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Model responds to huge reaction about her bikini ad: 'It shouldn't be a shock'

Shoppers can't get enough of Vivian Eyo-Ephraim's gorgeous confidence.
by Rheana Murray / / Source: TODAY
Vivian Eyo-Ephraim, Asos
Model Vivian Eyo-Ephraim told TODAY Style that she started modeling last fall.Mariam Gomez Photography

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Vivian Eyo-Ephraim will probably never look at a yellow bikini the same way again.

The 20-year-old went from a virtually unknown college student in London to a bona fide social media star after an Asos campaign she starred in recently went viral.

Now, that yellow bikini has been seen by people across the world — and fans are praising Eyo-Ephraim for her confidence and Asos for putting a black, curvy woman in the spotlight.

Asos, Vivian Eyo-Ephraim
Vivian Eyo-Ephraim proves yellow is definitely her color.Asos

"It's been crazy," Eyo-Ephraim told TODAY Style by phone, speaking of the instant attention the ads have garnered. "People are saying, thank you for representing us — I see someone who looks exactly like me."

Sure enough, social media was flooded with comments from shoppers who were thrilled to see a plus-size woman of color wearing a swimsuit in an advertisement for a leading fashion brand. (Then again, Asos is no stranger to diverse, body-positive advertising.)

"I've never worn a bikini before because of my body type," one Twitter user wrote. "This makes me think about trying it. Pretty cool."

And that yellow bikini? It's still for sale on Asos.com, $23 for the triangle top and $19 for the bikini bottom.

Eyo-Ephraim was thrilled by the positive reaction. After all, she started modeling just last year. In fact, the Asos campaign was only her second gig, she told TODAY Style.

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"I'm obviously inexperienced, but the shoot was so much fun," Eyo-Ephraim said, adding that she'd gotten the job after attending a casting call. "They were all really, really nice people. They just told me what to do."

Asos isn't the only brand taking note of Eyo-Ephraim's contagious confidence. Since the gig, she's gotten calls for other modeling jobs. "It's looking like an exciting year, so everyone, just keep your eyes open!" she said.

Of course, she'll have to work around her school schedule. Eyo-Ephraim is in her first year at the University of East London, where she studies media and communications.

"I'll stay up all night and finish my coursework so I can go to a casting," she said of her schedule. "But it's what I have to do."

Vivian Eyo-Ephraim, Asos
Vivian Eyo-Ephraim is calling for more brands to hire plus-size, black models.Mariam Gomez Photography

While Eyo-Ephraim is beyond pleased by the response to her Asos ads, she knows deep down that her success is also indicative of a larger problem in the fashion world: It shouldn't be such a surprise to see a black, plus-size woman modeling a string bikini.

"This should be normal," she said. "We should always have people like me repping big brands and people that look like me. It shouldn't be a shock."

"There's so much work to do in terms of representing more and more," she continued. "We are here, and there are other people like me who are into modeling as well. Normalizing it is a key concept from here on out."

It sounds like this won't be the last we see of Eyo-Ephraim!

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