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Danielle Herrington

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Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated revealed the cover of their latest swimsuit issue, and we couldn’t help but be excited to see a Black woman as the star. It was 24-year-old Danielle Herrington, a Compton native who was given the news by another California kid and Swimsuit Issue star, Inglewood’s Tyra Banks.

“I’m super proud, like, crazy,” Banks told Extra of Herrington’s accomplishment. “The last time I was on this particular carpet was me on the cover, being the first black girl. I never thought that I was able to reveal to another black girl that she was going to be following me. This is crazy. It hasn’t really sunk in to me how monumental it is.”

Banks said that the fact that they come from the same kinds of places makes it all the more special.

“Not just California, Compton and Inglewood in the house, right now,” she said. “That, to me, when I found out that she was from Compton, I said, ‘Your cover means so much more to young black girls, not just in L.A., but everywhere. It’s big.’ So for me, to reveal it to Danielle was amazing.”

As for Herrington, she’s been trying to adjust to the whirlwind of attention and press, but as she told us, “I’m having fun with it.”

We had the chance to speak with the beauty about her cover, bonding with Tyra Banks, and how she went from hiding the fact that she was from Compton to proudly telling the world that’s where her first dreams of modeling started. Check out the highlights:

On finding out she was on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue and finding out from Tyra Banks

“I mean, it was just amazing and so unexpected,” she said. “I thought I was going in to look at the virtual reality shoot I did. So when I walked in the studio, there was Tyra standing there. But she kind of made it seem like we were crashing her set. ‘Oh no, this is not how I want to meet Tyra Banks [laughs].’ So I was really nervous and really trying to get out of there. And then Tyra was like, ‘I have this new project I’ve been working on. I kind of want your opinion. But Danielle, you have to keep this a secret. No one can know about this.’ I’m just like, ‘Ok Tyra! Whatever you want!’ So she goes behind this door and gets this big poster. She’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m really nervous about this,’ and she’s kind of stalling. I’m like, c’mon Tyra! I had no idea that it was anything about me. So she got really serious and looked me dead in my eyes and was like, ‘I have one photo in my hand.’ Like from America’s Next Top Model. And my heart sank. Then she turned it around and I’m just like balling and crying. I’m so overwhelmed but so happy. But honestly, I wasn’t even looking at the cover, I was looking at her. I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Tyra Banks in my face!” Like, what!? I’m like, ‘Can I just give you a hug? [laughs]'”

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