Paige Spiranac proud of SI Swimsuit ‘legend’ status after pushback

Paige Spiranac is proud of the path she’s paved.

When taking part in an Instagram Q&A on Tuesday, the longtime golf influencer, 31, explained she holds her golf career and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit “legends” cover in high regard after enduring previous pushback to get to this point.

“With Sports Illustrated and the cover, that one means so much to me because I was considered a ‘legend,’ and throughout my career, I’ve always been told ‘no, you can’t do this, don’t do this, you’re doing it the wrong way,’ all of these things and so, it was validation that throughout all of those hard times, it was worth it because when I look around at my ‘legend’ class, I can’t believe the women I’m surrounded with and it’s just really cool to be recognized in that way,” Spiranac said when asked what she’s more proud of between the two.

Paige Spiranac celebrates the launch of the 2024 edition of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in May 2024. Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit
Paige Spiranac fielded questions in an Instagram Q&A in June 2024. Paige Spiranac/Instagram

The social media juggernaut was featured on one of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 60th-anniversary “legends” covers this year, along with fellow brand icons such as Camille Kostek, Winnie Harlow and Kate Love.

Spiranac, who boasts four million Instagram followers, made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit debut in 2018 and was photographed in Aruba.

She celebrated the launch of this year’s issue in New York and South Florida, where she mingled with fellow model and famed LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne.

Paige Spiranac appeared on the “Legends” cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in 2024. Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit
Paige Spiranac is one of the biggest golf influencers in the space with four million Instagram followers. Paige Spiranac/Instagram

Upon reflecting on her golf career Tuesday, Spiranac said while she “didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to on the golf course,” it is “special” to see other women “want to get into the game of golf” and embark on career trajectories around the sport.

Spiranac turned pro for a year after playing at the collegiate level at the University of Arizona and San Diego State.

Paige Spiranac pivoted her career to social media and going pro. Paige Spiranac/Instagram

“I did one year of playing golf professionally and I was just mentally exhausted. In golf, you fail more than you succeed and I was doing that in the public eye. Everyone was telling me, ‘You should quit. You should give up. You’re not good,’” she said on a 2023 installment of her “Playing A Round” podcast.

“… “But instead of sitting down and feeling sorry for myself, I picked myself back up and threw myself into my media work. My background of just grinding, hard work has really helped me in my media career, because I work so incredibly hard — and the difference is here, the harder I work, the more successful I’ve become and I think that’s why it’s been a more fulfilling journey for me than professional golf… the outcome is positive.”

Other influencers have followed in similar footsteps to Spiranac’s, including golf enthusiasts Kat and Isabelle Shee and Claire Hogle.

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