Celebrating 60 Years of Empowerment and Diversity: Sports Illustrated’s Iconic Swimsuit Models

Sports Illustrated, a renowned publication that has been synonymous with glamour and sports, recently marked an incredible milestone as it celebrated 60 years of its iconic “Swimsuit Edition.” The special issue, released on May 17, showcased a dazzling array of past cover models who have graced the pages of this legendary magazine over the decades.

Sports Illustrateds Iconic Swimsuit Models

Sports Illustrated's Iconic Swimsuit Models

The 60th-anniversary edition of the “Swimsuit Edition” was a tribute to the rich history of Sports Illustrated, featuring seven new covers adorned by 27 exceptional women. Among them were familiar faces like Kate Upton, Chrissy Teigen, Hunter McGrady, and Gayle King, each exuding their unique charm and confidence on their individual solo covers. Noteworthy was the inclusion of “Legends” covers, which reunited alumni such as Chanel Iman, Maye Musk, Megan Rapinoe, Winnie Harlow, Brenna Huckaby, and Halima Aden, highlighting the diversity and inclusivity that the magazine aims to champion.


What initially began as a seasonal diversion has blossomed into a global symbol of empowerment, diversity, and positivity. MJ Day, the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Illustrated, emphasized the magazine’s commitment to honoring women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds, reshaping societal norms, and redefining the standards of beauty. The 60th-anniversary issue was a testament to these values, showcasing a wide range of models who embody strength, confidence, and individuality.

Sports Illustrateds Iconic Swimsuit Models1

Sports Illustrated’s journey with the “Swimsuit Edition” dates back to 1963 when the first-ever edition featured Babette March, a young German model, frolicking on a beach in Mexico in a white bikini. Since then, the annual special issue has evolved and adapted to the changing times, reflecting the diverse and dynamic nature of beauty and fashion. While the magazine has faced criticism for its focus on women’s bodies, it has also been at the forefront of promoting inclusivity and diversity.


In recent years, Sports Illustrated has made a conscious effort to feature a more diverse range of models in its pages. From trans models like Leyna Bloom and Valentina Sampaio to older models like Maye Musk and plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Hunter McGrady, the magazine has embraced a variety of voices and perspectives. Cover stars have expanded beyond traditional models to include musicians, athletes, and celebrities, further broadening the definition of beauty and talent.

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MJ Day’s words ring true as she emphasizes the importance of challenging the status quo, celebrating strength, confidence, and inspiring others to embrace their uniqueness fearlessly. The 60th-anniversary edition of the “Swimsuit Edition” not only pays homage to the magazine’s legacy but also serves as a reminder of the ongoing work towards inclusivity and empowerment.


As we celebrate 60 years of iconic swimsuit models in Sports Illustrated, let us continue to embrace diversity, champion empowerment, and celebrate the strength and uniqueness of women around the world.