Swimsuit model girlfriend of Lions' Goff makes Sports Illustrated debut

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Calling it a "dream come true," Christen Harper, the swimsuit model girlfriend of Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff, is featured in the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which hit newsstands Monday.

Harper, 28, appears in several pages, frolicking in the beach and sand, wearing a variety of boldly colored bikinis with her long brown hair flowing in the wind. The Southern California native said when she was young, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue was the first time she saw models who were "more than just pretty faces."

"They were diverse, they had stories," wrote Harper on Instagram. "Seeing these women made me believe in myself and taught me how to love myself -- every curve, roll, stretch mark included."

Christen Harper, the swimsuit model girlfriend of the Detroit Lions' Jared Goff, is featuring in the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Harper is one of dozens of models featured in this year's issue. Three different stars are on separate covers -- tennis star Naomi Osaka, rapper Megan Thee Stallion and the magazine's first ever trans cover model, Leyna Bloom.

"Even in the smallest terms, this brand has always been pushing boundaries," said MJ Day, editor in chief of SI Swim, in a video on the magazine's website. "I'm really confident in that. I have absolutely zero regrets about what we've done with the brand and what we continue to do for women."

For Harper, who was photographed for the issue in Atlantic City, New Jersey, she said she feels "so insanely honored to be of such an inclusive and diverse brand."

According to her Sport Illustrated bio, Harper started modeling at 20 to pay her way through college. Early in her career, agents and clients pushed her to lose weight but she refused.

"Instead of shrinking herself down to fit into the standard sizing, Christen stayed true to herself and continued to pursue modeling knowing she was enough exactly how she was," states her bio on the magazine's website.

Jared Goff, the Lions' new quarterback, has been dating model Christen Harper since at least October 2019, according to social media.

Harper has been open on social media that she's always wanted to be in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

"SI is the reason I became a model and for years I tried to get a casting with them but never quite made it," said Harper. "Instead of just accepting that and moving on I decided to take things into my own hands and chase this dream myself!”

Harper, who is signed with Wilhelmina, has modeled for various brands, including Marciano and Ark Swimwear, an Australian brand. She and Goff went public with their relationship at the ESPY awards in 2019.

mfeighan@detroitnews.com