She made history as the first black model to earn becoming cover girl of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
And 22 years later, Tyra Banks looks better than ever.
The 45-year-old model was seen rocking two different clinging outfits while proudly flaunting her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue cover as she began her promotional tour for the publication on Thursday morning.
Showing off: Tyra Banks donned two different outfits while flaunting her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue cover as she began her promotional tour for the publication on Thursday morning
Repeat performance: The 45-year-old supermodel returned to the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, 22 years after she made history as the first black model to be awarded the honor
On the first outing of the day, she rocked a clinging hot pink midi dress teamed with a pair of white stilettos and a matching wide band leather belt.
Her signature highlighted locks were worn down flowing over her shoulders as her make-up was highlighted by smokey-eye.
The hot pink frock was reminiscent of the polka dots she rocked as she made history as the first black model to front the publication back in 1997.
Tyra came out of modeling retirement in order to do the shoot for the magazine – during which she actually recreated her original cover shot, posing in a replica of the pink polka-dot bikini that she first modeled 22 years ago – and she admitted that the experience of doing a second cover after more than two decades was ‘crazy’.
Gorgeous: On the outing she rocked a clinging hot pink midi dress teamed with a pair of white stilettos and a matching wide band leather belt
Excited: Despite life in the limelight for over twenty years, Tyra had a shocked expression on her face from all the fanfare
Back in the day: Mother-of-one Tyra first posed on the cover of the publication in 1997 (pictured), having previously modeled for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit on two separate occasions
‘My first [cover] was 22 years ago, how crazy is that?’ she said during an appearance on GMA, where the covers were revealed. ‘I’m like damn — I’m 45 dog!
The America’s Next Top Model star also revealed that she is ’25 pounds heavier’ than she was when she first posed for the magazine’s cover – but that didn’t stop her wanting to recreate the history-making shoot all these years later.
‘We couldn’t find the exact one in the archives,’ she said of the bathing suit that she wore on her original cover. ‘It was the polka dot bikini so we recreated that bikini. I recreated [the shoot] – 25 pounds heavier.’
The shoot comes 14 years after Tyra officially retired from the modeling industry, explaining that she wanted to say goodbye to the industry on her own terms, before she ‘aged out’.
However when Sports Illustrated came calling more than a decade later, it seems she just couldn’t say no to the opportunity to prove that age really can be just a number in the modeling industry – particularly as her first cover shoot for the magazine had been such a life-changing experience for her.
Friendly to fans: She made sure to give followers a friendly wave as she made press appearances
Smizing: Her signature highlighted locks were worn down flowing over her shoulders as her make-up was highlighted by smokey-eye
‘There is this stereotype that only a 20-year-old woman in a bikini is hot,’ she told Sports Illustrated. ‘Like once we reach a certain age, we are no longer desirable. But I want to show that modeling has no age. I’m coming out of retirement to practice what I preach.’
‘That first Sports Illustrated cover was huge,’ she added to The New York Times. ‘It was explosive. It changed my life overnight.
‘You have to think back to remember what that did for an appreciation of black beauty to have a black girl, a girl next door type, on the cover of one of the most mass mainstream magazines of our lives. It was a societal statement, a political statement and an economic one.’
A lot has changed since Tyra’s first Swimsuit Issue cover shoot – both in wider society and for Tyra herself, both personally and professionally – with editor MJ Day noting that this was the exact reason why they wanted her to pose on its front page again.
Good spirits: Tyra was all smiles on the outing
Glam girl: No doubt all eyes were on the stunner
‘Tyra Banks is the epitome of what we hope for all the women who are a part of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit,’ she said in a statement shared on Wednesday – the same day that the publication hit newsstands.
‘What she has achieved so far in her career is extraordinary. She has parlayed a modeling career into phenomenal success that spans multiple industries and resonates with people on a global scale. She has refused to be singularly defined and is constantly working to inspire everyone within her reach.’
Tyra is not the only model featured on the cover as she will be sharing the role of 2019 cover girl with model and Instagram star Camille Kostek, 27, girlfriend of NFL star Rob Gronkowski, and soccer star Alex Morgan, 29.
According to Day, the decision to feature three women on separate covers of the publication gave the magazine the opportunity to represent the brand in a more diverse, and powerful way, something that is further echoed in the theme of this year’s magazine: ‘Shattering Perceptions’.
‘This year’s issue features one of the biggest and broadest samplings of beauty that we have ever featured,’ Day told GMA, while adding in a statement on Instagram: ‘The three women that make up the covers of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue represent the brand in the most powerful way possible.
Rocking it: The hot pink frock was reminiscent of the polka dots she rocked as she made history as the first black model to front the publication back in 1997
‘While each individual woman is so unique, they come together cohesively to tell a spectacular story.’
Speaking about the choice of Alex and Camille as Tyra’s co-cover stars, Day noted that each woman represents something incredibly different, yet they all demonstrate qualities that the publication hopes to emulate through its pages, and its models.
‘Alex Morgan stands for feminine strength and power – using her voice to fight for gender discrimination and equal pay and Camille Kostek, only a year after we discovered her in our annual Model Search casting, marks the launch of a career swimming in potential.
‘These women emulate determination to own who they are and demonstrate how limitless they can be.
‘Between these three women and the 31 additional that grace SI Swimsuit 2019, the message is clear. Beauty is synonymous with a lot more than just a pretty face.’
Making moves: Tyra is not the only model featured on the cover as she will be sharing the role of 2019 cover girl with model and Instagram star Camille Kostek, 27, girlfriend of NFL star Rob Gronkowski, as the couple are pictured together in Las Vegas last week
Alex, who has appeared in the magazine a total of three times now, was also able to help editors pick three other members of the US National Women’s Soccer Team to join her in the pages of the 2019 Issue: Megan Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper.
2019 certainly marks the most diverse year yet for the magazine’s iconic Swimsuit Issue, which was once filled only with women of a certain size, age, shape, and look – an old stereotype that Day is trying to fight with each new issue.
The latest publication not only sees Tyra returning to the cover, but the magazine also tapped her fellow supermodel and Swimsuit Issue veteran Paulina Porizkova, 54, not only to appear in its pages, but also to pen the back page column of the magazine, in which she discusses ageism.
Somali-American model Halima Aden also made history earlier this month when it was revealed that she would be the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit star to pose in the magazine while wearing a burkini.
‘[She] stands for feminine strength and power’: US Women’s National Team star Alex Morgan was the third woman featured on the front of the iconic publication as editor MJ Day praised her
Halima lived at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya before moving to the United States at the age of seven, and she couldn’t help but reflect on her amazing journey during her shoot.
‘I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,’ she told Sports Illustrated.
‘So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya — I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.’
And while Tyra is a seasoned expert when it comes to landing magazine covers, her fellow 2019 cover stars weren’t quite so used to the feeling, with Camille admitting on GMA that she was dumbfounded when she discovered that she had been put on the front of the magazine.
‘This is something that has left me shaking in my shoes and speechless like I’ve never been before,’ she said – while watching a clip of herself bursting into tears at seeing her cover for the first time.’
‘I was [just] excited to be a rookie,’ she added of her debut in the magazine, which she made only last year, making this cover shoot her second for the publication.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is on sale now.