Sports Illustrated Swimsuit unveils newest rookie Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, 40, a mom of two
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has unveiled its newest rookie of 2023.
The magazine announced that Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, a 40-year-old mom of two, is its second rookie for the 2023 issue, which hits newsstands in May. Nicole Williams English, the wife of former NFL player Larry English, who is also a designer and model, was previously named as the first.
“Melissa blows me away both personally and professionally,” SI Swimsuit’s editor-in-chief MJ Day told Fox News Digital in a statement on Thursday. “She leads with passion and compassion while providing accessible and attainable outlets for women to evolve and grow their physical and mental well-beings. We couldn’t be more excited to name Melissa as one of our rookies for the 2023 issue, celebrating her successes as a woman, mother and entrepreneur.”
Wood-Tepperberg, who is a meditation teacher, a health coach and certified yoga and Pilates instructor, is also the host of the Move With Heart podcast. She was previously a model and actress for nearly a decade in her 20s before focusing on wellness.
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The founder of Melissa Wood Health, a platform that aims to make wellness more accessible to all, shares a son named Benjamin and a daughter named Elanor with husband Noah Tepperberg.
According to the outlet, the pinup became a fitness influencer on social media after she began filming exercise content from her living room in late 2019 using an iPhone and a $24 tripod. Her popularity skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 when in-person fitness classes were shuttered, and many turned to virtual classes. She currently has more than one million Instagram followers.
The outlet noted that Wood-Tepperberg is “beloved by the diverse community she’s cultivated through her unique approach to fitness and mindfulness over the years.”
For the upcoming issue, Wood-Tepperberg was photographed by longtime SI Swimsuit photographer Yu Tsai in Dominica.
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“It feels so beyond incredible to be a Sports Illustrated rookie,” Wood-Tepperberg told the outlet. “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.”
“Being with Yu Tsai and MJ and the entire team, I have to say that I felt so entirely supported throughout every single step of the way,” she shared. “It’s like working with a well-oiled machine, and I just felt like I was able to fully be myself and bring forward the real me in the most effortless way with incredible direction.”
The original swimsuit issue ran in 1964. It has been a launching pad for models such as Kathy Ireland, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson, Kate Upton and Ashley Graham.
Over the years, the issue has tried to stay fresh, with painted bikinis, plus-sized models, unedited photos, tiny swimsuits, amputee models, older models and the addition of professional athletes and celebrities.
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In 2018, in a nod to the #MeToo movement, the issue featured the likes of gymnast Aly Raisman and model Sailor Brinkley-Cook posing nude with words like “Every voice matters,” ″Survivor” and “Abuse is never OK.”
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