by MIKE CHAIKEN
Connecticut is not known as a bikini capital, but a state woman showed that New England knows its swimwear when she finished in the top five of the Miss Bikini US competition held during Miami Swim Week.
Brandy Rodriguez finished as the third runner-up in a class of 2021 that included over 40 models.
The competition included a fantasy swimwear category as well as an evening gown category. In addition, the contestants posed for 15 photographers from across the country across the course of three days. The photographers judged them on how photogenic they were.
“I entered Miss Bikini US because I wanted to further my modeling career,” explained Brandy. “I saw the opportunity and wanted to chase after it to continue to open more doors for me.”
Brandy also had a broader purpose by competing.
“I also wanted to show other young Hispanic women that they can do the same as (I did),” said Brandy. “I’m very active within the Hispanic community in Connecticut as I run food and toy drives for those in need.”
Brandy, besides her pursuit of the Miss Bikini US crown, had already secured the Miss Connecticut Latina title.
During her reign, Brandy said, “I focused a lot on empowering the youth because they are our future, and I wanted to do the same with Miss Bikini, except empower younger woman to be confident about themselves and that no matter how many times you get turned away to continue trying until you finally make it because I did.”
“We live in a society where were constantly being judged from the way we look instead of lifting one another up and loving the body we’re in,” said Brandy.
Although she did not win the title, the Connecticut model said, “Making top five in the Miss Bikini pageant was very exciting.”
“I set very high standards for myself but sometimes I’m also hard on myself saying ‘I could have done better’ when I know every time I do something I do the best I can,” said Brandy.
“Even though I did not win the title I still placed in the Top four and that for me is better than not placing at all,” said Brandy. “I clearly stood out and made an impact to the judges, which made me proud of myself that I made it that far.”
“I still have my title as Miss Bikini Connecticut and will put it to good use in our state teaching young aspiring models and women like me to continue to love themselves and make the world their runway,” said Brandy.
Brandy entered the modeling world at the prompting of her mother.
“Ever since I was younger, I always loved to take photos and do my hair and makeup,” said Brandy. “Family and friends had always told me to model, so I started when I won a free photoshoot with a local modeling agency in Connecticut at the age of 15. I loved how the photos came out, so I then went on to try and get casted by agencies.”
Brandy did face some obstacles that were beyond her control. “I was told I was not tall enough but everything else was good.”
“I was upset but I wasn’t going to let it stop me,” said Brandy.
“I met famous Mexican bridal designer Adan Terriquez through a pageant director, and he loved my look, and didn’t care what my height was. I modeled for him, and my career took off from there; slowly breaking the ‘Too short’ rule in the modeling industry for myself and others petite like me.”
Since she started modeling, Brandy said, she has been featured in over 10 magazines- local and in other countries that include France, Italy, and Mexico…. Some of these magazines are Penida Magazine, Fuse Magazine, FHM Sweden (and) Malvie Magazine.”
Brandy said she likes modeling because “it’s when I feel the most confident in myself and it continues to make me more confident after every shoot.”
“Whenever I feel down about myself, I always look back on my photoshoots to regain that self-confidence and remind myself who I am,” said Brandy. “Modeling lets me express who I am through my photos. One photo speaks a thousand words but also leaves mystery to others for the story behind it.”
As a model, Brandy said she loves wearing bikinis.
“I know most people may be shocked since a lot of women would feel the opposite, but bikini photoshoots were what taught me to love myself and my body again each time I didn’t,” said Brandy.
“We all go through random phases where we criticize ourselves more then we should but it’s all due to the type of clothing and styles we wear that can change the look of our appearance,” said Brandy. “Bikinis make me feel beautiful and sexy each time I put one on.
Brandy said she especially likes micro-bikinis. “To me they accentuate the body really well for petite models and give the illusion that the right places are bigger.”
“To me it helps me see myself in a much more confident way and love my body the way it is. I learned to love my body being young and bikinis show the most of it, which helps keep my self-esteem high,” said Brandy.
Long-term, Brandy said, “My ambition as a model is to break society standards that all women need to look a specific way in order to be ‘sexy.’ We all have different body shapes; we should not be made to feel otherwise just because TV networks only show one specific body type to most of the world.”
“My mission is to help woman feel more confident about themselves and to let them know If I could do it can you,” said Brandy.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN