Introducing Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, 2023 SI Swimsuit Rookie

The fitness and wellness leader will make her SI Swimsuit Issue debut this spring.
Melissa Wood-Tepperberg photographed by Tu Ysai in Dominica.

Melissa Wood-Tepperberg photographed by Tu Ysai in Dominica.

Melissa Wood-Tepperberg is a certified health and wellness coach, an entrepreneur, a fitness influencer, and a wife and a mother. This year, she’s adding another accolade to her growing list of accomplishments as she makes her SI Swimsuit debut in the 2023 issue.

While she worked briefly as a model in her 20s, Wood-Tepperberg has made a career out of wellness. Today, she is the creator and founder of Melissa Wood Health, a platform that makes mindful health and wellness accessible and attainable for all.

Wood-Tepperberg launched her fitness app, MWH, in late 2019, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her health and wellness business grew exponentially as fitness buffs sought out virtual means of exercise when in-person classes were put on hold.

For her 2023 rookie photo shoot, Wood-Tepperberg posed for photographer Yu Tsai in Dominica. She describes her experience as “amazing” and “surreal.”

“It feels so beyond incredible to be a Sports Illustrated rookie,” she says. “I can’t fully believe it, but then I can believe it because I’m here and I’m doing it, and it just feels phenomenal.”

She shares that it wasn’t until the end of her photo shoot that she really grasped the reality of the life-altering experience of posing for the SI Swimsuit Issue.

“I was able to really take a breath and be like, ‘Wow, like this was a dream of mine that I actually fully lived out to its fullest potential,’” she says.

Wood-Tepperberg, who celebrated her 40th birthday in December, feels that she’s currently the most confident she’s ever been.

“You become more comfortable in your own skin, and it’s also really taught me that age is really just a number and not to grasp or grip it too tightly,” she says. “There’s just so much beauty in the becoming of getting older and wiser and more confident in your own skin.”

Wood-Tepperberg adds that she’s never given up on herself and says she put in years of hard work to actualize her dreams of modeling for SI Swimsuit.

For those looking to make their own goals a reality, she advises that it’s vital to trust your journey while also remaining dedicated to your craft—whatever it is.

“It really is true that when you align yourself and your actions with the things that you want to bring into your life, you can do anything,” she says.

Meet Melissa Wood-Tepperberg—read the 2023 SI Swimsuit rookie’s full feature profile here.

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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.