Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
A picture of the UCF Jumbotron with the Be You event logo in gold and white letters in the middle of the stadium
A picture of the UCF Jumbotron with the Be You event logo in gold and white letters in the middle of the stadium
Original photo by Hailey Bodick
Life > Experiences

My Day at The Big 12 Conference and Sports Illustrated Swim’s Be You Event

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

The weekend leading up to University of Central Florida’s inaugural Big 12 Conference home football game was filled with events to get students excited about the historic jump to the big leagues. One such event was the Be You Women’s Empowerment series, hosted by the Big 12 Conference and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. Her Campus’ University of Central Florida chapter was invited to the event, and I along with ten other chapter members went and enjoyed all that the event had to offer. 

Hosted at the Addition Financial Arena, I and our other members walked into the basketball stadium to see it transformed with a stage for panels and booths set up with different offerings and sponsors. Each visitor at the event got an opportunity to pick up a Be You t-shirt with our school’s colors as well as posters for our UCF sports teams. After walking past the welcome table, you could see multiple photo opportunities, including a replica of the iron throne from the HBO series Game of Thrones. Even Knightro, the UCF mascot was making his rounds, stopping to take pictures with attendees. 

After walking in further, our club was welcomed by a team of makeup artists from Maybelline, who were doing everyone’s makeup and giving away full-size Maybelline products. I had my makeup done by Katie from the Maybelline team, who did my eyes and lips so that I was ready for all of the photo opportunities the day would have in store. The event also featured a station where you could take your headshots, and the Maybelline glam team was ready to help you look picture perfect for the shots. The beauty bar stations were decorated with quotes about female empowerment, and were a perfect spot for our group to get photobombed by none other than one of the featured speakers, Camille Kostek. 

A photo of the Maybelline beauty bar, a pink vanity that has the message \
Original photo by Hailey Bodick

Around 12:00 p.m., attendees were ushered to the seats to watch a performance by Knight Moves, UCF’s dance team. Knight Moves delivered a showstopping performance and were followed by the first panel of the day. This panel featured local women leaders in business and in sports. The speakers included Shelley Wilkes, who is the External Vice President of Marketing and Social Responsibility for the Orlando Magic; Kay Rawlins, the Orlando City soccer team founder who is also SVP of Community and Social Impact; Ashley Turner, Director of External Affairs and Partnerships for the UCF Sport Business Management Program; and Suzanne Worthington, Orlando Health’s Senior Vice President at Winnie Palmer Hospital. The panel focused on themes of women empowerment and challenges in working in fields that are usually more dominated by men. Each woman had a connection to UCF or the city of Orlando in some way, and all offered insights and advice on advancing in the corporate world. 

A picture of the women in business panel, there are 5 women sitting on stools in front of a backdrop that says Big 12 Homecoming
Original photo by Hailey Bodick

Following the women’s empowerment panel was the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit panel which included the SI Swim Editor-in-Chief MJ Day, SI Swim General Manager Hillary Drezner, and two current models for SI Swim, Olivia Ponton and Camille Kostek. Olivia Ponton rose to fame on Tik Tok and has since launched a successful social media and modeling career. Camille Kostek was SI Swim’s 2019 Covergirl, and in addition to modeling, is the current host of Wipeout, Dancing with Myself and is also featured on Ridiculousness.

A picture of the Sports Illustrated Swim Panel where there are 4 women sitting on a stage with the Homecoming backdrop behind them
Original photo by Hailey Bodick

The SI Swim panel focused on themes of empowerment and embracing you and touched on how to handle negativity and criticism. Olivia Ponton and Camille Kostek both stressed the importance of self-care and in making sure that you are taking care of yourself. Olivia Ponton and Camille Kostek both were incredibly vulnerable and honest in talking about issues such as social media, body image, and online hate. The panel also discussed goals that SI Swim has for the future, including shifting the perception of the magazine and casting models on a multitude of factors besides their physical appearance. 

A selfie of myself the person in a black top with black hair with model and speaker Camille Kostek who is in the white shirt with blonde hair
Original photo by Hailey Bodick

At the end of the panel, Olivia and Camille both took pictures with all the attendees and mingled with everyone who was there. Both women were incredibly down to Earth and so enthusiastic to be there. Special shoutout to Camille, who during the panel mentioned how she was learning about Her Campus and what a great organization it is to be a part of!

A picture of the photo backdrop that says \
Original photo by Hailey Bodick

Overall, the event was an incredible experience for me, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend. As a current Business Marketing major, I felt so inspired by every woman who spoke in both panels since I want to work in the sports or entertainment industry. Leaving the panel, I felt a better sense of what I wanted to do post-grad and felt relieved to know that the career path I am on is something that I will enjoy after hearing the speaker’s experiences and triumphs within their respective fields.

Hailey is a junior at the University of Central Florida pursuing a degree in marketing and a minor in mass media. Besides writing, her hobbies include keeping up with celebrity gossip, reading, making collages and watching TV. She cites her biggest inspirations as Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Blake Lively, but deep down knows that some days you just wake up feeling like Nick Miller.