I've always lived really close to the water. I was born and raised in Daytona Beach, and spent most of my days at the beach. Having that be my backyard really helped me appreciate the ocean and think more deeply about the world. Oddly enough, I didn't start surfing until I was about 22 years old, but I definitely owe the magic of the ocean as my spark for surfing for sure. As I got older there was almost like a fire in me that made me so determined to teach myself and be even closer to the ocean. Learning how to surf was a pretty monumental task for me. It pushed me mentally and physically to a point where I felt like I could conquer anything. As long as I kept a hard work ethic and a strong and peaceful mind, nothing was out of reach.
Q: What got you into becoming a blogger, and if we may say, bikini influencer? Did it happen naturally?
Being an influencer came hand in hand with learning how to surf. Growing up, I looked to celebrities and public figures as guidance for confidence and inspiration. When I learned how to surf, I realized what an amazing feeling it was to believe in yourself. I found confidence in myself and became my own hero. I documented my surfing journey and started modeling via my iPhone and Instagram. I was known for making my photos look so natural, as if it had just happened and someone was there to capture it. Also, I used it as a platform to inspire others to chase their dreams by showing everyone that this was possible even if you're still in school. I also wanted to show how important it was to always be positive. My Instagram then became my modeling portfolio, and I began booking modeling gigs. Being a model and influencer has really let me explore my creativity. I love creating photos, memories and networking with so many amazing people.
Q: Social media seems to have brought you some amazing opportunities, and has gotten you to connect with people whom you may have never been able to connect with otherwise! What are some really memorable things that have happened to you through social media?
One that I must share is when I won this huge contest with O'Neill Women's. They were running a contest called "Today is Perfect." To enter, you had to post a cool photo of you having a perfect day, say why it was perfect, and make sure to tag the company. To win, we had to make a personality video of us just living our lives, and doing what we love. We also had to write why we should win, and what we would do for our perfect day. Long story short, I won the entire contest. I was on a marine biology field trip when I found out. I was SO happy. O'Neill Women's flew me out to California, gave me a shopping spree, took me to see sea otters at the aquarium, let me surf in Huntington Beach and surf with my favorite surfer Malia Manuel. It was truly a perfect day.
Q: It's kind of crazy to think that you're a full-time student, model, blogger and have time to just do your own thing. How do you balance everything, and what do you do to manage stress and pressure?
The honest answer is that I just try. I called it the "superhero gene." I just have to always stay busy, give every project I take on 100%, and just always find a way to get the job done. Kickboxing has been the absolute best stress relief though. If I can find some time to go to a kickboxing class, it seriously relieves so much stress.
Q: What's a personal project you're working on for this year? (travel plans? bucket list item?)
I'm hoping to get accepted into nursing school. I'm working towards being an RN. I just have some paperwork and other requirements to knock out, and then it’s a waiting game. Also, I've been trying to travel to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, California (again), Colorado, or anywhere tropical really!
You can follow all of Lilo's adventures on Instagram (@sealillly)