Tyra Banks Returns to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Cover at 45 Years Old

This is Tyra's third cover shoot for SI

Tyra is smizing for Sports Illustrated again.
Tyra is smizing for Sports Illustrated again.

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Twenty-three years after making history on her first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover, Tyra Banks has returned to grace the front of the magazine yet again.

The former supermodel turned activist, actress, TV personality and entrepreneur came out of retirement specifically for the 2019 SI Swim shoot, People reported. Banks first appeared on the cover in 1997, making history as the first black model to star in a solo cover shoot for the magazine.

“My first one was 23 years ago, how crazy is that,” Banks said on Good Morning America where the new cover was revealed. “I’m like damn — I’m 45 dog!”

The star posed in a yellow string bikini for the 2019 cover, which was shot in Great Exhuma, Bahamas, by Laretta Houston.

Banks’ 2019 return marks her third cover for the magazine. Her first appearance was in 1996, when she shared the cover with model Valeria Maza, before landing her first solo cover the following year.

“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.”

For the 2019 shoot, Banks also recreated her iconic 1997 cover look in a pink polka dot bikini. “We couldn’t find the exact one in the archives – it was the polka dot bikini so we recreated that bikini,” she said, adding that she is now “25 pounds heavier” than when she starred in her first cover shoot.

“I’m happy that the fashion industry is finally catching up,” Banks, who has long been a body-positive activist, told People last year. “What I’m hoping for is that the Ashley Graham’s, the Gigi Hadid’s, everyone is just models. Not plus, not short, not trans, not curvy. I just want it to be normal.”

This year, Banks is one of three women gracing their own covers for the magazine. Banks shares the honor with USA National Women’s Soccer team star Alex Morgan and 2019 SI Swimsuit Rookie Camille Kostek, who won the magazine’s 2018 Model Search.

The 2019 issue features 34 models representing the year’s theme, “Shattering Perceptions,” which, according to the magazine, seeks to “redefine the cultural conversation around beauty by celebrating a diverse group of women.”

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