Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: Wikis


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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

The first swimsuit issue cover
Editor Diane Smith
Categories Models
Frequency Yearly
First issue January 20, 1964
Company Sports Illustrated
Country United States
Language English
Website SI Swimsuit

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is published annually by Sports Illustrated. It features fashion models wearing swimwear in exotic locales. According to some, inclusion is considered the de facto standard by which supermodels are measured.[1] In addition, the issue is a media nexus that in 2005 carried US$35 million in advertising.[1] New issues come out around the middle of February or later. First published in 1964, it is credited with making the bikini, invented in 1946,[2] a legitimate piece of apparel.[3] The issue that got the most letters was the 1978 issue.[4] The best selling issue was the 25th Anniversary Issue with Kathy Ireland on the cover in 1989.[4]

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Photographed by Raphael Mazzucco, and produced by Diane Smith, the unprecedented "reunion shoot" featured 139 pages of unpublished images. In 2006, the issue expanded publishing to handheld devices.[5] In 2007, the swimsuit issue was first available in China.[6]



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] However, the issue did not exclusively feature models until 1997.[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.[7]

Non-models in the magazine

Several female athletes have appeared, though not on the cover. Steffi Graf appeared in 1997. In the 2003 issue, tennis player Serena Williams and figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva were featured inside the magazine. Anna Kournikova appeared in an inset on the 2004 cover, and had a photo spread within its pages.

In 2005, Olympic gold medallists 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. Senior editor Diane Smith wanted 10-time (16 currently) Grammy-winner Beyoncé Knowles to pose.[8] In 2006, Beyoncé launched a swimsuit line under her House of Deréon clothing label. Beyoncé Knowles became the first singer, and first non-model, to appear on the cover in 2007. In 2008, NFL cheerleaders appeared for the first time. Teams include the Buccaneers, Chargers, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Jaguars, Patriots, Raiders, Redskins and Texans.[9]

Race car driver Danica Patrick appeared in 2008. She was featured in a four-page spread set in Singer Island, Florida. [10]


To many, the magazine is an acceptable exhibition of female sexuality not out of place on a coffee table.[1] Recent editions have mixed the modeling with a tribute to sportsmen. The swimsuit edition is controversial with both moralists who subscribe for sports news content as well as those who feel that the focus on fashion and swimsuit modeling is inappropriate for a sports magazine. Also feminists have expressed that "the Swimsuit Issue promotes the harmful and dehumanizing concept that women are a product for male consumption."[11] Subscriptions have been canceled by subscribers when it arrives. 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] Recently, the number of cancellations has declined.[1] Nonetheless, to avoid controversy, its publisher Time Warner, did not deliver the special edition of the magazine to many subscribers in 2007.[12] Now, Sports Illustrated offers its subscribers the option of skipping the swimsuit edition for a one issue credit to extend their subscription by a week.[12]

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 Joao
  • 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

The 2008, 2009, and 2010 covergirls were announced on Late Show with David Letterman.[13][14] This year's cover girl, Brooklyn Decker, admitted her mom cried when she discovered that her daughter had achieved the pinnacle of bikini-model success.[15]

Cover history

Most covers by model[16]

Model Number of covers: issues
Elle Macpherson 5: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, 2006
Christie Brinkley 3: 1979, 1980, 1981
Kathy Ireland 3: 1989, 1992, 1994
Cheryl Tiegs 3: 1970, 1975, 1983
Daniela Pestova 3: 1995, 2000, 2006
Paulina Porizkova 2: 1984, 1985
Tyra Banks 2: 1996, 1997
Rachel Hunter 2: 1994, 2006
Rebecca Romijn 2: 1999, 2006
Elsa Benitez 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 increased.

Swimsuit Video, the Swimsuit Issue on video and in television specials

Beginning in the late 1980's, 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.[17]

In 1989, The Making of the Sports Illustrated 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue was a television documentary by Home Box Office (HBO) which later became available on VHS by Maysles Films.[18] 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.[19] In 1993, Sports Illustrated: The 1993 Swimsuit Video was released by HBO films.[20] The next year, Sports Illustrated 1994 Swimsuit Issue Video was released on video by Dakota North Entertainment.[21] 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 '[Year] Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special'. The hour-long specials have aired on Spike TV and TNT and Minisodes of several specials from 2002–2004 are available on Crackle. [22] 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. [23]

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. [24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Curtis, Bryan (2005-02-16). "The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: An intellectual history". Slate. Washington Post.Newsweek Interactive Co. LLC. Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  2. ^ Hoover, Elizabeth D. (2006-07-05). "60 Years of Bikinis". American Heritage Inc.. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  3. ^ Mendelsohn, Aline (2006-07-23). "The bikini celebrates 60 years". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  4. ^ a b Sports Illustrated 50: The Anniversary Book, Rob Fleder, 2005, p.286, ISBN 1-932273-49-2
  5. ^ Miller, Lia (2006-02-13). "So Many Models in Bikinis, So Many Ways to See Them". Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  6. ^ Barboza, David (2007-03-04). "The People's Republic of Sex Kittens and Metrosexuals". Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  7. ^ Layberger, Tom (1995-04-02). "Under the right cover, "SI' can be hot collectible". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  8. ^ Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Winter 2007, p.15, Diane Smith, senior editor
  9. ^ Supermodel Marisa Miller Adorns the Cover of the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on Newsstands Today!
  10. ^ "2008 Danica Patrick". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  11. ^ Feminist Media Round-Up: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Lisa Bennett, Communications Director, National Organization for Women. February 22, 2002.
  12. ^ a b Aspan, Maria (2007-03-12). "The Swimsuits Were Skimpy, but the Magazine Was Invisible". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  13. ^ "Marisa Miller: SI Covergirl Unveiled On Letterman". The Huffington Post., Inc.. 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  14. ^ "Letterman to unveil S.I. Swimsuit cover". United Press International, Inc.. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  15. ^ "Brooklyn Decker (Photos) Mom Cried Over SI Swimsuit Cover". National Ledger. Feb 10, 2010. Retrieved Feb 10, 2010. 
  16. ^ Sports Illustrated 50: The Anniversary Book, Rob Fleder, 2005, p.286, ISBN 1-932273-49-2
  17. ^ "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit on IMDB". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Making of the Sports Illustrated 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue (1989) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Sports Illustrated Behind the Scenes: Official Swimsuit Video (1992) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Sports Illustrated: The 1993 Swimsuit Video (1993) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Sports Illustrated 1994 Swimsuit Issue Video (1994)". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Spike TV Highlights – February 2005". PRNewswire. 2005-01-06. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  23. ^ "Sports Illustrated 40th Anniversary Swimsuit Special: American Beauty (2004)". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  24. ^ ""Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search" (2005) TV series". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 

External links

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