she said, ‘If there’s any swim you don’t feel like comfortable in, you don’t wear it,’” Burke continued. “That doesn’t happen on a shoot. She’s so about the woman feeling empowered and beautiful and confident.”

The Burke NYC founder noted that the modeling industry is quite different in the U.S. compared to other countries, where bigger sizes are even less mainstream.

“I didn’t get to see that as a kid growing up in magazines. It’s not even that long ago—in 2016 Ashley Graham was put on the front cover [of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit]. And again, that was a huge deal. To see a woman of her size and caliber being put on a magazine cover and let alone being in a very itsy bitsy bikini,” she explained. “But it’s those moments that we are making huge strides and gaining traction. I want to applaud Sports Illustrated for doing so and again putting me in the issue.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.