The iconic model and America’s Next Top Model creator has made her return to the publication for the first time in 23 years since making headlines for her groundbreaking cover for the prestigious swimsuit edition, and, unsurprisingly, she looks incredible.
After making history as the first African American model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit back in 1997, Tyra Banks is back to reclaim her throne.
The new issue, which is aptly themed “Shattering Perceptions”, pictures the 45-year-old looking fierce in a yellow Andi Bagus bikini in Great Exuma, Bahamas, photographed by Laretta Houston.
The beauty mogul unveiled the cover during an appearance on Good Morning America, where she introduced her latest mission to spread all-inclusive beauty by coming out of retirement.
Banks, who now goes by the professional name of Banx, explained that her new moniker stands for “X-cookie cutter beauty. It’s about all ages, all sizes, all colours, all everything.”
“There is this stereotype that only a 20-year-old woman in a bikini is hot,” Banks told Sports Illustrated. “Like once we reach a certain age, we are no longer desirable. But I want to show that modelling has no age. I’m coming out of retirement to practice what I preach.”
“Since Tyra’s first cover in 1996, she’s transformed herself into nothing less than a mogul, a cultural force and a supernova of inspiration and empowerment,” said SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day. “She’s kind of the Swimsuit Issue ethos come to life, everything we know this franchise can be.”
Sports Illustrated has been making waves recently for its game-changing cover stars. Earlier in the year, the magazine welcomed its first Polynesian model, Veronica Pome’e, onto its pages, while last month, Somali-American model Halima Aden made history as the first-ever Muslim model to appear in the iconic swimsuit issue wearing a hijab and burkini.
We’ll be keeping our eyes firmly fixed on SI in the meantime, as there’s certain to be more empowering covers to come.