DENVER (KDVR) — A local woman is one step closer to being nationally recognized.

Berkleigh Wright, 28, a Denver businesswoman and a Denver Broncos cheerleader, has been selected as one of the top 12 finalists for the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swim Search.  

“I don’t even know how to put it into words, like the gratitude I’m feeling,” Wright said. “It makes me realize that what’s meant to find you will find you, regardless if you feel capable or worthy.” 

Wright said this has been a lifelong dream. 

“I think since I’ve been younger, I’ve always looked up to the models at Sports Illustrated,” Wright said. “They empower women to know that their differences and uniqueness is what makes them beautiful, and they celebrate that. That’s a family and movement I really wanted to be a part of.” 

The 2023 Sports Illustrated Swim Search is an annual casting call that allows aspiring models the opportunity to be featured by the brand in their iconic magazine. 

“Between the Broncos and all my friends and family, I appreciate everyone lifting me up so much and encouraging me to go after this dream that I thought was so far away,” Wright said. “It just doesn’t feel real.”

Sports Illustrated to narrow to 6 swim finalists

Wright is a technical account manager full-time while simultaneously working as a Denver Broncos cheerleader. 

“It combines my passion for dance and sports, but it also combines my passion for mentoring young children and giving back to our community,” Wright said. 

Wright said she works closely with the Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleaders, Boys and Girls Club of Denver, Children’s Hospital of Colorado and Habitat for Humanity. 

“I feel so incredibly lucky to be amongst the powerhouses that they selected for the top 12, so whether this is the end of my journey or a continuous part of my journey I am so thankful for it,” Wright said. 

Wright said Sports Illustrated will announce the top six finalists on May 12. They will have the opportunity to go to Miami Sports Week.

From there it’s up to the public to vote for the winner, who will be featured in the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.