The 50th anniversary issue of the Sports Illustrated (S.I.) Swimsuit Edition debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday, with not only one, but three scantily-clad supermodels gracing the cover.
Catwalkers Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge and Chrissy Teigen all make their first cover appearances, instantly joining the ranks of iconic S.I. covergirls, like Kathy Ireland, Tyra Banks and Christie Brinkley. More recently, Irina Shayk, Kate Upton, Bar Rafaeli and Brooklyn Decker have seen their careers catapulted to new heights after an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s most popular annual issue.
The landmark 50th anniversary cover is a combination of tanned skin and aqua-blue water, captured on the exotic Cook Islands. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor MJ Day explained the unusual photograph choice:
“These [women] are three very different models who together represent all that Swimsuit has become and will continue to be: fresh, exciting, surprising and sexy.”
“Lily is a fashion industry star who is going to thrill an entirely new audience and she makes history by becoming the first rookie to grace our cover since Heidi Klum. Chrissy is glamorous, dynamic and a cultural phenomenon. And Nina is a bombshell. We knew she was going to be a star from the day we met her.”
Nina, Lily and Chrissy didn’t realized they’d made the coveted cover into the image was unveiled. The trio, however, couldn’t be more pleased with the news.
“This has been my goal. I couldn’t be happier to be on this year’s cover. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Victoria’s Secret Angel Lily said:
“I am so incredibly honored to be part of this issue. As my first time ever shooting with Sports Illustrated I never imagined I would be on the cover.”
Chrissy, who wed crooner John Legend last fall, shared similar sentiments:
“I am so thrilled and honored to not only be on the cover, but to be on the 50th Anniversary cover.”
The 50th Sports Illustrated Swimsuit goes live across the Web, mobile, tablet and newsstands Feb. 18.