Melissa Wood-Tepperberg Shares BTS Footage of Her SI Swimsuit Rookie Photo Shoot in Dominica

Look for the model’s debut in the 2023 SI Swimsuit Issue.
Melissa Wood-Tepperberg

Melissa Wood-Tepperberg.

Earlier this week, fitness and wellness leader Melissa Wood-Tepperberg was introduced as a 2023 SI Swimsuit rookie. Since the exciting announcement on Wednesday, Wood-Tepperberg has shared her reaction to learning that she booked SI Swimsuit and offered a heartfelt “thank you” to fans for their support. 

In a Jan. 20 Instagram post, Wood-Tepperberg also offered up a behind-the-scenes look at her rookie photo shoot in Dominica with photographer Yu Tsai.

The MWH founder included clips of herself posing on the beach, gorgeous scenery shots and more. The snippet also included a powerful message.

“I still cannot get over this day. It was one of the most unbelievable shoots of my life, and I just need to sit in silence and process it all because when I look at these photos, all I can think about is the younger version of myself who didn’t believe in me, who wanted to give up so many times, and this is just such a deeper message to never give up anything that you feel so inclined to do,” Wood-Tepperberg said.

She captioned the post she shared with her one million followers, “Keep planting those seeds, water them daily and watch what blooms. #bts of my first look shooting @si_swimsuit in beautiful Dominica with @yutsai88.”

Friends and fans chimed in to the comments section to offer Wood-Tepperberg their support.

“Yes yes yes- never give up!!! Love this so much!❤️,” commented SI Swim Search finalist Olivia Jordan. Actress Daniella Rabbani added, “so moved and proud to know you melissa.”

“Never give up🙌 and never give up believing in yourself and trusting the process✨🙏🏻 thank you Melissa for your inspiring words day by day! Congratulations to your awesome achievement 🚀🧡,” wrote one follower. Another person piped in with, “Inspiration: you can [achieve] anything, anytime, any age. Choice is yours 🤍.”

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.