10 Best Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models

The 10 best “Sports Illustrated” (SI) swimsuit models span several decades, with different degrees of success and notoriety. Some of these models continue to be A-list celebrities even to this day, many with her own fashion line, TV show or other entrepreneurial endeavor. The years and issues listed below for each of the 10 best “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit models are provided by the official “Sports Illustrated” website and “swimsuit collection.”

  1. Christie Brinkley. Appearing on the 1979, 1980, 1981 “Swimsuit Edition” covers of “Sports Illustrated,” Christie Brinkley remains one of the most famous SI swimsuit models. She also appeared in the 2007 “When They Were Rockies” issue and the “All-Star Model Cover Reunion” in 2002. According to her Biography she has appeared on over 200 magazine covers.
  2. Molly Sims. She appeared in the “Swimsuit Edition” of SI for four consecutive years from 2001-2004, then again in 2006 and 2007. She became famous as an actress after landing a role on the NBC show “Las Vegas.” She is also known for appearing on the MTV “House of Style.”
  3. Rebecca Romijn. Then married to John Stamos, Rebecca Romijn appeared on the 1999 cover of the SI “Swimsuit Edition.” She appeared in the All-Star SI “Cover Model Beach Party” issue with seven other models.
  4. Elle Macpherson. She first appeared on the SI “Swimsuit Edition” cover in 1986, followed by 1987, 1988 and 1994. She appeared in the All-Star SI “Cover Model Beach Party” issue with seven other models. She also landed contracts with “Playboy” and “Victoria’s Secret.”
  5. Heidi Klum. The wife of musician Seal had fame in her own right long before their marriage, appearing on the SI “Swimsuit Edition” cover in 1998. She also appeared in a variety of other magazines, such as “Vogue,” “Elle” and “Marie Claire.” She helped to develop the TV show “Project Runway,” and appeared on numerous sitcoms.
  6. Kathy Ireland. Appearing on the 1989 and 1992 “Swimsuit Edition” cover, Kathy Ireland has become synonymous with models-turned-entrepreneur, with her clothing lines and many endorsements.  
  7. Rachel Hunter. She shared the 1994 “Swimsuit Edition” SI cover with Kathy Ireland and Elle Macpherson. She appeared in the All-Star SI “Cover Model Beach Party” issue with seven other models.
  8. Cindy Crawford. The statuesque, dark-haired beauty with her signature mole and shapely figure appeared in two separate “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit editions. Both in 2002 for the All-Star Model Cover Reunion and the When They Were Rockies issue in 2007. She hosted MTV’s “House of Style” and made countless TV special appearances, film cameos and commercials.
  9. Tyra Banks. Tyra Banks had the distinct honor of being the first African American woman to grace the cover of the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition” in 1996 with Valeria Mazza, then solo the following year in 1997. She is now legendary in the supermodel circuit, with her own TV shows, “America’s Next Top Model” and “The Tyra Show.” She appeared again in the SI in 1998, 2002 and 2007.
  10. Beyonce. The second African American woman to grace the cover of the SI “Swimsuit Edition,” appearing in 2007, the music phenomenon began her career as a performer with “Destiny’s Child” before launching an epic solo career. 
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