By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Saje Nicole, a Haitian-American model who grew up in Fort Lauderdale, is breaking barriers in the modeling industry as a black, curve model who, last July made her mark as the first Haitian woman to appear in Sports Illustrated’s yearly swimsuit edition.

The model recently spoke to CBS4 News Lisa Petrillo. Here is what she said about appearing in the magazine: “It’s huge. I never thought that line would be in front of my name,” Nicole said. “I asked has there ever been any other Haitian model in Sports Illustrated? They checked and said no, you’re the first.”

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Nicole grew up admiring the modeling careers of superstars like Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, and Heidi Klum. But at 5’8” and size 10-12, she didn’t fit the mold of what most models look like.

“With my build, my body type, my height, everything is very different than the norm. Most models are like 5’10”,”511”. They are a size 0 or size 2. I’m a curved model with a shaved head,” she explained. “Everything is so different, and I think that’s why it works. It’s been an interesting ride just seeing how many brands are trying to him praise the diversity in campaigns.”

Nicole is also an entrepreneur. She launched her own online wellness and fitness called The Bluprnt.

It’s exploding.

“The bluprnt is not just exercises. It’s mindset training. How to properly love your body, what’s your ideal shape. I’m really excited about it,” she said.

She put Petrillo through some exercises in her 30-day “Get-in-Shape” program.

From lunges to squats, resistance bands, and more, they worked it.

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“Yeah, we put some muscle there already!” she told Petrillo after doing glute pulses.

Her message to all women is clear.

“You should embrace and love every part of yourself. Not just your body, or the way that you look, but also the way that you think and how you feel about certain things, Just embrace it you know, “ she said.

“Do you see the modeling business changing now?” Petrillo asked.

“Oh yeah, it’s really beautiful. I think it’s a beautiful time to witness the changing,” said Nicole.

“People are listening to your story. Like who are you? What are you about? What do you represent?” she asked.

“If you have people following you that follow you because they like the way you look, that’s fine. But if they follow you because they resonate with your message, that’s even better.”

For more info on Saje Nicole, follow her on Instagram: @sajenicole

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Click here to sheck our her online page.

Lisa Petrillo