Woman in white dress posing on a bed, black heels and a purse nearby, stylish hotel room setting.

For Xandra, Everything’s Coming Full Circle

The 23-year-old Sports Illustrated Rookie is on the ultimate post-breakup revenge arc.

Anna Nazarova/Elite Daily

Two hours before Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 60th Anniversary party, Xandra is getting final hair touch-ups in a tiny room in New York City’s Hard Rock Hotel. Downstairs, it’s sensory overload: Music booms, while photographers and fans are lining the red carpet for her and the other SI Rookies to make their entrance. But up here, it’s quiet. There’s a Jersey Mike’s bag on the table, and Xandra — aka Alexandra Pohl, whose college nickname has turned her into a mononymous public figure — is still in her robe.

The 23-year-old is excited to put on her dress, a sequined LBD featuring two star-shaped nipple covers. By 6 p.m., she asks her hairstylist to help her into the Christian Cowan number, so she can shoot social content before the party starts.

What follows is rapid-fire filming. Every video is one take with an exception: a TikTok of her outfit of the night. She films the same OOTN video several times to combat the prudish algorithm. “TikTok is against big titty b*tches,” she says. “Even videos in my sports bra get placed under review.”

Luckily, Xandra knows how to work the platform in her favor. Her blunt attitude and off-the-cuff musings have earned her 1.2 million TikTok followers since October 2022, when her GRWM videos taken from her college house started gaining traction on the app. Now, she’s successfully transitioned past the success of her college-era content — even if she still hits the occasional frat party.

The Sports Illustrated launch is just the beginning of Xandra’s self-declared “hot girl summer,” which so far has been marked by saying yes to every opportunity thrown her way, from last-minute flights to Belize to DJ gigs at festivals. She’s the same person she’s always been, just taking less bullsh*t and having even more fun.


Xandra’s growing audience (primarily made up of young women) has opened up plenty of doors for her — specifically, stage doors. Since high school, her main goal has been building her DJ career. Her first gig was actually senior homecoming.

When she left her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, for the University of Miami in August 2019, Xandra brought her DJ equipment with her. “The first frat party I went to, I brought my computer in a backpack. I showed up and plugged my sh*t in,” she tells me over lunch with her publicist earlier in the week. “All the guys tried to tell me I had no idea what I was doing. I was like, ‘Literally, watch me for five minutes. Then if you want to tell me to f*ck off, I’ll f*ck off.’” They didn’t — but it’s still an uphill battle. “Guys can play twice at a frat party and be taken more seriously than I am,” she says. “And I’ve been doing this for about seven years.”

It literally pains me to say this, but a man really can make you feel like sh*t.

Xandra played her first club at 18. (She was let in, even though security questioned why all of her friends were underage.) Still, her music career wasn’t an instant success. “When you start out, half of the time they say that they’ll pay you and then don’t,” she says. “I was told that if I actually wanted to be taken seriously, I needed to have a following on social media.” So she did exactly that, posting generously about her life at U Miami and leveraging that following to book bigger venues and bring in crowds.

Earlier this month, she wrapped up her first-ever tour, appropriately named the Drunk Tour. This summer, she’ll release her still-unnamed debut song. Next up, she has gigs at the Palm Tree Festival in June and Lollapalooza in August.

Xandra’s upcoming Lollapalooza set feels especially poignant — it’s the same festival where she realized she wanted to be a DJ while watching Alison Wonderland perform years ago. And that isn’t the only full-circle moment in her orbit.


Being part of Sports Illustrated’s Rookie class is another dream come true for Xandra, who brought it up as a career goal when she first met her manager in October 2022. That same manager gave her the news she’d made the cut. “She called me and asked if I was sitting down. I was like, ‘What the f*ck happened? Who died?’”

The outlet’s timing could not have been better. “I was going through a pretty gnarly breakup at the time, and it was like the Sports Illustrated gods were sent from above and pulled me out of this dark place,” she says.

Xandra announced her breakup in January, a month after the split happened. She had been dating her ex — whom she doesn’t name (she says she doesn’t want to give him any free press) — for three years. Before she broke up with him, the search bar on most of her TikTok videos was dedicated to accusations of him cheating.

“It literally pains me to say this, but a man really can make you feel like sh*t,” she says about the breakup. “I gave myself a minute of being boohoo me, but then I took my blurry-*ss goggles off, and I was like, ‘Holy sh*t, this is not my man. This is not the life I want.’ He’s nothing. He’s trash in the corner.’”

When she announced her Sports Illustrated shoot on April 23, her followers also noted the cosmic timing. “Imagine being what’s his name rn,” one fan wrote on her Instagram post. “I feel so bad for ur ex lol,” said another. “It was an insane revenge moment,” Xandra says.

But despite her expletive-filled candor at our lunch, she has kept the minutiae of the breakup quiet. “Everyone wants all the little itsy-bitsy details,” she says. Xandra hasn’t been swayed. “I haven’t really gone into details about it. I don’t know if I ever will… unless I’m feeling really crazy.” So, what is she willing to divulge? “Insecurity and jealousy are the two nastiest things that a person can have, and my relationship was ruled by that.”


As we head down to the party, Xandra makes an effort to greet all of her fellow Rookies, taking photos with Livvy Dunne and Berkleigh Wright. The walk down two flights of stairs takes almost 20 minutes, as people stop her to chat and snap just one more picture. When we finally get to the bar, she orders a tequila soda with a splash of pineapple, her go-to. A girl in line introduces herself as a follower, and they hug like long-lost best friends.

When you graduate, you realize you only want people around you that support you. Those filler people… you don’t need them anymore.

Though Xandra has kept Miami as her home base postgrad (and still deejays at frat parties from time to time), she’s aware of how much things have changed since her audience first started following along. Like many postgrads, Xandra has trimmed down her social circle in the past year. Half of it comes down to scheduling difficulties (one of adulthood’s biggest pitfalls). The other half is a new mindset.

“When you graduate, you realize you only want people around you that support you. Those filler people… you don’t need them anymore,” she says. “As soon as they aren’t adding anything to your life, there’s just no point.”

A lot has changed for her in the last year, but unlike many 23-year-olds, she doesn’t carry too much angst about the prospect. “I don’t think you’re supposed to stay the same person,” she says. She might still be figuring herself out, but she’s confident in who she is now — and the kind of person she wants to date. “I’m nuts. I’m a lot to handle. My life is crazy. You probably won’t see me 75% of the time, but I’m really fun,” she says. “So if you want to come on the train, come. But if you don’t, it’s fine.”

While there are plenty of perks to her career (for example, she uses her access to Sports Illustrated’s Instagram account to like one of Martha Stewart’s posts), Xandra notes that she’s much less trusting now than she was before ever building her following.

Apparently, even for a Sports Illustrated Rookie, the dating scene is difficult. “If I meet a man in person, I’m like, ‘Get the f*ck away from me.’ If a man DMs me, I’m like, ‘Get the f*ck away from me.’ If a guy matches me on an app, I’m like, ‘Get the f*ck away from me,’” Xandra says. “So this whole single thing’s been a little tough,” she adds.

I want to be feral. Feral!

She knows that people will see who she dates — she realizes it’s already happened when a red-carpet reporter alludes to rumors surrounding her and Chiefs player Louis Rees-Zammit. “I’m wondering, ‘How the f*ck are you figuring this out? Do you have cameras on me?’” she says of the Internet’s detective skills. Though Xandra might not have control over the Truman Show-esque surveillance, she has some posting parameters in mind for future romances.

“After going through a very public breakup, I’m definitely pumping the brakes on how much I’m going to share,” she says. Right now, she sums up her dating life like this: “I’m getting on planes. I’m inviting people over. I’m trying to figure myself out — what I like and what I want.” (She also has a game plan for her upcoming summer in the Hamptons: “I want to be feral. Feral!”)

One year out of school and five months post-breakup, Xandra’s still the same “crazy blonde miami DJ” from her TikTok bio. She’s just caring less about the things that don’t matter. “I'm in my approaching era. If I want something, I’m going to go get it,” she says. She doesn’t have a go-to pickup line yet. I suggest trying something simple: “Hi, I’m in Sports Illustrated.” She laughs, “Yeah, I’ll just say, ‘Hi’ and push up my boobs.”

Photographs by Anna Nazarova

Photo Director: Alex Pollack

Editor in Chief: Charlotte Owen

SVP Fashion: Tiffany Reid

SVP Creative: Karen Hibbert