Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Danielle Herrington reveals that she was once so discouraged about her career that she almost quit.
"For a minute, I stopped modeling. I didn't model for maybe three years, from 19 to 22, or something around those lines. I did get really discouraged. Agencies were saying I was too curvy and I was too big, as far as my size goes," she says.
The 24 year old, who graced SI's cover in 2018, tells Wonderwall.com that ultimately, her faith in herself and her commitment to her dream helped her overcome rejection and industry criticisms.
Today, all of her hard work is paying off. Danielle is not only the newest SI cover model — she's also being approached for major fashion shows and is filming an upcoming television project with Sports Illustrated TV that will be broadcast on Amazon Video.
The TV project will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at a day in her life.
"The day the cover came out, they followed me around to my first interview on 'Good Morning America' so you kind of see everything. I was really nervous; I've never done so much press in my life. So you just see the real me. You get a feel of my personality and I'm really goofy and stuff," she shares.
Danielle, who's only the third black woman to grace the SI Swimsuit Issue cover (after Tyra Banks and Beyonce), got to meet Tyra during a surprise cover reveal (above).
"I was very nervous and in complete shock," says Danielle. "I just could not believe it. I couldn't believe Tyra was revealing it to me. I couldn't believe I was seeing myself on the cover. It was so shocking because I went from a Rookie last year to being on the cover. So it's a whirlwind and completely life-changing."
While Danielle admits that Tyra and Queen Bey have left her with "big shoes to fill," she also feels inspired by them.
"Just to see these two strong black woman, and these two specifically, Tyra Banks and Beyonce are like my idols. Two people I've looked up to my whole life. It's big shoes to fill, almost, because they are like mega superstars and I aspire to be like them and be a businesswoman like them," she explains.
Tyra now regularly texts Danielle with career advice and tips, including, says Danielle, "get a really good accountant and team [and] go to the parties but don't go to the after-afterparties. Nothing good ever happens that late!"
The young model might be super-busy with her newfound fame and burgeoning career, but she still makes time to give back. Wonderwall.com caught up with her right before her appearance at the Stars & Strikes Celebrity Bowling Tournament, a local charity event that raises funds for South Central Los Angeles youth.
Born and raised in Compton, California, the cause is near and dear to Danielle's heart.
"It feels so close to home, you know, it's like, L.A. So just giving back to my community, it feels amazing," she says. "I feel the love. Compton is riding so hard for me… this is always what I've wanted to do. To get to a place where I have a voice, can give back and spread positivity and be inspiring to the younger generation. No matter where you come from, no matter who you are, you can make it from the ground up."