Always enjoy meeting truly, good people, and McKenna was definitely one of them. The blue eyed beauty from Wilhelmina Models seemed to have "clicked her heels three times" flew right out of Kansas and landed on the pages of Sports Illustrated.
We were able to catch up after our shoot at the W hotel in New York, ask about her career, get some important beauty tips and get to know her a little bit better...
Where are you from and what's your heritage?
I'm originally from Kansas City but I was raised in Las Vegas. I'm mostly German, Scotch-Irish and French I believe.
That's heritage right? lol
You believe?? Lol as it's sooo many mixes and you can't keep count?
I guess we'll consider it heritage-ish... haha
Yeah I'm a European mutt haha
How did you get into modeling? Who discovered you?
I went to an open call in LA! I guess I technically discovered myself
Model / Self-scout?
First thing you learned as a model?
I learned never to take anything personally. You hear "no" a lot more than you hear yes and you definitely just have to brush it off
At what time did you realize this is becoming a career?
When I started working more and traveling more. I realized it was something I wanted to commit to because I love to travel and modeling quickly took me to a ton of new places
What are some of your favorite moments/ brands/ designers you have worked for in the past?
One of the biggest moments for me was being in the 2017 issue of Sports Illustrated. It is a real life dream come true. Another was Clinique because working for them was a big goal of mine when I first started modeling. One of my favorite brands to work for is frankies bikinis! They have the cutest swimsuits and are the nicest people to work with
Ahh do tell a little more about your spread for SI? Where did you go, what was the experience like?
We went to Anguilla! It was absolutely beautiful. The team could not have been nicer. They made me feel right at home. It will probably always be one of my favorite modeling memories.
In this industry there is a lot of pressure to maintain a certain body image. How do you achieve your goals, and deal with those expectations especially for brands like SI? Were they demanding?
SI actually is promoting a very healthy body image. When I got the call saying I was going to shoot for them the first thing my agent said was that they didn't want me to go crazy in the gym or lose a ton of weight. They liked my body and wanted me to keep doing what I was doing which made me even more excited to shoot for them, because they liked me the way I was and didn't want to change anything. I mostly eat healthy and love to workout, but I'm not an extremist by any means.
Do you ever get nervous in front of the camera?
Not anymore, but I used to when I first started modeling.
Who did you look up to when you were little? Did you have any "role-models"? Pun intended!
I honestly didn't really look up to models when I was younger, because I didn't know I wanted to model that early.
But Adriana Lima and Gisele were definitely women I looked up to.
Ok then that leads me to the inevitable question, what DID you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to work at aquariums in scuba gear so that I could swim with the fish and whales
Did you just leave the dolphins 🐬 out?
Dolphins were implied. Haha
I'll run on a limb here and guess your favorite movie is FREE WILLY? lol (if that's not too old school for you)
Haha I haven't seen it in so long that I hardly remember it but I do remember liking that movie
What's the craziest/ funniest thing that ever happened to you on set!
I've passed out before! We were shooting in the desert and I did not drink enough water that happens to be a cute guy then yea I'll have my eye on them haha
Oh no! Were you able to finish the shoot?
Yes I just needed some time in the shade and some liquids!
Any kind of cookies! And anything chocolate
Can you cook?
Or for you... Better yet, bake? Haha
Yes! I'm actually a pretty great cook and I love to bake. I'm cooking a lot of fish lately and it's actually really good
This was gonna be my "chocolate or vanilla" question, but you answered that pretty decisively lol
Haha yes chocolate all the way
Favorite city and why?
This is tough. I love so many different cities for different reasons. I might have to say New York. There's always something so special about it
Worst pick up line you ever got?
Hmm I haven't gotten too many funny ones unfortunately haha
What's your type?
I can honestly say I don't have a type physically but I guess I'm attracted to funny, confident, fun, kindhearted people
Do you read your Instagram comments?
Yes! For the most part I read all of them!
What's the dream?
This probably sounds cliche but I just want to in some way make something better than how I found it. Big or small I want to make an impact for the better.
Any beauty secrets you want to share with younger girls who read this and want to follow your footsteps?
Take good care of your skin! Moisturizer and drink a ton of water. Try not to fry your hair with hot tools. Embrace your natural hair, in my opinion women look their best when they look most like their natural selves! Be nice to your body. Don't overwork it and always feed it the nutrients it needs to be healthy.
Lastly, what do you do mostly on your free time?
I cook workout and sleep! I love to go out to bars or just hanging out and relaxing with friends and family
Check out Mckenna at her Sports Illusrtrated feature below
and can VOTE for her here!
McKenna Berkley Strips Down For Her First Body Painting | Model Search | Sports Illustrated Swimsuit