Imagine being 22 years old, standing on the precipice of accomplishing one of your lifelong goals. You’d probably be a little nervous, right?
But Kyra Santoro, an on-the-rise model who’s appeared in the pages of Maxim and Men’s Health, is showing no fear. She’s one of six finalists in Sports Illustrated’s Rookie of the Year competition, with the winner going on to be featured in the 2017 Swimsuit Issue. (You can vote for her right here.)
“It’s really just like any other job,” Kyra says. “This has been a dream of mine for a long time. Everyone needs to have a goal, and my goal is Sports Illustrated.”
As if she wasn’t already cool enough, the California girl also spends her free time riding dirt bikes, skateboarding and surfing. She could also probably take you in a rap battle.
Would you rather pose on the beach in a snowsuit or pose in the arctic in a swimsuit?
Oh, on a beach. I grew up in California near the beach so I guess I’m biased about it. The beach for sure.
Would you rather be able to speak any language fluently or be able to talk to animals?
That’s a tough one. I really want to know other languages, but I love animals so much! Oh my god, I don’t know! [Pause.] I’ll pick the animals. I’d want to talk to my cat and dog.
Would you rather know it all or have it all?
Knowledge is power. I’d rather be a know-it-all.
Would you rather always laugh at sad things or cry at happy things?
Oh my god, I already laugh when I get uncomfortable. When I don’t know what to do in a weird situation, I laugh. Then I have to apologize. I’d rather cry at happy things. Sometimes that happens to me anyway too. The first time I ever saw my photos in print, I started to cry. We filmed a special for Sports Illustrated on TNT and at the wrap party, I cried because I was so happy. I was bawling while I was hugging the editor-in-chief in front of supermodels.
Would you rather eat a raw ghost pepper or have to pose with a live tarantula on you?
I wouldn’t mind a tarantula on my face. How cool would those photos be? I have a pretty bad case of arachnophobia, but I know that tarantulas don’t bite humans. Plus, they’re kind of slow. Small spiders scare me, but I don’t think tarantulas are that bad. I have a photo of me holding one when I was really young.
If you had to pick, what song would you rap at karaoke?
This question is so easy. ‘I Get Around’ by 2Pac, no question. Easy choice, no hesitation. If they don’t have it at karaoke, and I’m always looking for it, I get mad. I don’t even have to look at the screen.
Would you rather walk in the Victoria’s Secret Runway Show or model in Vogue?
I would rather model for Vogue. I feel like Vogue is such a milestone in your career. Runway is fun and I know that VS is the dream for a lot of girls, but being in Vogue could be so groundbreaking for someone.