Tyra Banks Comes Out of Modeling Retirement for ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover

The 45-year-old previously made history in 1997 as the first black woman to earn a solo cover spot for the publication’s annual swimsuit edition.

Tyra Banks is once again a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl. The 45-year-old supermodel graces one of three covers for the 2019 edition of the annual issue. In her photo, shot by Laretta Houston in the Bahamas, Banks smizes in a tiny yellow string bikini from Andi Bagus.

“My first one was 23 years ago. How crazy is that?” the America’s Next Top Model creator said Wednesday morning during an appearance on Good Morning America, not long after her cover was revealed. “I’m like damn — I’m 45, dog!”

Banks made her S.I. Swimsuit debut in 1993. In 1996, she appeared on the cover for the first time alongside fellow model Valeria Mazza. Then, one year later in 1997, Banks made history as the first black woman to earn a solo cover spot.

Inside this year’s edition, Banks told GMA that she paid homage to the now-iconic two-piece she wore for the 1997 cover. “We couldn’t find the exact one in the archives — it was the polka-dot bikini so we re-created that bikini,” she said. “I re-created it — 25 pounds heavier.”

Banks isn’t the only one who can call herself an S.I. Swimsuit cover star this year. U.S. national women’s soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan and 2018 S.I. Swimsuit model search winner Camille Kostek also have their own skin-baring covers.

In a statement, S.I. Swimsuit editor MJ Day — who has helmed the magazine’s annual issue for seven years — explained why Banks, Morgan and Kostek were chosen. “The three women that make up the covers of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue represent the brand in the most powerful way possible. While each individual woman is so unique, they come together cohesively to tell a spectacular story,” Day said. “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. She’s kind of the Swimsuit issue ethos come to life, everything we know this franchise can be.

Added Day, “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.”

The theme for the 56th installment of the S.I. Swimsuit issue is “Shattering Perceptions.” Aptly, this year marks the first time the magazine has ever featured a hijab-wearing model: Somali American beauty Halima Aden, who rocks the traditional Muslim headpiece in her editorial, as well as an array of burkinis that offer full coverage.

See Banks’ S.I. Swimsuit cover below.

@tyrabanks, @camillekostek and @alexmorgan13 have landed the cover of #SISwim 2019! ✨ “The three women that make up the covers of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue represent the brand in the most powerful way possible,” @mj_day said. “While each individual woman is so unique, they come together cohesively to tell a spectacular story.”

A post shared by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on May 8, 2019 at 5:17am PDT

It was 1996 when Tyra Banks first graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, standing back to back with Valeria Mazza in leopard-print bikinis. However, it was the next year when Banks achieved another, more meaningful first: her first solo Swimsuit Issue cover — because it wasn’t just her first solo cover, it was the first solo cover for any black woman in the publication’s history. And now, over two decades later, Banks has come out of modeling retirement to achieve yet another SI accomplishment: She’s the oldest woman ever to be on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue.

Looking at Banks’s gorgeous cover photo, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t, “That’s a 45-year-old woman.” But after you take in her masterful smize, her glowing skin, and her curves in that tiny yellow bikini, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate her age — not because it’s unusual for someone in their mid-40s to look incredible (it’s not), but because it has taken such a long time for one of the most famous arbiters of sexiness to admit and celebrate that.

PRNewsfoto/Meredith Corporation

Part of what made this cover possible has been editor MJ Day’s incredible work to make the issue — shortened from Swimsuit to Swim this year — more inclusive. The last few years have seen more models of color, a wider array of body sizes, and issue veterans like Paulina Porizkova and Christie Brinkley coming back for spreads in their 50s and 60s. And that new undercurrent is one of the reasons Banks, who helped the magazine take one of its first and most important steps toward inclusivity in 1997, was a no-brainer for one of this year’s three covers, according to Day.

“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,” Day said in a Sports Illustrated post announcing the covers. “She’s kind of the Swimsuit Issue ethos come to life, everything we know this franchise can be.”

Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images

And Tyra herself is aware of just how important her second solo Swimsuit Issue cover is, posting it on Twitter and writing, “This is for everybody that has been told that they are not good enough because of their body, their age, their everything. #BanX is here to tell you that you ARE friggin’ fierce no matter what anybody says!”

You can find Banks’s cover — along with covers featuring soccer star Alex Morgan and model Camille Kostek — on newsstands now.

More major model moments:

  • Winnie Harlow Will Make History in Sports Illustrated 2019 Swimsuit Issue
  • 97-Year-Old Icon Iris Apfel Just Signed a Modeling Contract With IMG
  • Naomi Campbell Is the New Face of Nars

Now check out the secret life of a plus-size fit model:

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Step 1 : Introduction to the question “Which supermodel has been on the cover on the most Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues?”

For supermodels being on the cover of of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition is quite a celebrated highlight. What began as a short photo spread of women in bathing suits and has become a fashion issue for beachwear worn by the world’s top models. Elle Macpherson holds the record for most swimsuit issue covers, with five (1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, 2006), followed by Cheryl Tiegs (1970, 1975, 1983), Christie Brinkley (1979, 1980, 1981), Kathy Ireland (1989, 1992, 1994), Daniela Pestova (1995, 2000, 2006) and Kate Upton (2012, 2013, 2017).

Step 2 : Answer to the question “Which supermodel has been on the cover on the most Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues?”

Elle Macpherson:

For supermodels being on the cover of of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition is quite a celebrated highlight. What began as a short photo spread of women in bathing suits and has become a fashion issue for beachwear worn by the world’s top models. Elle Macpherson holds the record for most swimsuit issue covers, with five (1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, 2006), followed by Cheryl Tiegs (1970, 1975, 1983), Christie Brinkley (1979, 1980, 1981), Kathy Ireland (1989, 1992, 1994), Daniela Pestova (1995, 2000, 2006) and Kate Upton (2012, 2013, 2017).

Step 3 : Disclaimer & Terms of Use regarding the question “Which supermodel has been on the cover on the most Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues?”

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8. Sierra Skye

Sierra Skye is an American influencer and swimsuit model from Los Angeles, California. Aside from being a swimsuit model, she also serves major fitspo as she has a strictly regimented fitness routine scheduled around her disciplined diet.

226.3k likes – View Post on Instagram Feeling the vibe, ready for Project H ✨ @alexhawkers @hawkersco

In July 2019, Sierra Skye became one of Oh Polly’s micro bikini models. “She’s gold, baby”, read the caption of Oh Polly’s Instagram post, which featured Sierra in an itty bitty string bikini in opulent gold.

24.5k likes – View Post on Instagram She’s 𝐠 𝐨 𝐥 𝐝 baby ✭ 𝘚𝘖𝘓𝘐𝘋 𝘎𝘖𝘓𝘋 ✨✨✨ // @sierraaaskyee is a goddess in the ** 𝐒𝐓𝐑𝐈𝐍𝐆 ‘𝐄𝐌 𝐀𝐋𝐎𝐍𝐆 ** bikini. TELL US 👇 what’s your favourite metallic swim look so far? 👀⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ @demirosemawby x @ohpollyswim 𝐃𝐑𝐎𝐏 𝟐 is comin’ very very soon 💦 Turn on 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 to ensure you don’t miss it ⚡️⚡️

7. Gabby Epstein

Gabby Epstein is an Australian social media sensation and bikini model. The 25-year-old lifestyle and travel blogger is also a budding entrepreneur – she’s been quoted saying she plans on investing in property and launching a jewellery line in the future.

101k likes – View Post on Instagram hi hello happy to be here @revolve (pls support my repost lol)

The Aussie hottie is one of many many Instagram bikini models out there, but that doesn’t mean the blonde bombshell’s IG doesn’t sizzle! We love Gabby’s fun personality and effortless beauty, and so do her 2.3 million followers.

Gabby also took up biomedicine on a scholarship and plans on taking up psychology in university, as she doesn’t plan on being an ‘influencer’ forever. We love a girl with a plan!

84.2k likes – View Post on Instagram just bring me some fajitas and I’ll be the happiest lil bean…what’s your favourite Mexican food? 🇲🇽 @revolve

6. Emily Ratajkowski

Model and actress Emily Ratajkowski caught everyone’s attention with her sexy performance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines in 2013. Since then, she’s just gotten bigger and bigger and has become one of the hottest Instagram bikini models today – she’s got 10.5 million followers on IG!

1.8m likes – View Post on Instagram Bye 2018

In 2014 and 2015, she was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue – a coveted spot for aspiring bikini and micro bikini models! She’s also walked in shows for Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Versace, and Dolce & Gabanna, among others.

Emily also has her own clothing and swimwear line, Inamorata, which she often models on her IG.

742.4k likes – View Post on Instagram 💪

5. Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham is one of the most – if not the most – popular plus-size bikini models today. She’s appeared on the cover of fashion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Elle, and Vogue, and appeared on various international T.V. shows as a spokesperson for body positivity and plus-size models.

361.7k likes – View Post on Instagram The thigh brow never when went outta style – new #swimsuitsforall campaign coming soon!💥👙💥

She’s also served as a backstage host for Miss USA and Miss Universe from 2016 to 2018, and in 2016, Ashley made history by becoming the first size 16 model to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

315.4k likes – View Post on Instagram BIG NEWS if you 🖤 the #ashleygrahamxswimsuitsforall Leader Bikini, just 👏🏽you 👏🏽wait 👏🏽. All new Essentials Collection launches 2019! Link in bio.

4. Robyn Lawley

Though most Australian bikini models are sun-kissed, blonde, and thin, Robyn Lawley defies conventions as one of the most well-known Aussie plus-size bikini models. The brunette babe is a towering 6 foot 4, size 14 model who has appeared on the cover of magazines like French Elle, Marie Claire Australia, and Cosmopolitan, as well as in campaigns for the plus-size lines of H&M and Mango.

2,525 likes – View Post on Instagram Thinking of ways to make these awesome swimsuits eco friendly….#hempfabric #recycledplastic #ecofashion #robynlawleyswimwear #miamiswimweek you can buy the last ones of this suit in olive via @bikinidotcom

You could say that Robyn Lawley walked so that Ashley Graham could run. Only a few plus-size bikini models were on editors’ radars before she was featured in the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but after that, we saw a sudden surge of plus-sized gals in the spotlight. Now that’s what we call an influencer!

3,043 likes – View Post on Instagram Loved this beautiful location, I thought that was lavender behind me turns out it’s, Pride of Madeira -Echium Species-#tb to some of of the best bras around….photographed by @gregkadelstudios

3. Chanel Iman

Chanel Iman is an American model of African American and Korean descent who has been active since 2002. Her most notable work includes her years as a Victoria’s Secret model (she became an Angel in 2010 and walked several runway shows since then) and her appearances in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issues.

Chanel has also been in editorials for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, i-D, Vogue, and Allure, as well as the covers of Teen Vogue, American and British Elle, American Vogue, and American and French L’Officiel.

44.3k likes – View Post on Instagram Ready for the beach 🐚

2. Irina Shayk

Irina Shayk is just one of the best bikini models in the world, she’s also arguably one of the hottest girls in the world. The Russian doll comes in second behind Jessica Gomes in the competition of who has been in the most Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues (Irina has been in 7 consecutive issues), but she does have a slew of other projects to boast.

525.2k likes – View Post on Instagram When women come together, and empower each other.. magic happens❤️💪🏼 Sisterhood and synergy on the cover of @voguespain with my sister @adrianalima 💋 Thank u to my amazing friends @luigiandiango for capturing and empowering us that day❤️ @juancebrian @georgisandev @luigimurenu #VogueAgosto

Just recently she made the cover of Vogue Spain with Adriana Lima. She’s also been on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar US, Vogue Hong Kong, and Vogue Brazil, and has done campaigns for Burberry, Versace, and Moschino, among many others.

232.8k likes – View Post on Instagram @eveningstandardmagazine @ellenvonunwerth 💚💦

1. Jessica Gomes

Jessica is one of the best bikini models from Australia. The half-Portuguese, half-Chinese Sydney-born model was primarily a swimsuit model around 2000 to 2013. She has appeared in Vogue, Victoria’s Secret campaigns and shows, and in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue for eight consecutive years between 2008 and 2015.

3,704 likes – View Post on Instagram MIAMI SWIM WEEK 🦄

She’s currently signed with IMG Australia. The model is yet another budding entrepreneur, having launched her own skincare brand called Equal Beauty.

9,629 likes – View Post on Instagram 📸 @josie_clough


As summer approaches, there are tons of hot bikini models you can follow online for inspo or beach chic pegs. Get a head start by following these eight gorgeous girls!

RELATED: Sizzle In The Summer Heat With These Sexy Swimsuits

Striking Swimsuit Models: All men all around the globe remain to learn who are the hottest bikini models so far or current year, so many of those are a regular visitor of many websites who revealed ranking for this subject.

Summer is believed an enjoyable season in terms of lay down and sit in the rays of the sun and watching hot girls wearing super sexy swimwear at the seaside or on beaches.

An American magazine Sports Illustrated contains the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is published every year or annually featuring women fashion models donning up swimwear in exotic locales. It also features cover photograph holds one that is considered truly striking, stunning carrying curvaceous body as bikini Models.

The magazine Sports Illustrated is the style guru of supermodel succession, every year brings sexiest models for its Swimsuit issue. Here we are going to unveil those beauties who remain the top choice for the journal to grace it.

Here is the list of Top Ten Hottest Swimsuit Models for Sports Illustrated:

10. Elle Macpherson

Eleanor Nancy Macpherson is an Australian businesswoman, model, television host, and actress was born on 29 March 1964 in Killara, New South Wales, Australia. She started modeling by working in the television commercial for “Tab” and achieved an offer for work with major magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and others.

She has also worked in films including Alice, Sirens, Batman & Robin, and A Girl Thing. Eleanor has bagged a number of awards as Everywoman Ambassador Award, Femmy Awards, World Career Award and others.

In 1986, she tied the knot Gilles Bensimon but their relationship couldn’t travel for a long time as they divorced in 1989. In 2013, Macpherson married Jeffrey Soffer, but they also separated in 2017.

Also Read: 25 Greatest British Actors Rule The Big Screens Globally

9. Esti Ginzburg

Esther Daphna “Esti” Ginzburg-Keizman was born on 6 March 1990 in Tel Aviv, Israel is an Israeli fashion model. She began modeling at the age of 8 with a milk advertisement and signed by “Elite Models” modeling agency at the age of 14.

Ginzburg has also worked with international brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Pull & Bear, FCUK and others. She has stunning curves in her toned body, hence is among bikini Models / Swimsuit Models too, as well as is considered in one of the highest-paid models in the Israeli.

Ginzburg married on 8 June 2012 with Adi Keizman who is an Israeli real estate investor. In February 2015 they had welcomed a son Refael Yehonatan.

Also Read: Top Ten Most Beautiful Chinese Women 2018

8. Cindy Crawford

Cynthia Ann Crawford was born in DeKalb, Illinois, U.S.A on 20 February 1966, is an American model and actress. She is one of the swimsuit models for Sports Illustrated tabloid, was discovered by Michael J. Fox for a film The Secret of My Success, after three years she offered for modeling in Vogue magazine.

Crawford has also worked with many magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, People, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and others. She is one of the sexiest and hottest models in the world, has also worked in big-screen ventures Awwal Number, Unzipped and others.

In 1991, Cindy married Richard Gere but they divorced in 1995, after three years she exchanged wedding rings with Rande Gerber (1998), they have two children.

7. Petra Nemcova

Petra Němcová is a Czech model, television host, was born on 24 June 1979 in Karviná, Czechoslovakia and now the Czech Republic. She is one of the great philanthropists globally, founded the Happy Hearts Fund in 2005, for their charity work she awarded with “Survivor Award”.

One of the agents for NEXT Model Management founded her on the streets of Prague, went Milan, Italy, although after receiving the 1995 Czech Elite Model Look decided to stay in Milan where Němcová flourished her career.

She believes one of the best Swimsuit Models globally, has great experience of modeling as has worked with many magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, Madame Figaro, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire.

Also Read: Top Ten Most Beautiful Japanese Women 2018

6. Bar Refaeli

Bar Refaeli was born on 4 June 1985 in Hod Hasharon, Israel, is an Israeli supermodel, actress, television host, and businesswoman. At the age of 8-month, she stepped in modeling by appearing in the commercial, the biggest problem in her modeling career was Orthodonture but at 15, recovered his ailment completely.

Refaeli is also part of hottest bikini models all the time, has graced magazines are Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Vogue, L’Officiel and others. In 2003, Refaeli tied the knot with Arik Weinstein but in 2005 they divorced.

In 2015, the world’s one of the prettiest women married Adi Ezra, and both have welcomed two children.

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5. Kim Cloutier

Kim Cloutier is Canadian underwear and the fashion model was born on 25 March 1987 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She is better known for various sexy swimsuits like other Swimsuit Models for lingerie and cosmetics campaigns have also come out as one of the sexiest bikini models in the world.

She first appeared on the cover of Canadian online fashion magazine Flare, has also worked with many modeling agencies like Next Models Canada, Ford Models, Mega in Germany and others.

Cloutier has also been seen in Sirene (Denmark), Elle Accessories (Canada), Glow Magazine (Canada) as well as in commercials for Soma Intimates as of 2010.

Also Read: Top Ten Sexiest Models in the World 2018

4. Marisa Miller

Miller has been working with photographer Mario Testino who discovered her and also introduced her with fashion magazines like Vogue, though stepped in modeling properly and earned impressive popularity by working with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and Victoria’s Secret.

Marisa Lee Miller was born on 6 August 1978 in Santa Cruz, California, United States. She has been working for both brands that made her recognition in 2002, while emerged as a Victoria’s Secret Angel in 2007 and the cover of the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to record-setting numbers.

Miller is also one of the sexiest swimsuit models all around the world. She was titled “return of the great American supermodel,” for her best accomplishments.

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3. Emily Ratajkowski

Emily O’Hara Ratajkowski has tagged her name among the world’s one of the sexiest models, was born on born on June 7, 1991, in Westminster, London, England. She known as Emily Ratajkowski is an American model and actress.

She has come out as one of the perfect bikini Models worldwide, earned incredible fame after coming into view topless in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” in 2013, was listed as the number one song of the year in numerous countries.

Ratajkowski then graced the cover of the erotic magazine Treats! For its March 2012 issue, and then emerged in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues of 2014 and 2015.

Also Read: Top 10 Sexiest Women Alive 2017

2. Kate Upton

Katherine Elizabeth Upton is an American model and actress, was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, the United States on June 10, 1992, to mother Shelley, a former Texas state tennis champion, and father Jeff Upton, a high school athletics director.

In 2011, she has titled the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Rookie of the Year and later emerged as the cover model for 2012, 2013 and 2017 issues. She has also worked in films like Tower Heist in 2011, The Other Woman in 2014 and The Layover in 2017.

She is the wife of baseball player Justin Verlander. Upton is considered one of the best Swimsuit Models all the time, has also been subjected to the 100th-anniversary Vanity Fair cover.

Also Read: Top Ten Most Beautiful Japanese Models That Own Peak Attraction, Sexiness

1. Brooklyn Decker

Brooklyn Danielle Decker Roddick was born on 12 April 1987 in Kettering, Ohio, United States, is an American model and actress. She first appeared in Teen Vogue magazine, the attained offers for other magazines including Cosmopolitan, FHM, Glamour, and others.

She is considered one of the best bikini models all the time, has also worked in big screens projects including The Devil Wears Prada, Lovesong, Band-Aid, and Support the Girls. On April 17, 2009, Brooklyn married Andy Roddick, who was the former professional tennis player, the couple has 2 children.

Here is a list of models who have appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, including SI girls who have been featured on the cover. Since 1964, Sports Illustrated has collected pictures of the world’s hottest women in its annual “Swimsuit Edition,” including not only the most popular and beautiful models but also celebrities and athletes, all dressed in swimsuits. Though the bikini was first invented in the 1940s, it has often been suggested that the Sports Illustration Swimsuit Edition was really responsible for popularizing the now-mainstream style of swimwear.

Sports Illustrated editor Andre Laguerre first developed the swimsuit edition to fill the winter months that are traditionally slow in the world of sports. After the Super Bowl, in the midst of the NBA season but before baseball season begins ramping up, the Swimsuit Issue gave the magazine something eagerly anticipated to publish, that would feature a gorgeous woman on the cover.

Among the celebrity models who have appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated are Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Rebecca Romijn, Rachel Hunter, Heidi Klum, Marisa Miller and Tyra Banks. The only woman who was not a professional model to appear on the cover was Beyonce Knowles in 2007 (who notably had a line of bikinis to promote at the time.) In 2012, Kate Upton was selected as the Sports Illustrated Cover Girl for the first time.

This is a list of every woman who has appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Vote up the top images of your favorite female supermodels.

Check out all your favorites from the SI swim vault!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

Is there anything more iconic than a swimsuit model? Between one campaign and another, bikini models have inevitably changed the world with their empowering accents and sensual poses, shaping a society that sees women wearing whatever they feel like.

There’s no surprise many girls dream of a swimsuit modeling career, yet probably very few are aware of how hard it actually is to become one. Working as a bikini model takes a lot of effort, not to mention the fact that one must have a little bit of talent for posing properly and naturally in front of the camera.

Before jumping to the list of the 45 best bikini models of all time, let’s have a look at what it takes to start a career as a swimsuit model!

Best Swimsuit/ Bikini Models of All Time: Contents

  • How to Become a Swimsuit Model
  • 45 Best Swimsuit/ Bikini Models

How to Become a Swimsuit Model

The first thing you should do to start working as a swimsuit model is asking yourself why you want to become one. Is it just for the fame? Or is it for boosting your self-confidence and learning as much as you can from an extremely interesting field of the fashion industry?

While the former might be a not that strong reason behind your dream to begin such a stressful and difficult career (fame comes and goes), the latter is definitely stronger and more motivating in the long term.

Being a bikini model requires perseverance and passion, so make sure these two feelings are there when starting to look out for photographers specialized in swimsuit modeling.

In order to become a bikini model, you’ll need the best portfolio you could think of, and cute Instagram photos are definitely not enough (though they may give a little help).

The second important step is to take a few modeling classes. Although it is not mandatory, many underestimate the power of a good pose, especially if one has never been captured by a professional photographer before.

Once you have your portfolio, it is time to look for modeling agencies that might represent you. Make a list and cross-check every single agency on the Internet to avoid scams. Search for opinions and feedbacks; your future self will thank you.

While doing all those things, remember to always eat healthy! Although bikini models don’t need to be necessarily skinny, they do need to look as healthy as they can, as capturing a bikini or a swimwear piece means the model’s skin, hair, and body parts are going to be included in the shot. Whether you are a plus-size bikini model or not, looking healthy and toned is mandatory, and this, of course, also involves fitness and exercising on a regular basis.

Last but not least, never underestimate your level of “shyness”! Beachgoers often stare at the models whenever there is a photo shoot going on, which means that besides the photographer and the photographer’s crew, you will have tons of people staring at you. Make sure you are ok with that!

How to know if you ultimately made it as a bikini model? Well, aside from being featured in various magazines and ad campaigns, two are the main things to cross off, namely the Victoria’s Secret Swimsuit catalog, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.

While being part of the former usually means that you will soon enter the Hall of Fame of the iconic VS model squad, the latter will actually give you the key of the Modeling Hall of Fame, as only 25 bikini models per year land the pages of the highly anticipated Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

45 Best Swimsuit/ Bikini Models

Becoming a bikini model is not that easy, but it’s so inspiring to check out who the best bikini models of the industry are/ have been. These are the swimsuit models that have made it big, and will hardly go forgotten any time soon!

1. Elle Macpherson

Starting off our list of the best bikini models with legend Elle Macpherson was mandatory. Nicknamed “the Body” because she literally had the perfect bikini model body, Elle Macpherson will always hold the icon status of the world’s best bikini models of all time, with the future swimsuit models looking up to her for the best source of inspiration.

2. Adriana Lima

Predictably, this list includes a lot of Brazilian models. One of the most renowned is Adriana Lima, who also happens to be one of the most acclaimed Victoria Secret’s Angels. Both a legendary bikini and lingerie model, Adriana Lima is already in the Hall of Fame of the best supermodels of all time.

3. Marisa Miller

From one gorgeous bikini and lingerie model to another! For surfer Marisa Miller, becoming a lingerie model was naturally easy, and she now loves spending time both in and nearby the water, whether it is a photo shoot or her surfboard.

4. Brooklyn Decker

Actress-to-be, Brooklyn Decker hit the spotlight with the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition’s cover, where she wore one of the sexiest yellow bikinis ever designed. We don’t know if she will keep on posing as a bikini model in the years to come, but she won’t surely go forgotten as such.

5. Rebecca Romijn

Here we are with another bikini model turned actress. Before becoming Mystique for the X-Men, Romijn worked as one of the world’s most requested swimsuit models, a career that probably helped her become self-confident in front of the cameras.

6. Rachel Hunter

Is Rachel Hunter the Dorian Gray of the fashion industry? Given the fact that she hasn’t changed a bit from her first cover as a bikini model, we bet the answer is affirmative!

7. Niki Taylor

Blonde bombshell Niki Taylor hit the spotlight at 15, when she was discovered, and instantly landed on the front cover of Vogue. She then soon became a renowned bikini model, making it to Sports Illustrated twice.

8. Robyn Lawley

Like the most iconic lingerie models of all time, bikini models can also be (and we are glad actually are) plus-size. Although only (and unfortunately) a few plus-size bikini models make it to magazine covers, some of them hit it big becoming internationally famous. Robyn Lawley, a.k.a. the first plus-size bikini model to appear in the Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is one of them.

9. Paulina Porizkova

No words can describe how impactful Paulina Porizkova’s work has been for the fashion industry. She was on almost every Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s cover from 1983 to 2004, also working as a brand ambassador for brands such as Estée Lauder and Coca-Cola. As if being one of the world’s most legendary swimsuit models wasn’t enough, she even acted as a judge at TV contest America’s Next Top Model.

10. Stephanie Seymour

Glamorous at heart and rock at soul, Stephanie Seymour is one of the most famous swimsuit models of the Nineties, and those who love hard rock-related gossip probably remember her love story with Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose.

11. Gisele Bündchen

One of the world’s highest paid supermodels of all time, Brazilian beauty Gisele Bündchen also worked as a swimsuit model, helping many brands reach their now iconic status.

12. Naomi Campbell

Still one of the industry’s most in-demand models, Naomi Campbell is often recalled for her work as a runway top model, although her career was definitely more diverse. She covered many Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, raising the bar higher for anyone who dreams of a future bikini model career.

13. Cheryl Tiegs

One of the decades that contributed to starting the whole bikini model craze the most was the Seventies, the absolute queen of which was Cheryl Tiegs. Will we ever forget her jaw-dropping poses? Probably not!

14. Heidi Klum

Like Campbell, Heidi Klum is hardly remembered for her amazing work as a bikini model. The German top model, however, did score some Sports Illustrated covers a few times, which fueled the rumors considering her Elle Macpherson’s official rival.

15. Alessandra Ambrosio

Swimwear model and designer, Alessandra Ambrosio is slowly turning her career from a swimsuit wearer to a designer. Given the fact that she will always be one of the best Victoria’s Secret Angels of all time, we couldn’t be happier and trust her skills more.

16. Kate Upton

Relatively new in the swimsuit modeling sphere, Kate Upton has already left a huge mark on the industry ever since fronting the Sports Illustrated 2013 Issue, with her career being relentlessly promising.

17. Anne Sergeyevna Vyalitsyna

Bikini model Anne Vyalitsyna is definitely a role model for whoever dreams of becoming a high-end swimwear model. She has appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for ten years in a row from 2005 to 2015, and is now busy working as a runway model for top names like Chanel and Prada.

18. Christie Brinkley

“Uptown Girl” Christie Brinkley burst onto the scene in the Eighties, becoming an absolute icon within a few years. Scoring a few Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covers later, she still is one of the world’s best swimwear models of all time.

19. Bar Refaeli

Often regarded as the first Israeli model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Bar Refaeli has also worked as a bikini model for various other magazines, such as Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, GQ, and Esquire, and we bet she won’t retire from the industry soon.

20. Tyra Banks

Of course, we had to include ANTM queen Tyra Banks in this list! Besides being an internationally famous runway supermodel, Tyra Banks was often hired as a swimsuit model as well, and even reached the bikini models’ highest goal by posing for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1996 and 1997.

21. Judit Masco

Ever since appearing in the Sports Illustrated 1990 Swimsuit Issue, Barcelona-born Masco has never stopped being considered a living legend. Thanks to her swimwear modeling career, she even received the Elle Woman of the Year Award in 2003.

22. Molly Sims

Sims followed a similar path too, hitting it big in various TV programs as soon as she decided to end her swimsuit modeling career. She is nonetheless one of the world’s most unforgettable bikini models of all time.

23. Nina Agdal

Fresh-faced Nina Agdal is the bikini model of the moment, as she started her career not that while ago. She made her first appearance as a swimsuit model in 2012, and has never stopped making it big ever since.

24. Petra Nemcova

Featured in various high-end fashion campaigns such as Bulgari’s, Czech model Petra Nemcova became an it-girl in the Nineties as soon as she focused on advertising swimwear. She even got captured by iconic photographer Walter Iooss back in 2003, for what could be regarded as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s most memorable issue.

25. Daniela Pestova

Self-proclaimed “bread addicted” Pestova has always maintained a relatively low public profile, while working hard and creating a success career as a swimsuit model. No doubt, she is the living proof one can have an astounding modeling career while not giving up carbs.

26. Laetitia Casta

French beauty Laetitia Casta did so many things in the industry during the Nineties, it is impossible to keep track of them all. One of her many talents was modeling bikinis in front of the camera, the pictures of which are still some of the most iconic ever made.

27. Carolyn Murphy

Panama-born Carolyn Murphy was discovered at a young age, due to her jaw-dropping beauty and innate modeling talent. She quickly became a renowned swimsuit model in the early ‘00s, the incomes of which were vastly destined for her college studies!

28. Jessica Gomes

Australia-born and of both Portuguese and Chinese descents, Jessica Gomes worked as a swimsuit model mostly from the early ‘00s up to 2013, appearing both in Vogue and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

29. Ana Beatriz Barros

Discovered at the age of 13 by a representative from Elite Model Management, Barros has appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition seven times, namely from 2002 to 2007. She then headed to Victoria’s Secret, the performances of which are still vivid in everyone’s hearts.

30. Cindy Crawford

Still (and probably forever) considered a sex symbol in numerous countries, Crawford gained fame in the 1980s and 1990s, walking some of the industry’s most prestigious runway shows. Although mainly her supermodel career is the one many remember the most, Crawford’s swimsuit modeling works are not something one should soft-pedal, as her swimwear photos got captured by some of the world’s best photographers.

31. Veronica Varekova

Inspired to become a bikini model after someone in a restaurant told her she should try it out, Varekova was a Sports Illustrated cover girl habitué from 1999-2002, even though she had never imagined becoming that famous.

32. Irina Shayk

Russian stunner Irina Shayk is the first Russian to ever grace the cover of the Late Show magazine, but her success even includes being in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for a total of 7 years in a row, from 2007 to 2014.

33. Eva Herzigova

Supermodel Eva Herzigova was one of the dominant faces of the modeling industry in the 1990s, as she worked both as a runway and bikini model. Often dubbed as the modern Marilyn Monroe, she has also starred in several movies.

34. Bridget Hall

Among all the swimsuit models, Bridget Hall is the one that started her career the soonest, as she was discovered at the age of 10. She instantly started working as a successful bikini model as soon as she was older enough to pose in a bikini, and is still making it big the industry.

35. Candice Swanepoel

South African Swanepoel gained famed around in 2010, when Victoria’s Secret tapped her for its Fashion Show. Both a renowned lingerie and bikini model, Swanepoel got even named #1 on Maxim’s Hot 100 list.

36. Daniella Sarahyba

You know good genes run through a family when both the mother and the daughter become highly successful swimsuit models. That is what happened within the Sarahyba family, where both the mother and the daughter became successful models. Daughter Daniella is one of the many Brazilian swimsuit models that made it to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and is now under contract with the internationally renowned modeling agency IMG.

37. Kathy Ireland

Appearing in 12 different Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues is a hard job, but Kathy Ireland knew how to do it! Now retired as a bikini model, Kathy Ireland works as the CEO of her own company “Kathy Ireland Worldwide.”

38. Josephine Skriver

Once you make it to the Victoria’s Secret Swimwear catalog, you know the world will starts looking at you differently. That’s what happened to Danish stunner Skriver, who is now considered one of the world’s best swimsuit models ever.

39. Gigi Hadid

Like Swanepoel, Hadid is a relatively fresh face in the world of swimsuit modeling, but we bet she will reach the icon status, as she becomes the star of the upcoming Victoria’s Secret Swimwear catalogs.

40. Carol Alt

Ever since the Eighties, whoever wanted to make it big as a bikini model had big shoes to fill, namely Carol Alt’s. Carlol Alt literally ruled the Eighties with her sexy poses and toned body, which looked flawlessly stunning in all of her Eighties-, Baywatch-style-inspired swimsuits.

41. Emily Ratajkowski

Model and actress Emily Ratajkowski might be one of the shortest models in the fashion industry, but she’s definitely also one of the most successful and hottest swimsuit models. Her appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” in 2013 is what made her internationally famous, and was also featured in the 2014 and 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues.

42. Sara Sampaio

Portuguese beauty Sara Sampaio is not only one of the fresh-faced swimsuit models making it big now, but she even won Rookie of the Year, when she first appeared in the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She is also a rising Victoria’s Secret Angel, and has so far modeled swimwear for Italian label Calzedonia as well.

43. Emily DiDonato

Emily DiDonato’s natural beauty stuns and tells a lot about her Italian, Irish, and Native American ancestry. She was discovered when she was just 10, and later it was in 2013 when she made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debut. Her natural, wild beauty is perfectly complemented by her toned body, which has modeled Victoria’s Secret pieces as well.

44. Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen made her modeling debut exactly as a bikini model, when she landed the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and later covered it in 2014. She is now represented by world-famous IMG Models, while also co-hosts Lip Sync Battle on Spike TV.

45. Isabeli Fontana

Another Brazilian bombshell, Isabeli Fontana was discovered at 13, and at the age of 16 appeared in the Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalogue that actually caused controversy for the brand had casted a model younger than 18. She was later on signed by luxury brands Valentino, Versace, and Ralph Lauren, and was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1999.

Photos via Instagram

Which supermodel has been on the cover on the most sports illustrated swimsuit issues?

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