Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
First SI Swimsuit Issue.jpg
The first swimsuit issue cover in 1964
EditorM. J. Day
First issueJanuary 20, 1964
CompanySports Illustrated
(Authentic Brands Group)
CountryUnited States

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is published annually by American magazine Sports Illustrated and features female fashion models, celebrities and athletes wearing swimwear in various locales around the world. The highly coveted cover photograph has been considered as the arbiter of supermodel succession.[1] The issue carries advertising that, in 2005, amounted to US$35 million in value.[1] First published in 1964, it is credited with making the bikini, invented in 1946,[2] a legitimate piece of apparel.[3]

Since 1964, the issue has been published every February. Starting 2019, the issue was made available in May.[4][5]


The swimsuit issue was invented by Sports Illustrated editor Andre Laguerre to fill the winter months, a typically slow point in the sporting calendar.[1] He asked fashion reporter Jule Campbell to go on a shoot to fill space, including the cover, with a beautiful model. The first issue, released in 1964, entailed a cover featuring Babette March and a five-page layout. Campbell soon became a powerful figure in modeling and molded the issue into a media phenomenon by featuring "bigger and healthier" California women and printing the names of the models with their photos, beginning a new supermodel era.[1] In the 1950s, a few women appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but the 1964 issue is considered to be the beginning of the current format known as the Swimsuit Issue. The issue that got the most letters was the 1978 edition.[6] In 1997, Tyra Banks was the first black woman on the cover.[7] Since 1997, the swimsuit issue has been a stand-alone edition, separate from the regular weekly magazine.[8] Its best selling issue was the 25th Anniversary Issue with Kathy Ireland on the cover in 1989.[6]

Through the years, many models, such as Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova, Elle Macpherson, Rachel Hunter, Rebecca Romijn, Petra Nemcova, Valeria Mazza, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Marisa Miller, Irina Shayk, and Camille Kostek have been featured on the cover. Other models within its pages, but not on its cover, include Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Niki Taylor, Angie Everhart, and Naomi Campbell. The eight models featured on the cover of the 2006 issue were featured in a coffee-table book called Sports Illustrated: Exposure. Photographed by Raphael Mazzucco and produced by Diane Smith, the unprecedented "reunion shoot" featured 139 pages of previously-unpublished images. In 2006, the issue expanded publishing to handheld devices.[9] In 2007, the swimsuit issue first became available in China.[10]

The 2008-2013 covergirls were announced on Late Show with David Letterman.[11][12] The 2014 and 2017 covergirls were announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[13] The 2015 cover model was announced on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[14]

The 2019 covers were exclusively announced on Good Morning America with Tyra Banks and Camille Kostek both appearing on the show on May 8, 2019.[15][16] The 2019 issue has leaned towards diversity and inclusivity with models representing different body types.[17] It also tackled ageism, body image and the Me Too movement.[18][19]

The 2020 issue was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[20] and was released on July 13, 2020.[21] Valentina Sampaio became the swimsuit issue's first openly transgender model in 2020.[22]

Non-models in the magazine

Female athletes have appeared in swimsuit shoots. Steffi Graf appeared in 1997. In the 2003 issue, tennis player Serena Williams and figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva were featured inside the magazine. In 2016, UFC fighter Ronda Rousey became the first female athlete to appear on the cover. However, Anna Kournikova appeared in an inset on the 2004 cover, and had a photo spread within its pages.

In 2005, Olympic gold medalists Amanda Beard and Jennie Finch, along with Lauren Jackson and Venus Williams, were featured. Maria Sharapova appeared in an inset on the 2006 cover and had a spread inside. In spring 2006, Sports Illustrated chose music as the theme for the 2007 issue. Swimsuit editor Diane Smith[23] wanted Grammy-winner Beyoncé Knowles to pose.[24] In 2006, Beyoncé launched a swimsuit line under her House of Deréon clothing label. Beyoncé Knowles became the first singer, and first non-model non-athlete, to appear on the cover in 2007.

In 2008, NFL cheerleaders appeared for the first time. Teams include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins and Houston Texans.[25]

Race car driver Danica Patrick appeared in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, she was featured in a four-page spread set in Singer Island, Florida.[26]

For the 2010 issue, four female Winter Olympians appeared in swimsuits: Clair Bidez, Lacy Schnoor, Hannah Teter, and Lindsey Vonn. They were joined by tennis player Ana Ivanovic. Criticism of Ivanovic's appearance in the magazine shortly surfaced, as the Serb was suffering a decline in form and confidence and subsequently dropped out of the WTA's Top 50 a month after appearing in the magazine. However, since November 2010, Ivanovic has re-entered the World's Top 20 and regained her old form and confidence. Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke appeared in the 2013 issue after having gained notoriety for her warm-up dance routine, which went viral on YouTube.[27]

Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki appeared in the 2015 issue. She is an active player, formerly world number one, and was photographed at Captiva Island in the Gulf of Mexico by Walter Iooss, Jr.[28] Top ranked Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard appeared for the first time in the 2017 issue. She is an active player who has achieved a top five rank in tennis in 2014.[29]

In 2021, Naomi Osaka became the first black athlete to appear not only inside but also on the cover of the SI swimsuit Issue.[30]


To some people, the magazine is an acceptable exhibition of female sexuality not out of place on a coffee table.[1] The swimsuit edition is controversial both with moralists who subscribe for sports news content as well as with those who feel that the focus on fashion and swimsuit modeling is inappropriate for a sports magazine. Feminists have expressed that "the Swimsuit Issue promotes the harmful and dehumanizing concept that women are a product for male consumption".[31]

At times, subscriptions have been cancelled by subscribers. The 1978 edition, remembered for its fishnet bathing suit made famous by Cheryl Tiegs, resulted in 340 cancellations.[1] Sports Illustrated makes the controversy a form of entertainment with the issue two weeks after the swimsuit edition packed with complainants such as shocked parents and troubled librarians.[1] As of 2005, the number of cancellations has reportedly declined.[1] Nonetheless, to avoid controversy, Sports Illustrated has, since 2007, offered its subscribers the option of skipping the swimsuit edition for a one issue credit to extend their subscription.[32]


The swimsuit issue was once predominantly shot in one country per year. As the issue has grown in size, the number of locations has also risen.

In other media

Camille Kostek won the first ever Sports Illustrated Swim Search in 2018, eventually landing a solo cover the following year[47]
  • Beginning in the late 1980s, Sports Illustrated allowed television specials to be aired which were later released as video versions of its Swimsuit Issue. The first releases were available on VHS or Laser Disc (LD), and later releases have been available on DVD.[48]
  • In 1989, The Making of the Sports Illustrated 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue was a television documentary by HBO which later became available on VHS by Maysles Films.[49]
  • In 1992, a behind-the-scenes made-for-HBO special documentary was released on VHS as the Sports Illustrated Behind the Scenes: Official Swimsuit Video.[50]
  • In 1993, Sports Illustrated: The 1993 Swimsuit Video was released by HBO films.[51]
  • The Sports Illustrated 1994 Swimsuit Issue Video was released on video by Dakota North Entertainment.[52] Since then, the annual video version of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has been called the Swimsuit Video.
  • In 1995, Sports Illustrated began distributing television specials based on the issue, titled Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special. The hour-long specials have aired on Spike TV and TNT and Minisodes of several specials from 2002 to 2004 are available on Crackle.[53]
  • In 2004, the Sports Illustrated 40th Anniversary Swimsuit Special: American Beauty featured videos of the swimsuit beauties at various US locations, some of which are not usually thought of as beaches: e.g., the host Melissa Keller and Marisa Miller at the grain elevator in Bouton, Iowa, and on a farm near Perry, Iowa. The more recent videos have included some "uncensored" scenes.[54]
  • For January 2005, NBC produced the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search, a reality TV show documenting twelve previously unknown fashion models as they competed against one another over five weeks for the grand prize: a pictorial in the 2005 edition of the Swimsuit Issue and a modeling contract with NEXT Model Management worth one million US dollars. Alicia Hall won the competition.[55]
  • Prior to the release of the 2011 issue, DirectTV aired a preview special on the 101 Network, revealing the models in that year's edition. The show was hosted by Dan Patrick and Mallory Snyder.
  • In 2017, the issue hosted its first ever open casting call where aspirants were asked to submit a 60-second video on Instagram.[56] The three-part series Sports Illustrated Swim Search which documented the first ever open casting call with Camille Kostek as a winner (becoming a cover model in 2019) was made available on SI TV and Amazon Prime Video.[57] The following year, the model search held an in-person open casting call in Miami, and has been held annually since.[58][59]
  • In 2019, the magazine held a two-day exhibition in Miami which gave "fans the chance to experience the world of SI Swim like never before through an array of one-of-a-kind installations, photo experiences," panels and talks among others.[60]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Curtis, Bryan (February 16, 2005). "The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: An intellectual history". Slate. Washington Post. Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC. Retrieved 2007.
  2. ^ Hoover, Elizabeth D. (July 5, 2006). "60 Years of Bikinis". American Heritage Inc. Archived from the original on September 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  3. ^ Mendelsohn, Aline (July 23, 2006). "The bikini celebrates 60 years". Lincoln Journal Star. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved 2007.
  4. ^ "Sports Illustrated shifts Swimsuit Issue to May, when it's actually bikini season". USA Today. Associated Press. January 15, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue will come out in May". Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ a b Sports Illustrated 50: The Anniversary Book, Rob Fleder, 2005, p. 286, ISBN 1-932273-49-2.
  7. ^ Layberger, Tom (April 2, 1995). "Under the right cover, "SI' can be hot collectible". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009.
  8. ^ Isidore, Chris (February 16, 2005). "Bikini empire: Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue has spawned spin-off products worth $10 million a year". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Miller, Lia (February 13, 2006). "So Many Models in Bikinis, So Many Ways to See Them". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007.
  10. ^ Barboza, David (March 4, 2007). "The People's Republic of Sex Kittens and Metrosexuals". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007.
  11. ^ "Marisa Miller: SI Covergirl Unveiled On Letterman". The Huffington Post. February 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009.
  12. ^ "Letterman to unveil S.I. Swimsuit cover". United Press International, Inc. February 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  13. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (February 13, 2014). "Jimmy Kimmel to unveil 'SI' swimsuit cover". USA Today. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (February 4, 2015). "Jimmy Unveils the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover". Retrieved 2018 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Good Morning America (May 8, 2019), 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover stars revealed! l GMA, retrieved 2019
  16. ^ "Tyra Banks, Alex Morgan, Camille Kostek cover 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue". ABC News. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ Hays, Kali (May 8, 2019). "Is the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Still Relevant?". WWD. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "Paulina Porizkova on ageism and the SI Swimsuit issue". Retrieved 2019.
  19. ^ "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit goes #MeToo. Not everyone is happy". NBC News. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ Stagnitta, Ali (April 22, 2020). "Model Hunter McGrady Assures Fans That 'SI: Swim' 2020 Issue Is Coming Despite Pandemic". Hollywood Life. Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ Giunta, Joanna. "Your Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2020 Cover Models Are Kate Bock, Jasmine Sanders and Olivia Culpo". Swimsuit | Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ Ali, Rasha. "Valentina Sampaio makes history as first openly transgender Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ "Masthead". Sports Illustrated. September 5, 2011: 14. Print.
  24. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Winter 2007, p. 15, Diane Smith, senior editor
  25. ^ "Supermodel Marisa Miller Adorns the Cover of the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on Newsstands Today!". Archived from the original on February 17, 2008.
  26. ^ "SI Swimsuit 2008 & 2009: Danica Patrick". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ "Michelle Jenneke's viral dance paves the way for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue". February 13, 2013. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ DeMarzo, John (February 9, 2015). "Caroline Wozniacki's latest success: SI Swimsuit model". New York Post. NYP Holdings, Inc. Retrieved 2015.
  29. ^ "Eugenie Bouchard Makes Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Debut". February 16, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ "Naomi Osaka first Black athlete on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover". UPI.
  31. ^ Feminist Media Round-Up: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Archived July 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Lisa Bennett, Communications Director, National Organization for Women. February 22, 2002.
  32. ^ Aspan, Maria (March 12, 2007). "The Swimsuits Were Skimpy, but the Magazine Was Invisible". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007.
  33. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Travel Locations 2005. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  34. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Travel Locations 2006. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  35. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Travel Locations 2007 Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  36. ^ "Bar Refaeli - 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition".
  37. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Locations 2008 Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  38. ^ On Location. Archived February 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. CNN Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  39. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Travel Locations 2010 Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  40. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Travel Locations 2011 Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  41. ^ Sports Illustrated 2012 Swimsuit Destinations. Retrieved April 3, 2014
  42. ^ Sports Illustrated 2013 Swimsuit Destinations. Retrieved April 3, 2014
  43. ^ Sports Illustrated 2014 Swimsuit Destinations. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  44. ^ Breslow Sardone, Susan (February 22, 2016). "2016 Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition Resorts & Locations". Retrieved 2017.
  45. ^ The Gorgeous Locations Where Sports Illustrated Photographed the 2017 Swimsuit Edition. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  46. ^ Susan Breslow Sardone (February 16, 2018). "2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Locations". Trip Savvy. Retrieved 2018.
  47. ^ "Model Camille Kostek Lands Her First Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover -- as a Rookie!". Retrieved 2019.
  48. ^ "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit on IMDB". IMDb. Retrieved 2009.
  49. ^ "Making of the Sports Illustrated 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue (1989) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009.
  50. ^ "Sports Illustrated Behind the Scenes: Official Swimsuit Video (1992) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009.
  51. ^ "Sports Illustrated: The 1993 Swimsuit Video (1993) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009.
  52. ^ "Sports Illustrated 1994 Swimsuit Issue Video (1994)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009.
  53. ^ "Spike TV Highlights - February 2005". PRNewswire. January 6, 2005. Retrieved 2009.
  54. ^ "Sports Illustrated 40th Anniversary Swimsuit Special: American Beauty (2004)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009.
  55. ^ "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search (2005) TV series". IMDb. Retrieved 2009.
  56. ^ "SI Swimsuit to host open casting call". Retrieved 2019.
  57. ^ "Watch a free preview of SI Swimsuit Model Search show". Retrieved 2019.
  58. ^ "SI Swimsuit to host open casting call in Miami!". Retrieved 2019.
  59. ^ "SI Swimsuit to host third-annual open casting call in Miami". Retrieved 2019.
  60. ^ "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Announces Its First-Ever Exhibition Experience for Fans". Retrieved 2019.

Further reading


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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