Alexis Ren I'm a Modeling Trailblazer ... Thanks SI Swimsuit Issue!

2/14/2018 3:28 PM PST

SI Swimsuit Rookie of the Year Alexis Ren Excited to Be Modeling Pioneer

EXCLUSIVE

Alexis Ren's not trying to hear the haters dismissing her as an Instagram model who has no biz being SI's Swimsuit Rookie of the Year -- she's too busy changing the game ... for the better, she says.

Alexis told us she's excited to be part of the new wave of nontraditional models, who don't get their start on catwalks and glossy magazines. She's not planning to rest on the laurels of her SI title or her nearly 12 million IG followers ... instead, Alexis wants to prove she's the new model for modeling success.

The good news for her fans is ... she wants to find new ways to connect with you.

As for her status on Instagram, now that she's got the ROTY title? More good news.