Tyra Banks makes her return to modeling with third Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover
Tyra Banks made a huge return to modeling to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit for the third time. The 45-year-old model and mogul made history in 1997 as the first black woman to get her own solo cover for the publication’s annual swimsuit edition.
The theme for the issue is “Shattering Perceptions.” For the cover photo, Banks sported a yellow Andi Bagus bikini and her signature smize in Great Exuma, Bahamas, photographed by Laretta Houston.
“This is for everybody that has been told that they are not good enough because of their body, their age, their everything,” Banks wrote on Twitter. “#BanX is here to tell you that you ARE friggin’ fierce no matter what anybody says!” Banks first appeared on the pages of the magazine in 1993. She landed the cover in 1996 alongside fellow model Valeria Mazza, and returned a year later for her history-making solo cover. She paid homage to that iconic shot in another photo for the 2019 spread — bringing back the red polka dot bikini. “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.”
Banks retired from modeling in 2005, after walking in her final Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She’s since turned herself into a media mogul, creating the long-running reality television series “America’s Next Top Model,” hosting her talk show, “The Tyra Banks Show,” writing a young adult novel called “Modelland” and founding her cosmetics company, “Tyra Beauty.” She had a son, named York Banks Asla, with photographer Erik Asla in 2016.
In addition to Banks’ cover, soccer star and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan and model search winner Camille Kostek also landed solo S.I. Swimsuit covers this year. “The three women that make up the covers of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue represent the brand in the most powerful way possible,” Day said. “While each individual woman is so unique, they come together cohesively to tell a spectacular story.”