SI Swimsuit Star Danielle Herrington On Having Tyra As A Mentor, The Secret To Her Figure And Her Compton Roots

February 15, 2018  |  
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Danielle Herrington

Getty

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]'”

Danielle Herrington Tyra Banks

WENN

How Tyra Banks has taken her under her wing since they met

“She was just so cool and so like willing to help. I think that’s the coolest part,” she said. “I hung out with her for a little bit and she’s really cool. She just wants to see me succeed and accomplish my goals. She kind of wants to mentor me a little bit, which is really cool and really, honestly, really nice of her.”

Danielle Herrington

WENN

On how long she’s been modeling and when she knew she wanted to make it a career

“Full-time? About two years,” she said. “But I started when I was 13. I was in school and stuff so it was never really like a full-time job. But I’ve known since I was like eight years old! I remember flipping through magazines and seeing the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and all of that stuff. So I always wanted to do it basically [laughs].”

Danielle Herrington

WENN

On initially not wanting people to know she was from Compton

“Honestly, when I first was modeling I always told people that I was just from L.A. and never said Compton,” she said. “I used to kind of be ashamed of it, but not really ashamed of it. It was that everyone else was from Beverly Hills and Brentwood and all of these nicer places, so I just used to say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m from L.A.’ But you see Venus and Serena Williams and Kendrick Lamar and all of these people who are basically putting on for their city, and that’s now what I want to do.”

Herrington with her parents – Getty

The problem with people’s misconceptions about her city

“Everybody has this perception of Compton that you can’t do anything there,” she said. “It’s just gunshots everywhere. No! I had a normal childhood.”

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What it’s like to follow the likes of Tyra and Beyoncé as a Black woman with a Swimsuit Issue cover

“I can’t believe it. My name in the same sentence with those two superstars,” she said. “It’s honestly kind of crazy, but I’m so happy to be following in their footsteps and they’re amazing women. I plan on being the same.”

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On how it feels to be part of a conversation on the importance of representation of Black women in media

“It’s amazing! I mean, it’s a lot but I’m so happy to be an inspiration to a little Black girl, wherever she is or wherever she comes from,” she said. “I can give her hope and help inspire her to dream big. Follow your dreams and don’t stop until you get there.”

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How she’s been dealing with all of the attention

“This is only the third day and it’s been a lot of press,” she said. “But I’m enjoying it. It’s something different and something that I wanted, obviously, to get the cover. So this comes with the territory, and I’m having fun with it.

Danielle Herrington

WENN

What she hopes comes from this opportunity

“I hope that it would allow me to travel the whole wide world,” she said. “To be able to inspire everyone that I meet and kind of just be a light.”

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The secret behind her toned figure

“First and foremost, it’s genes for sure. But I’m really muscular,” she said. “So I do a lot of running and cardio and a little bit of boxing. But I mean, the shape is genetic. I do keep it toned up.”

 

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