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Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
June 18, 2024 ·  4 min read

This 57-Year-Old Follows A Strict Diet, Exercises 4 Days A Week, And It Obviously Pays Off

At 56 years of age, Kathy Jacobs became the oldest model featured in the Sports Illustrated 2020 Swim issue. Then in 2021, she walked the runway in a bikini at the Paraiso Miami Beach event at the Mondrian Hotel. All of her effort in maintaining a specific diet and workout schedule paid off. In addition to breaking the age barrier when it comes to modeling, she is also 5 feet and 3 inches, making her the shortest model on the roster. Jacobs hopes she is setting news standards for the modeling industry. “I hope I inspire all kinds of people that you’re never too old or too short or too anything to go for it.” [1]

The Oldest Rookie for Sports Illustrated

When Sports Illustrated announced Kathy Jacobs as the latest rookie, an editor also explained they chose her.

“There has never been a more prolific team player than Kathy! She is constantly making time for others while forging her own career,” editor MJ Day wrote. “She is a living proof that we need to stop putting limits on ourselves and celebrate the non-traditional ways we can reach our goals and push ourselves. She wholeheartedly stands for what SI Swimsuit represents and we are thrilled she feels empowered to share her message with us.”

However, Jacobs wasn’t always a successful model.

“I was a model in the ’80s in NYC and then did some stuff here and there in LA but had given up and got a minimum wage job sweeping the floor at a Drybar and decided to give it one last shot about a year and a half ago,” she said in an interview with Bored Panda. “I started self-submitting myself for modeling and acting jobs and got quite a few [of them].[2]

Kathy Jacobs poses for Sports Illustrated. She talks about her diet and workout regime
Photo Credits: Sports Illustrated/Yu Tsai

Read: This Woman Quit Her Job To Live The Life of a 1950s Housewife

Jacobs’ Diet and Workout Regime

Jacobs believes that age shouldn’t dictate what a person should be. So after the pictures from her Sports Illustrated photoshoot went viral, many people asked her advice about diet, workouts, and skincare. “I am not a diet expert,” she said. “I was pre-diabetic and changed the way I eat about four years ago.” Her current diet excludes meat and only includes fish a couple of times a week. 

For breakfast, she often enjoys a vegan protein smoothie with berries and vegan sausages. Alternatively, she’ll cook eggs with tomatoes and cheese. She also eats lots of salads with different cheeses and beans for protein. She avoids sugar but she’s “addicted” to Lilly’s sugar-free chocolate chips and peanut butter cups. She also only eats bread, pasta, rice, and white potatoes once a week. But she likes sweet potatoes. “I eat a lot of almond flour crackers. I also make ugly almond flour muffins sweetened with stevia or sugar substitute.”

As far as exercise goes, Jacobs stays very active. “I workout around 4 times a week and have been doing the live Instagram workouts on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Instagram during the quarantine,” Kathy said. “You can also rewatch them on their IGTV.” She also follows other women who teach workouts on Instagram. “Before that, I was doing F45 a few times a week and belly dance, which I miss so much!”

Kathy Jacobs posing for a photo for her Instagram
Photo credits: Kathy Jacobs Instragrm ageisbeauty

Life doesn’t have to stop when you age

Many people have reached out to Jacobs to thank her for her photoshoot. Some young women feel like their prime is over once they become 30, 40, or 50, but this is far from the truth. After all, life doesn’t end when people get older. [3]

They should never give up on themselves,” Jacobs said. Part of her mission to fight against ageism includes encouraging and empowering other women. “If they fall down, they should put on the big-girl pants, or in my case, a bikini, and keep going. I have failed so many times and I’m just showing people, if you keep trying, you’re gonna come up with the odds in your favor.

“If you don’t want to be sexy over 50, that is fine, too. But what is it that you want to be over 50? Do you want to be the best person playing golf or mahjong? Then go for that. You want to be a business woman or maybe you want to do nothing and be retired? Go for that, you know? I myself want to be sexy over 50 and I’m not ashamed of it.” [4]

Keep Reading: Woman Encourages Others To Enjoy Their Natural Features By Highlighting Her Mustache


  1. “Kathy Jacobs, 57, Hits Miami Swim Runway for SI Swim: ‘I’m Older Than Some of [the Models’] Moms’.People. Becky Randel. July 12, 2021
  2. “This 56-Year-Old Follows A Strict Diet, Exercises 4 Days A Week, And It Obviously Pays Off (21 Pics).” Bored Panda. Rokas Laurinavičius and Ilona Baliūnaitė.
  3. “SI Swimsuit model Kathy Jacobs, 57, on being the ‘oldest rookie’: ‘Life doesn’t have to stop when you age’.” Fox News. Stephanie Nolasco. July 10, 2021
  4. “Swimsuit model Kathy Jacobs is ‘not ashamed’ of being sexy over 50.Today. Alexander Kacala. October 17, 2020