Sports Illustrated Celebrates 60th ‘Swimsuit Edition’ with Diverse Lineup and ‘Legends’ Reunion

Featured & Cover Sports Illustrated Celebrates 60th 'Swimsuit Edition' with Diverse Lineup and 'Legends' Reunion

Three of the many notable models who have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s renowned — and occasionally controversial — “Swimsuit Edition” are Kate Upton, Chrissy Teigen, and Hunter McGrady. To commemorate the special issue’s 60th anniversary, the magazine has introduced seven new covers featuring 27 women and has reunited former cover models for a “Legends” photo shoot.

This year’s issue includes solo covers featuring Kate Upton, Chrissy Teigen, plus-size model Hunter McGrady, and CBS News host Gayle King. Notably, this is Upton’s fourth cover appearance and Teigen’s second.

The three “Legends” covers highlight past cover models such as Chanel Iman, Maye Musk, Megan Rapinoe, Winnie Harlow, Paralympian snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, the first amputee model to appear in the “Swimsuit Edition,” and Halima Aden, the first hijabi model.

In a news release, Sports Illustrated editor-in-chief MJ Day remarked that the “Swimsuit Edition” has “transcended its origins,” evolving from a “mere diversion in the winter months when the sports calendar was relatively empty” to becoming “a global symbol of empowerment, diversity and positivity.”

“We’ve done our best to honor women of all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds,” Day stated. “We’ve strived to reshape societal norms and redefine the standards of beauty. This year’s issue does just that.”

The inaugural “Swimsuit Edition” of Sports Illustrated was published in 1963, featuring a young German model named Babette March on the cover, captured playing on a beach in Mexico in a white bikini. Since its inception, the annual special issue has become a staple, although it has sometimes faced criticism for its focus on women’s bodies.

In recent years, the magazine has included a broader array of fashion models, such as trans models Leyna Bloom and Valentina Sampaio, and trans singer Kim Petras. It has also featured older models like Maye Musk and plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Hunter McGrady. The publication’s roster of cover stars has expanded to include musicians, athletes, and celebrities such as Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Naomi Osaka, and Megan Thee Stallion.

“With each passing year, we have challenged ourselves to push boundaries and redefine what it means to be Sports Illustrated Swimsuit,” Day mentioned in the news release.

“While this year’s issue is a tribute to the recent past, it’s also a reminder of the work we must continue to do. We must remind women to challenge the status quo, to celebrate strength and confidence, and to inspire those around us to embrace their uniqueness and pursue their passions fearlessly.

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