Picture this: hundreds of sun-kissed, scantily-clad models tossing around a volleyball on the sandy shores of Miami Beach with Celsius fueling the energy and Brody Jenner providing the beats. This is Model Volleyball, the cheeky, co-ed tournament that graced 11th Street and Ocean Drive for the thirteenth year this past weekend, introducing another dimension of attractive humans to the Miami shorelines that already nurture bronzed and beautiful crowds on a normal day.
Over 15,000 ogling spectators and 250 top models from the industry’s leading agencies such as Wilhelmina, Elite, Source and BMG took to Miami Beach in the spirit of friendly competition and altruism, with proceeds benefitting the Angel Watching Over Me Foundation. The women-led nonprofit founded by Sarah Akiba began as a support group for those suffering from loss and hardship and has since launched a weekly AWOM Girls Club and additional after-school programming curating safe spaces for young girls.
After two days of battling it out in a round robin and single-elimination tourney, Select Model Miami scored the W for the second year in a row with an unsurpassed athletic prowess. The beachside extravaganza was followed by an official closing party hosted by Crown Royal Apple at crowd favorite Bodega South Beach, where models and fans alike celebrated over none other than tacos and tequila.
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Over the course of the weekend, the tournament played host to several notable brand activations taking place in the VIP area sponsored by David Grutman and Pharrell’s lifestyle concept Strawberry Moon. The VIP Beach Deck housed 25 exclusive tables with direct viewing access to both the games and the waves and a choice of complimentary cocktails provided by Mamitas, Crown Royal Apple, El Bandido Yankee Tequila, Island Rum Company and more.
“As a Miami native, I grew up playing volleyball on the beach with my dad and played in high school so volleyball has always been a passion of mine,” said Model Volleyball founder Olivia Ormos. “Model Volleyball has grown tremendously since 2010, from 600 spectators to over 15,000 that come to the event every year from all over the world.”
In addition to watching top models demonstrate their volleyball talent and frolic in the sand, guests enjoyed special guest DJ performances at sunset by Kardashian step-brother and Mamitas brand partner Brody Jenner and Los Angeles-based DJ Devin Lucien. Celsius drinks were boosting the feel-good vibes with samples of their newest flavors and an interactive spectator experience, while St. James Tea returned with its own sampling and rock wall climbing excursion.
Mavn, the influencer marketing app new to the tech scene, presented a customized social media experience to VIPs that resembled the app’s categories, including food and beverage, airbrush stations and photo installations.
“Model Volleyball encourages all our brand partners to be as experience focused as possible versus more of the traditional table and chairs type of activation,” Ormos said. “The spectators have always enjoyed ways they can really immerse themselves into the event and leave with a unique swag and memory of their experience.”
Boasting over 500 million social impressions and 380 billion media impressions, the free and open to the public two-day tournament paves the way as a leading experiential event utilizing immersive brand experiences in a similar capacity to annual Miami mega affairs like Art Basel, South Beach Wine & Food Festival and Miami Swim Week. A beach party featuring models, sports, food, entertainment and an excuse to day drink is essentially the Miami formula for success.
Photography by: Courtesy of Model Volleyball