Lifestyle

Meet Sports Illustrated’s new 56-year-old swimsuit model

She’s the mother of reinvention.

Almost three decades ago, Kathy Jacobs was a wide-eyed Ford model who landed the cover of Woman’s World. After years of modeling in New York, the married mother of one turned to a career in baking and making her own beauty products.

Now, at the age of 56, Jacobs is primed to pose once again. The 5-foot-3 Calabasas, California resident is a first-time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model, featured in this year’s issue, out July 21. She had entered SI’s open-call contest Swim Search, and is one of six finalists among thousands of swimsuit hopefuls.

“I think it’s pretty cool that I get to come back to modeling again,” Jacobs, who recorded a teary video for People magazine after getting the call that she had landed a coveted spot in the bikini bible, tells The Post. Her takeaway? “Don’t ever give up on yourself.”

Over decades of career highs and lows, she’s had to live by those words.

“I have reinvented myself so many times,” Jacobs tells The Post. “I have been on the Today Show and Rachel Ray baking and doing crafts.” Jacobs competed in a 2017 episode of Steve Harvey’s “Funderdome” competition for entrepreneurs, hawking her homemade skin care line Beauty Batters. She has also taken humbling, minimum wage jobs, including sweeping up hair at Drybar.

Kathy Jacobs
Kathy JacobsSports Illustrated/Yu Tsai

She recently had a health scare. Three years ago, she was shocked to learn she was prediabetic. “The doctors said to me, this is strange because you aren’t overweight. It was hereditary,” says Jacobs, whose mother has high blood pressure and has suffered multiple strokes, resulting in dementia. The news caused her to completely rethink her diet: “I don’t eat bread, pasta, white potatoes, rice or meat. I eat fish and don’t have sugar.”

But her resolve has been rewarded — and then some. In February, she and the other five Swim Search finalists flew to Turks and Caicos for a shoot where she modeled more bikinis than she could count and felt confident. “I think I look better in a bikini than a one-piece,” she says.

When it comes to beauty, the Texas native says she only uses her own skin care products, made from collagen-friendly ingredients such as pumpkin enzyme, vitamin C and orchid flower stem cells. She works out four times a week, and stays out of the sun.

And Jacobs — who just sent her daughter off to medical school in New York — admits she’s experimented with some dermatological boosts, including Botox in her forehead and lip fillers.

“I did break down and get that recently. I wanted to look the best I could. If 20-year-olds are getting it, why is there a stigma for someone my age? I want to be transparent to people. I don’t want to be like the women my age who say it’s just their diet and drinking lots of water when it’s clear they have done something.”

Clearly, age isn’t holding Jacobs back.

The silver-haired stunner has over 68,000 followers on Instagram, where she enjoys paid partnerships with body-conscious brands like Shefit sports bras.

And this week, 29 years after her original Woman’s World cover, she landed another one, strutting her stuff in a tasteful teal two-piece. She — like recent SI models Tyra Banks, 46, and Christie Brinkley, 66 — hopes to show other aging beauties that they can accomplish anything.

Next, she’s planning to take on another stigma in the fashion world: height. The pint-size pinup wants to break down barriers for the vertically challenged women of the world: “There aren’t any petite women on the runway and the average height of a woman in the US is 5-foot-4. Clients still only want tall girls.”

Jacobs doesn’t see why. “I am not just saying women over 55 matter, but petite girls matter. It’s huge that I got this far being 56 and short.”

Kathy Jacobs (bottom row in the green suit) with fellow “search” models at the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show in Miami.

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Front Row/Backstage

Kathy Jacobs

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Runway

Kathy Jacobs

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Runway

Kathy Jacobs

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Runway

Kathy Jacobs

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Runway

Kathy Jacobs

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Runway

Kathy Jacobs

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Runway Show During Miami Swim Week At W South Beach - Front Row/Backstage

Vita Sikordina, Hyunjoo Hwang, Jasmine Sanders, Haley Kalil, Halima Aden, Brooks Nader, Christie Valdiserri, Camille Kostek, Djaniel Carter, Miki Hamano and Kathy Jacobs with SI editor MJ Day.

Getty Images for Sports Illustra

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