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This Up-and-Coming Swimsuit Model Kept Her Famous Father a Secret

She said she didn't want to use her family's fame to break into the modeling industry.

The entertainment industry is full of children following in their family's footsteps. Some are actors like their moms or dads, others become pro athletes like their parents, but more commonly than not, it feels like the kids of celebrities are breaking into the modeling world. Some stars' connections are more well-known—like model Kaia Gerber, the daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford—but some are less obvious, like Pierce Brosnan's and Laura Dern's model sons. And while there are celebrity children who are praised for their natural talent, many are accused of nepotism, like models Kendall Jenner and Bella and Gigi Hadid. Out of fear of falling into the latter category, some kids with famous parents try to break into the industry without the help of their family name to prove that they can carve their own path, which is what one up-and-coming swimsuit model did. Read on to find out which 23-year-old model tried to keep her famous father a secret for years.

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Gracie Phillips is an up-and-coming swimsuit model.


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A post shared by Gracie Phillips (@gracieephillips)

Gracie Phillips is a 23-year-old model currently signed to Next Model Management Miami and One Management. According to her Instagram, she has been working in the modeling industry for nearly five years now. She has already modeled with major brands and companies such as Too Faced Cosmetics and South Beach swimsuits. But it appears Gracie has her goals set on working with Sports Illustrated, as she's posted several swimsuit model shoots targeted at the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Search.

"To be on the cover [of Sports Illustrated], on the pages of this magazine, filled with so many other inspiring, empowering, fearless individuals would be a dream come true," she wrote in an Instagram post in February.

In December, she posted on Instagram saying she got a "callback/virtual casting" with Sports Illustrated, calling it "a huge accomplishment." "DREAM CHASING and I'm just getting started❤️!!!!!" she wrote. 

She is also the daughter of Lou Diamond Phillips.

Lou Diamond Phillips on Cinderella red carpet
Jaguar PS /

Gracie is also the daughter of actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who is best known for playing Ritchie Valens in La Bamba. He had Gracie with ex-wife Kelly Phillips, who is a former Penthouse model. "I'm fourth generation; my mom, my grandmother and my great grandmother all modeled so it runs in the family," Gracie told Maxim in 2018.

However, Gracie says she kept her father a secret for two years while trying to establish her modeling career. "When I started, I really just wanted to try and do it by myself," she told the Daily Mail in Feb. 2018. "As I was looking on social media, I saw positives but I also saw the negatives—people bashing the kids of people who were in the industry, saying they're only doing this because of this. When I started, I never wanted anyone to say to me, she did this job because of her dad, because of her last name, because of who she is."

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He says he's proud of his daughter for getting into modeling on her own.


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A post shared by Gracie Phillips (@gracieephillips)

Lou Diamond Phillips doesn't seem to feel slighted by his daughter's decision to keep their familial ties a secret for so long. He told the Daily Mail that he was proud of Gracie's choice to go it alone and supportive of her subsequent career.

"I'm incredibly proud of Grace and the fact that she wanted to earn this, she wanted to make her own way–I was supportive of that from the beginning. She's been booking jobs, she's been receiving praise and getting incredibly good feedback based on her own merit, without getting any qualifications," he said. "It's not that I don't want her to say she's my progeny but at the same time, there's no doubt it's very, very rewarding and I'm very, very pleased that she can take all the credit for this herself as she should."

The actor also told Fox News in 2018 that Gracie was "doing the footwork." He added: "She got an agent on her own. She didn't ask me for any help. As a matter of fact, she did not advertise she was my daughter to other people. She really wanted to earn it."

When Gracie got the Swimsuit Illustrated callback in Dec. 2020, her dad proudly tweeted: "So incredibly proud of my @GraceeePhillips! She made the callback list for @SI_Swimsuit! Massive congrats! I know she worked hard at this, submitting herself and believing in herself. Way to go, kid!"

Gracie told Fox News in 2018 that her dad is "very supportive in everything that I do, but when it comes to bikini and lingerie stuff, he does get a little protective."

Lou Diamond Phillips also has three other daughters.

Lou Diamond Phillips, wife Yvonne, kids Lili, Grace and Indigo attend the Los Angeles Premiere of "Kung Fu Panda" held at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, United States on June 1, 2008.
Tinseltown /

Gracie is one of Lou's four daughters. He had two other daughters with Preston—Isabella, who is Gracie's twin, and Lili. He then had daughter Indigo with his current wife, makeup artist Yvonne Boismier. He said he's tried to give all of his children a normal childhood, which included "going shopping and cooking dinner, taking out the trash and picking up dog poop."

"It's literally just not putting on airs and pretensions and making sure the kids see you as dad first when you're around," he told the Daily Mail.

Now that she's gained some footing in the modeling world, Gracie doesn't mind people knowing about the connection to her dad. "I wanted to make a name for myself on my own and be known as just Gracie Phillips, not as Lou Diamond Phillips's daughter Gracie Phillips," she told Meaww in March 2020. "I wanted to work based on my own merit and to earn things myself—once I proved that I could do that, I had no problem talking publicly about my family."

Related: See The Rock's 19-Year-Old Daughter, Who's Climbing Up the WWE Ranks.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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