After publicly retiring from modeling in 2005, Tyra returns as the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, more than two decades after her first SI cover, which launched her career. “My first one was 23 years ago, how crazy is that,” she said on Good Morning America where she revealed the news. “I’m like damn—I’m 45, dog!”
Talking about the cover, Tyra said, “There is this stereotype that only a 20-year-old woman in a bikini is hot. 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.”
SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day shares why Tyra is still the perfect cover model for their brand. “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,” says. “She’s kind of the Swimsuit Issue ethos come to life, everything we know this franchise can be.”
Tyra’s stint at SI is memorable for another reason. In 1997, she became the first Black woman to have a solo cover. Tyra shares that they actually tried to recreate her iconic polka dot bikini moment for this particular shoot. “We couldn’t find the exact one in the archives — it was the polka dot bikini so we recreated that bikini,” she said.