The making of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

The making of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Durch: CBS News Erstellt am: Mai 14, 2024 anzeigen: 3

The iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, a staple on newsstands for six decades, marks its 60th anniversary with a special issue that breaks from tradition. 

"I want the world to realize that Sports Illustrated has evolved into such a far more wide-reaching, powerful vehicle of change," said MJ Day, editor-in-chief. 

The special anniversary of the SI Swimsuit Issue has seven new covers that feature different models, including Kate Upton, Chrissy Teigen and Hunter McGrady, who is making her debut as a cover star.

"This has been my dream forever," said McGrady. "I started with Sports Illustrated in 2016. You know, as a plus-size woman I'm all about representation, but my biggest messages were so much more than our body. Yes, this is me and my body on the cover of a magazine, but I'm so much more than that. It's exciting to finally be put on this huge platform in that way."

This cover marks Upton's fourth. She said that the magazine helped her career, but has also helped deliver an inspiring message to women.

"It is about taking our power back," Upton said. "It's about being confident in our body, no matter what you look like, and knowing that you deserve to be there, and your voice matters, and you can empower yourself by being confident. You can be everything. You can be smart, you can be beautiful, you can be confident."

The SI Swimsuit Issue was first launched in the winter 1964, and was first used to fill in the magazine's pages as hockey and basketball seasons came to an end. Over the years, the swimsuit issue was eagerly anticipated, primarily featuring models in swimwear. 

Since then, the issue has transformed to include women from sports, news, and entertainment, representing different races, ages, and body types. From the magazine's first transgender cover model, Leyna Bloom, to Halima Aden, the first woman wearing a hijab. The swimsuit issue originated as a filler during the sports season lull but quickly became a cultural phenomenon. 

Jule Campbell, the late SI editor, introduced the practice of printing models' names with their pictures, a game-changer that helped models like Christie Brinkley become household names. 

"The Sports Illustrated cover is such a huge get. And you are introduced to the other half of the population, the men. And all of a sudden, I had a name. It's great for your career," said Brinkley. 

For so many years, the magazine's cover stars for the swimsuit issue were White women. But model and actress Tyra Banks broke that barrier when she became the first Black woman to be on the cover of the swimsuit issue. 

"That was, like, oh, my God, a big deal that reverberated around the entire globe," said Banks. 

As the swimsuit issue evolved to become more inclusive, the magazine lost some readers. Even so, Day said the audience who stayed was the one the magazine wanted.

"I mean, listen, there's a lot of swimsuit photos in this issue. We're not short on swimsuits. But I really like the idea of having all these women come together in a way that was different for us for once. We're living our best life. We're not afraid and we're not embarrassed and no one's going to stop us," said Day.

This year's SI swimsuit issue also includes "CBS Mornings" co-host Gayle King, who not only photographed for the magazine, but is also on the cover. 

Gayle King on cover of SI swim Sports Illustrated

"They told me I was going to be on the inside," King said as she saw the cover for the first time on "CBS Mornings." 

King described how the photographer guided her on how to pose, from how to position your fingers to extending your toes. Despite such detailed instructions, she never imagined herself in that role. 

"I mean, I just never saw myself this way. I still don't see myself this way," said King.

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