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Saje Nicole: I Aspire to Inspire

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

I am Saje Nicole, a Haitian American model who shuttles between Los Angeles and Miami. Many may not know this, but Miami is where I started modeling.

I came here at the age of three with my mother and father (both from Haiti) looking for a better life. My mother always wanted me to be a nurse or a doctor, but I had something else in mind. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to model, but it was hard to find “my place.” I did not necessarily look like a successful model, but all I needed was patience.

I always tell people, yes, I lived in Fort Lauderdale, but Miami is where I grew up. Miami is where I found my first agency, where I walked the runway for the first time, and where I worked on my first film set. Some of them were huge projects, others were just shows, but in my mind they all led me to bigger opportunities. In July 2020, I walked in a Miami Swim week show for the first time. That same year, I also auditioned for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. And little did I know, this was the moment I had been waiting for.

I filmed my audition video on Miami Beach with my iPhone, tripod and lapel mic. I edited it at home, which took me all day, and uploaded it the very next day! Since then, I have made it to the finals of Sports Illustrated Swim Search, shot with the infamous Yutsai, met the entire team at Sports Illustrated, walked with them at Miami Swim Week my sophomore year, and last but not least, I am featured in this year’s Most ICONIC issue of Sports Illustrated History, with three black women on the cover! I accomplished all of this because I was extremely determined and persistent. All traits I learned growing up in Miami. Yes, we know how to have a good time, we know how to keep the spirits high and the music jumping, but there is another side to Miami. A side that is full of string pullers and trailblazers. I’d like to call it the best of both worlds. So thank you, Miami. For raising me and showing me how to take things easy and have fun, but also how to keep the job safe and make my city proud. That’s the real Miami Living.

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Words by Saje Nicole, Images by Nicole Alanna Gilbert


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