Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
The Sports Illustrated is published annually by American magazine Sports Illustrated and features women 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. The issue carries advertising that, in 2005 amounted to US$35 million in value. First published in 1964, it is credited with making the bikini, invented in 1946, a legitimate piece of apparel.
The swimsuit issue was invented by Sports Illustrated editor Andre Laguerre to fill the winter months, a typically slow point in the sporting calendar. 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. 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. In 1997, Tyra Banks was the first black woman on the cover. Since 1997, the swimsuit issue has been a stand-alone edition, separate from the regular weekly magazine. Its best selling issue was the 25th Anniversary Issue with Kathy Ireland on the cover in 1989.
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, and Marisa Miller, 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by Raphael Mazzucco and produced by Diane Smith, the unprecedented "reunion shoot" featured 139 pages of previously-unpublished images.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. In 2007, the swimsuit issue first became available in China.
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 wanted Grammy-winner Beyoncé Knowles to pose. 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.
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.
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.
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.
To some people, the magazine is an acceptable exhibition of female sexuality not out of place on a coffee table. 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".
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. 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. As of 2005, the number of cancellations has reportedly declined. 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 by a week.
On the cover
1964: Babette March
1965: Sue Peterson
1966: Sunny Bippus
1967: Marilyn Tindall
1968: Turia Mau
1969: Jamee Becker
1970: Cheryl Tiegs
1971: Tannia Rubiano
1972: Shelia Roscoe
1973: Dayle Haddon
1974: Ann Simonton
1975: Cheryl Tiegs
1976: Yvette and Yvonne Sylvander
1977: Lena Kansbod
1978: Maria João
1979: Christie Brinkley
1980: Christie Brinkley
1981: Christie Brinkley
1982: Carol Alt
1983: Cheryl Tiegs
1984: Paulina Porizkova
1985: Paulina Porizkova
1986: Elle Macpherson
1987: Elle Macpherson
1988: Elle Macpherson
1989: Kathy Ireland
1990: Judit Masco
1991: Ashley Richardson (Montana)
1992: Kathy Ireland
1993: Vendela Kirsebom
1994: Kathy Ireland, Elle Macpherson, and Rachel Hunter
1995: Daniela Pestova
1996: Valeria Mazza and Tyra Banks
1997: Tyra Banks
1998: Heidi Klum
1999: Rebecca Romijn
2000: Daniela Pestova
2001: Elsa Benítez
2002: Yamila Diaz
2003: Petra Němcová
2004: Veronica Varekova; inset Anna Kournikova
2005: Carolyn Murphy; inset Jessica White, Marisa Miller, and Yamila Diaz
2006: Veronica Varekova, Elle Macpherson, Rebecca Romijn, Rachel Hunter, Daniela Pestova, Elsa Benítez, Carolyn Murphy, and Yamila Diaz; inset Heidi Klum and Maria Sharapova
2007: Beyoncé Knowles; inset Bar Refaeli
2008: Marisa Miller; inset Heidi Klum
2009: Bar Refaeli; inset Brooklyn Decker
2010: Brooklyn Decker
2011: Irina Shayk; inset Kate Upton
2012: Kate Upton; inset Alex Morgan
2013: Kate Upton; inset Hannah Davis
2014: Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, Chrissy Teigen; flip-side cover: Kate Upton
2015: Hannah Davis
2016: Ronda Rousey, Hailey Clauson, Ashley Graham (three individual covers)
2017: Kate Upton (three separate covers)
2018: Danielle Herrington
Elle Macpherson has the most covers in the issue's history with five
|Model||Number of covers||Issues|
|Elle Macpherson||5||1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, 2006|
|Christie Brinkley||3||1979, 1980, 1981|
|Cheryl Tiegs||3||1970, 1975, 1983|
|Kathy Ireland||3||1989, 1992, 1994|
|Daniela Pestova||3||1995, 2000, 2006|
|Kate Upton||3||2012, 2013, 2017|
|Tyra Banks||3||1996, 1997, 2019|
|Paulina Porizkova||2||1984, 1985|
|Rachel Hunter||2||1994, 2006|
|Rebecca Romijn||2||1999, 2006|
|Elsa Benítez||2||2001, 2006|
|Yamila Diaz-Rahi||2||2002, 2006|
|Veronica Varekova||2||2004, 2006|
|Carolyn Murphy||2||2005, 2006|
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.
1965: Baja California
1968: French Polynesia
1969: Puerto Rico
1971: Dominican Republic
1972: Marina del Rey
1974: Puerto Rico
1976: Baja California
1980: British Virgin Islands
1984: Netherlands Antilles
1986: French Polynesia
1987: Dominican Republic
1989: Mexico, Seychelles, Kenya, Lake Powell, Kauai, St. Barts
1990: The Grenadines, Windward Islands
1991: Cruise theme – Turks & Caicos, Bali, St. Barts
1995: Bermuda, Costa Rica
1996: South Africa
1997: Bahamas, Monaco, Venezuela, Mexico, Malibu
1998: Equator theme – Maldives, Kenya, Indonesia, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
1999: Necker Island, Guana Island
2000: Pacific theme – Malaysia, Oahu, Maui, Mexico
2001: Tunisia, Greece, Italy, Bahamas, Las Vegas
2002: Latin theme – Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Spanish Harlem
2003: Barbados, Kenya, Turkey, Florida Keys, Colorado, Vietnam, Grenada
2005: Exuma, Bahamas, Pico Bonito National Park, Honduras, Korčula, Croatia, Laguna Beach, California, Bora Bora, Portillo, Chile, Hua Hin, Thailand, Papgayo Peninsula, Costa Rica, Placencia, Belize, Fajardo, Puerto Rico
2007: Music theme – Memphis, Tennessee, Negril, Jamaica, Bahia, Brazil, Maui and Lahaina, Hawaii, Grambling and Shreveport, Louisiana, Los Angeles, Tucson, Arizona, Cleveland, Ohio
2008: St. Petersburg, Russia, Discovery Cove, Orlando and Singer Island, Florida, Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Kaanapali, Hawaii, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos, Caesarea, Israel and the Dead Sea, Israel
2010: Whistler, Canada, Atacama, Chile, Rajasthan, India, Veligandu, Maldives, Palm Springs, California, Lisbon, Portugal
2011: Peter Island, British Virgin Islands, Nanuya Levu, Fiji, Boracay Island, The Philippines, Sentosa, Singapore, Maui, Hawaii, Laguna Beach, California, Banff National Park, Canada
2012: Bondi Beach, New South Wales and North Narrabeen, Australia, Apalachicola, Florida, Gulf Coast of the United States, Bocas del Toro Province and San Blas Islands, Panama, Desroches Island, Seychelles, Victoria Falls, Zambia
2014: Aitutaki, Cook Islands, Cape Canaveral, Florida, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Maranhão, Brazil, Zermatt and Lake Geneva, Switzerland, Nosy Be, Madagascar, Congress Hall, Cape May, New Jersey, St. Lucia, Fiji, Guana Island, British Virgin Islands
2015: American issue: West Coast California, Oregon, Washington; Blackberry Farm, Tennessee; Route 66 (Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona); Parks - Monument Valley - Utah, Bryce Canyon - Utah, Yellowstone - Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Kauai, Hawaii; Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; Captiva, Florida
2017: Fiji; Sumba, Indonesia; Tulum; Turks and Caicos; Saariselkä, Finland
2018: Tierra del Sol Resort & Golf, Aruba; Haute Harbour Island, Bahamas; Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, Belize; Hermitage Plantation Inn, Nevis
2019: Costa Rica, Great Exuma, Kangaroo Island, Kenya, Paradise Island, Puerto Vallarta, St. Lucia
In other media
Camille Kostek won the first ever Sports Illustrated Swim Search in 2018, eventually landing a solo cover the following year
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.
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.
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.
In 1993, Sports Illustrated: The 1993 Swimsuit Video was released by HBO films.
The Sports Illustrated 1994 Swimsuit Issue Video was released on video by Dakota North Entertainment. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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 Prime Video. The following year, the model search held an in-person open casting call in Miami, and has been held annually since.
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.
List of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models
List of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue models