Marleigh Petras Miss Bikini Calendar Cover Model Winner

Today we are sitting down with the Winner of the Miss Bikini Calendar Cover Model Contest and Miss Bikini Wisconsin 2019/20/21, Marleigh Petras.
Name: Marleigh Petras

Current Location:

  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Photo By Justin Price

As the Miss Bikini Calendar Model Winner, you are featured on the 2021 Miss Bikini Calendar. How did you feel when you found out you won? Tell us a bit about the experience.

Ecstatic! I was so unbelievably happy! It was one of the best feelings in the world. When Miss Bikini US announced me as the winner of the 2021 Calendar Cover Model, it was during a time when I needed news like that the most. The pandemic had started, the world was shut-down, I lost my job, and I was not in a good place mentally. I was moved when it was announced, and I was jumping up and down screaming with joy, literally! 


You were also a participant in the Miss Bikini 2019 at Miami Swim Week, what was your favorite experience during that event?

The simple fact that we all got the opportunity to walk in Miami Swim Week was completely unbelievable to me, it was a dream come true. Modeling is so important to me, and being able to have that familiarity of walking while also competing in a pageant made Miss Bikini feel at home. Two worlds collided for me that day, and my understanding of pageantry seemed to click afterward–modeling and pageantry are not that different from each other to some degree. When I realized that, I fell in love with pageantry. 


Who or what inspired you to get started in modeling?

I started modeling because it was always a dream of mine. I never had any professional photos taken of me until I graduated college-never had senior photos done, never had college graduation photos done, nothing. When I graduated college, I had so much free time and I saw that as an opportunity to chase after everything I had always dreamed of, modeling was one of those aspirations. 


Tell us about your modeling experience.

My first photoshoot was with a dear friend of mine, and once I shared those photos with the world, I had no idea that I officially started my modeling career. 

It was a bit of a bumpy road at first. Modeling brought some negativity into my professional life. It was hard for people to take me seriously and difficult to find a position, but I knew what I could accomplish and I kept striving for those goals. People told me I wasn’t tall enough, I was too old, my time already expired, my head is in the clouds, I should give up, I’m just a Milwaukee model and that is all I will ever be. At one point, I believed them. I thought I was chasing a pipe dream. Then, one day, I was contacted by a modeling agency. They signed me. All it took was for someone to help me pick my head back up, and I have accomplished SO much since. 

Photo By Smithco

What are the beauty products you can’t live without?

Depends, are we taking Wisconsin Summers or Wisconsin Winters 😉  This one is easy – my eyebrow pencil, mascara, and straightener!!! Some days concealer if I’m feeling fancy. 

What is your personal style?

Great question. Bikinis? If society would allow me to, I promise you it would be true! I would consider my personal style as polished, casual chic. I never leave the house without looking trendy. (Not even kidding.) I love to dress up for work, going out, grabbing brunch, or a night out in the city…or just for dancing around in my kitchen! 

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

My absolute favorite thing to do in my free time is to run my business. During the pandemic, I started a company that strives to raise awareness and support for local Milwaukee businesses. I built a website, run our social channels, have partnered with well-recognized organizations, and have planned successful events thus far. I love coming up with new creative ways to help appeal to the new consumer for these local businesses, as well as help them become savvier, digitally. I also love drinking coffee in both my free time and not so free time.

What is the most interesting place you have ever visited?

I am going to sound so basic for saying this but I have never left the country in my entire life. Ever. Not once.

My definition of interesting is limited as I have not been able to explore the world as much as I want to, yet, but with the places I have been so far, I would say the most interesting place I have ever been is Zion National Park in southern Utah. I recently took a trip out there with a couple of friends and I already want to go back. I used to live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and haven’t been there since I was 13 so returning was pretty special to me. I had never been to Zion National Park before this and it was breathtaking. I hiked the Narrows and The Watchman trails, I want to take another trip out there for at least a week and hike all of the trails. If you’ve never been you really need to go.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

Way too many things, but at least there’s a challenge to work towards! I really want to win Miss Wisconsin USA, I want my company to succeed and be able to help the city and community I live in, I want to be a public speaker and influence others,I want to get my non-profit started, and I want my modeling career to take off with more publications and runway shows! Yes, I have always had big dreams and big plans for myself. No, I will not be disappointed if none of this turns out the way I had hoped because everything happens for a reason. I am along for the ride and 1000% trusting my journey.

Give us 5 fun facts people may not know: (please be as detailed as possible/tell a story)

Coming up with five things that most people don’t know about me is actually going to be pretty easy. For starters, I have attended 10 different schools in my 12 years of schooling. No, I did not get into trouble and no, I was not a fight starter. When I was younger, my family moved around a ton. I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, moved to Salt Lake City, Utah when I was nine, and then moved to Brownsburg, Indiana when I was 13. In high school, I attended three different schools, two in Indiana and one in Wisconsin. I graduated from Pulaski High School in Pulaski, Wisconsin, and attended college at Cardinal Stritch University for four years. Cardinal Stritch University was the longest I had ever attended the same school. 

Fun Fact Number 2: I have Scoliosis. I was diagnosed when I was 12 years old. I wore a back brace for almost four years as well as physical therapy and chiropractor visits from time to time. I was told to get surgery my senior year of high school after I couldn’t walk or stand up after a race and was also told that I should give up running altogether. I’m glad I didn’t because I left college as a 3x National Qualifier and Conference Champion. 


Fun Fact Number 3: I have a pet bunny named Shadow. Shadow is my little baby boy and a very special bunny. He is 2.3 pounds of pure floof and sass who has been in my life for just over a year now. He was adopted at 6 months old from a friend who bought him from a pet store. My friend had to put Shadow up for adoption because he did not get along with the other male bunny in the house. She said if no one could adopt him, he would have to go to the Humane Society and I wanted to save him. The next day I went to meet Shadow. His name was Pico at the time and he was very cuddly. He fit right in the palms of my hands and when I held him he gave me kisses. It took me no less than five minutes to decide that I was going to take him home. 

I had never had a pet bunny before, only when I was seven because I stole little baby bunnies from outside. Don’t ask. 

When we arrived at Shadow’s new home, it took him two minutes before he was stuck behind the fridge. Great start.

Shadow earned his name rightfully so after one night of sprinting everywhere around the house he literally looked like a Shadow. He also followed me and my fiance around everywhere, clearly living up to his name on a daily basis. 

He does not like to be held at all, if he wants to love and attention he will let you know. He can be found lounging around our place underneath our coffee table or on the back of the couch like a cat. There are days he is feeling extra sassy, where he runs around and tries to dig and pull out our carpet, and there are days where he will lay next to you and let you pet him for hours. Shadow is a lion head, polish cross breed, we also think he is a dwarf with how tiny he is. His absolute favorite thing in the entire world are strawberries. He will do just about anything for a strawberry. Need extra love? Strawberry. Need him to stop being a little butthead? Strawberry. Want him to climb onto your lap and be a normal bunny for 7 seconds? Strawberry. 

Shadow is a free roam bunny, meaning he is not caged and is potty trained. After having Shadow for almost a year and getting to know his personality, I have a hard time understanding why bunnies are caged in the first place, he seems so much happier this way. Shadow is currently living his best life over here in Milwaukee and wants all the bunny ladies to know that he is single! 

Fun Fact Number 4: I started modeling only two years ago. I have only been modeling for two years! Saying this out loud is a little bit shocking. I feel like I have been modeling for so much longer than that! 

I started modeling because a dear friend believed in me. He really wanted to shoot with me and said it would be amazing, so I did the shoot. My modeling career officially started after those pictures were posted. I started shooting in Milwaukee, then Chicago, studio photoshoots, runway shows, and fashion weeks. I couldn’t believe it. I had always dreamt of modeling, but never had enough time or money to fully invest in it. They always say that it takes an army, well I didn’t get to where I am today because of just myself, it took a massive amount of people to get here. I am grateful for every single one of them. 

Fun Fact Number 5: I started pageantry only one year ago. Miss Bikini US was my very first pageant EVER! I didn’t know what sponsorships were, I paid for the entire pageant out of pocket, I couldn’t afford to stay in the hotel so I found one close by, and yet I still had an amazing time. I was so nervous but yet so excited to be there. I was happy to be greeted with a coffee shop in the lobby of the hotel, which is where my $30 went. The Miss Bikini US team and the girls were so sweet and down to earth, they made Miami feel like home. My main goal while I was out there was to just have fun. I had been asked to compete in pageants when I was younger a couple of times, but my dad never had the money, and the same thing in college. I had neither the money nor the time. Honestly, I think it was all because it wasn’t my time yet. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Although there is a part of me that wishes I could have been in the pageant game sooner, I am glad that I still have the chance to compete for another couple of years. 

Marleigh Petras
Miss Bikini Wisconsin 2019/20/21

Instagram: @momentswithmarleigh

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Dawn Rochelle