The enigma of print publication has long since lost its luster in exchange for modern high-resolution digital photography. And, even including that small niche still carved out by the likes of Maxim and FHM that still have men clamoring to the magazine section of their corner pharmacy once a month, nothing compares to Sports Illustrated's annual unveiling of the "unofficial" most beautiful woman in the world.
Nothing ever will.
Sports Illustrated has carved out a special section for the male brain with their annual spread of beautiful faces and splendid bodies. Not even the highest definition laptop screen can outdo the justice that real men find when they rush to shelf to see who SI put on the cover each spring.
While some mark signs of spring to be flowers blooming and temperatures warming, a good number of men would proudly state it's actually SI's release of its perpetually hot Swimsuit Edition. It's also probably the only magazine of "its kind" that taken men can still get away with having around the house, or at least in the garage.
If you are an old diehard with a new girl, just tell her its part of your subscription so it's not your fault SI chooses to print the publication. Hey, there's still other good stories in there, right?
It is the last bastion of acceptable temptation for most men and it's still less embarrassing than asking for the Hustler or Juggs behind counter, hidden by some crappy cardboard with the words "Adult Only" on the front in Sharpie.
Spring is almost here and SI's swimsuit super models have already steamed up the Southern beaches. Here's a look at the 11 best candidates for this year's coveted cover shot.
At only 24-years-old, Hilary Rhoda has the presence of a veteran supermodel who flaunts it in all the right places. The famous natural beauty Estée Lauder model is American born and hails from Chevy Chase, MD.
Yes, that's right, a town named after Mr. National Lampoon himself.
Currently one of the biggest names in the modeling industry, Rhoda is just starting to come into her own with an unparalleled beauty and charm that captivates seekers of her elegance. A three-time SI Swimsuit Edition model (2009-2011), Rhoda has placed herself among the elite of the annual publication's finest women of the water.
Her career path has had her under the camera's spotlights for such companies as Elle, Max Mara, Gucci, Givenchy, the Gap and Victoria's Secret. An SI cover would be a great portfolio add to this stunning brunette's already hot career.
Popularly known as one of Victoria Secret's Angels from 2005 to 2008, Izabel Goulart has become one of the most popular supermodels in the world. In 2011, Goulart appeared in her first pictures of SI's Swimsuit Edition. Later that same year she was ranked No. 100 in FHM magazine's list of the 100 Sexiest Women In The World.
SI fans hoping to catch a glimpse of her beautiful smile on the cover of this year's Swimsuit Edition might argue that FHM has her foolishly listed far too low on the list. Goulart is hot and all the world will get another shot at a repeat performance that landed her in last year's issue, and could continue her exposure in the man-favored publication for years to come.
Goulart, one of many Brazilian beauties in the super model world, was actually discovered in a grocery store ad at 14-years-old. Early beginnings have paid long term returns to fans who have adored her beauty from afar for nearly 14 years, as she'll turn 28 in October.
Runway model extraordinaire Goulart is an A-list designer model and has worn the best from Bill Blass, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Jil Sander, Chanel, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney, among many others. Goulart has also modeled for H&M, Express, Neiman Marcus, Missoni and Dsquared.
An SI cover would only further add to Goulart's super model lore, something her fans would be more than proud to brag about.
Although Jessica Gomes may not hearken the stereotypical SI cover model, she definitely sports the beauty and knockout figure that is always a prerequisite to sit in the No. 1 spot for the annual Swimsuit Edition. Gnomes' exotic beauty comes from a cultural mix of Singaporean, Chinese and Portuguese descent, but it is all woman.
The native Australian model has found placement in SI's best of the best swimsuit models for the past four years, making the annual men's secret paradise edition every year since 2008.
The red-hot model has appeared in Vogue, Teen Vogue, Glamour, American Glamour, Italian GQ and the Victoria’s Secret catalogue. In addition she has also completed work for DKNY Jeans, Garnier, Levi’s, Motorola, Urban Outfitters, LG Electronics and Victoria's Secret commercials. Highly successful recording artist P. Diddy chose her as the Estée Lauder model to be the face of his fragrance, Unforgivable.
Gomes would be a breath of fresh air if chosen for his year's cover, not to mention a super-hot presentation of her fifth year in the hot-selling magazine. Regardless of which page she falls, plenty of men will long to see how SI portrays her earthy beauty again this year.
A two-time selection for SI's annual Swimsuit Edition, Genevieve Morton is a 26-year-old South African picture of exquisiteness. This buxom blonde draws attention in the all the right places for the discerning swimsuit model fan, and doesn't disappoint in the natural beauty category either.
She's been on stage with the likes of the Black Eyed Peas and once closed the New York Stock Exchange. Oh, she also hails from the same hometown as world famous actress Charlize Theron just outside of Johannesburg. Whatever they have in the water there, they should bottle it.
For fans that want a bit more of Morton's personal side check out Esquire's presentation of the hot supermodel, including revealing pics and candid discussion about her sleeping habits and preferred sleepwear, as well as what she prefers on top of her.
In the feature Morton innocently states, "and the sheets always end up at the bottom of the bed anyway. No one ever uses them, especially if you're using your bed... correctly."
One thing's for sure, Morton is about to turn a lot of men's heads flipping through the pages of this year's edition, cover or not.
Jessica White probably deserves to be higher on the list, but placement from this point forward is so minuscule in difference that it's hardly worth comparison at all. White has been a beautiful water lily for SI's most prominent issue a total of eight times, including her 2003 debut at the age of 18. Uh-huh!
Who could argue with the fact that she's probably earned her chance to be the one that every man looks at first. Her hundreds of breathtaking photos for SI include body painting pictorials with famous artist Joanne Gair. White is stunning sans suit and just as lovely with it.
Her modeling work, which started in Paris, includes Cover Girl, Chloe and the Gap, and she has worked closely with world renown designers Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta. White's most recent contract with Maybelline is a blockbuster deal that focuses on her deep, dark eyes and high cheek bones as they perfectly accentuate a face made to sell cosmetics.
White has also spread her lovely talented wings into other areas of the entertainment world. In 2006, White played a bit part in Big Momma's House 2 and also appeared in several music videos featuring artists Big & Rich, Jay-Z, John Legend, Robin Thicke and Trey Songz.
She has paved a blazing path for her peers and has set a high standard for the girls lucky enough to wear a two-piece (or less) for SI. Sports Illustrated fans might like to call her the 2012 Cover Queen and she'd be most deserving if she was.
A Brazilian model of German descent Cintia Dicker has already graced the SI Swimsuit Edition in 2009, 2010, and 2011, but she has yet to grace the cover with her red locks, beauty and pouty-lipped smile. Dicker's entrancing blue eyes meld well with the waters that surround Swimsuit Edition photography, something especially important to swimsuit beauty connoisseurs.
The 25-year-old beauty has modeled for Bebe, Land's End, Yves Saint Laurent, the Gap, and Victoria's Secret, just to name a few. Her mix of cute and innocent beauty with sultry undertones makes her a worthy candidate for the world's most sought after magazine cover.
Soccer star Alex Morgan will grace this year's Swimsuit Edition in the buck. Well, not exactly, but close enough to excite eager "football fans" to a sneak peak temptation.
Morgan will be sans bikini and instead will be sporting a geometric patterned body paint suit, so essentially, yes, she'll be nude, but tastefully of course. Morgan shared insight about her experience with SI.com, stating, "It was a completely new experience and definitely took some getting used to before I felt comfortable in body paint. I had to look in the mirror every five minutes to make sure I actually had a swimsuit on."
SI fans will be flipping to her page every five minutes to do the same as well.
Another one of SI's previous cover girls, Bar Refaeli definitely has what it takes to repeat as one of the hottest girls on the planet. Refaeli previously graced the cover of SI's 2009 Swimsuit Edition. Since then, Refaeli has become one of the most sought after commodities in the supermodel world.
The Israeli bombshell first hit it big way back in 1986 at the tender age of 8-months-old. Throughout her elementary years she did magazine ads and television commercials before taking a brief break, while braces corrected her teeth, and at age 15, she started toward the path to superstardom in earnest.
Refaeli has appeared in Elle, Maxim and GQ, and has posed for shots with the wildly popular rock band Aerosmith. Another slice of notoriety for Refaeli can be found in the friendly skies, as one of her photos from the 2009 cover shoot edition graces the length of many Southwest Airlines 737s.
Another opportunity to see her 35C-24-35 spread across SI's most prestigious annual Swimsuit Edition will undoubtedly have its biggest fans pleased for another 365 days.
Christine Teigen's figure, for intents and purposes, is an absolute perfect 10. I'll argue that with anyone. A natural beauty of Thai and Norwegian descent, Teigen may not grace this year's SI cover, but it would be hard to argue that she won't at some point. At only 21-years-old, the exotic temptress will be in the swimsuit game for a long time to come.
The small town girl has spread her big-time wings and ranks as one of the most sought after models in the industry. Her 2010 contribution to SI's Swimsuit Edition earned her Rookie of the Year honors for her first-time shoot for the sports magazine's most promiscuous publication.
Teigen's modeling credits include Billabong, Rock and Republic and Tyler Rose Swimwear. In July 2007 she appeared on the cover of Maxim's calendar. In 2009, Teigen earned a sexy spot with Victoria's Secret Pink fall lingerie and clothing line.
Another spoken-for beauty, Teigen is engaged to longtime love, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter John Legend. This will be Teigen's third entrance into one of the hottest races in the world—sexiest swimwear model in the world. Legend won't mind a bit if all the world's eyes are glued to his soon to be wife's stunning figure.
Why would he? After all, who wouldn't want to be married to the person who some would argue is the most beautiful woman in the world—the SI Swimsuit Edition cover girl. For Teigen it isn't a matter of if, but rather when. It'll be great sightseeing until then.
It hasn't been SI's habit to repeat their cover girls, but few would complain about seeing Irina Shayk's smokin' figure pushed out in their faces again, as it was on the cover of the 2011 edition. Shayk's lost no credibility in that department and could easily sport another cover if SI wanted to go back to their days of repeat performances like Christie Brinkley (1979-81), Elle Macpherson (1986-88, 1994 and 2006) and Kathy Ireland (1989, 1992 and 1994).
Born Irina Shaykhlislamova, Shayk's beauty has appeared in the SI Swimsuit Edition for the past five years and she will be looking again to make her mark in 2012. Always known for a sizzling toned body and a sweet innocent smile, Shayk was shot into the stratosphere of popularity following her 2011 cover spot.
Being the first Russian to ever grace SI's coveted Swimsuit Edition cover, she has also modeled for Cosmopolitan and Replay. Her other works include the Victoria's Secret catalog, Lacoste, Cesare Paciotti and her front spread appearances in Annabelle, Bolero, Woman, Jalouse, and Paris Capital.
Although there's something unique about a fresh face on each new edition's cover, a second go-around for Shayk would have copies flying off the shelf to see how SI outdid themselves again.
Just as hot in 2012 as she was in 2010 when she graced the cover of SI's highest sold publication of the year, Decker is an obvious contender to repeat. The model-turned-actress is one of the hottest female debutantes in the world. Few would be disappointed to see her clad in what could barely be called a bikini again this year.
Technically, a cover this year would be her third, as she was on the inset in 2009, the year before she made her big splash as SI's sole cover girl.
Decker went from posing for Sports Illustrated to Hollywood where she did her first flick, Just Go With It, in 2011. Never one to shy away from the camera by wearing nothing at all, Decker has posed with little more than a sheet, discreetly placed to leave little to the imagination in Esquire magazine. For her efforts she was named the publication's "Sexiest Woman Alive".
Decker, 24, has been a featured model in many publications including Cosmopolitan, FHM, Glamour and Teen Vogue. She has also modeled for the Gap, Intimissimi, and Victoria's Secret.
This beauty loves to entertain and her beauty has spotlighted the stage for many musical stars including Jimmy Buffett and 3 Doors Down. The blonde bombshell has also done her fair share on the small screen, guest starring on Chuck, Royal Pains and Ugly Betty.
Decker was also named one of the 100 Hottest Women of All Time by the leading authority on exercise and diet, Men's Health.
And good luck fellas, she's married to professional tennis super star Andy Roddick. However, just because you're on a diet doesn't mean you can't look at the menu. Decker is a five-star all the way.
In the recent past, voluptuous curves and girl-next-door cuteness have been the standard for SI's Swimsuit Edition cover models making Kate Upton a perfect fit for this year's most desired position of the many beautiful faces that will grace the 2012 edition. It is the cover that matters most and Upton fits the bill to a tee.
Upton's 33D-35-36, 5'11" frame is what men long for when they reach up to the shelf and grab their annual vice habit, yearning to see the wonderment that is SI's swimsuit cover model. Upton, a cold-waters Michigan native, has positioned herself to be the next big thing in a long history of successful cover girls.
Currently the face of Beach Bunny swimwear, she has also modeled for Dooney & Bourke, Victoria's Secret and was named the Guess face girl in 2010 and 2011. Upton will be looking for a huge jump as last year was her inaugural layout in SI's annual Swimsuit Edition. Her pics were so hot and beautiful they earned her Rookie of the Year honors.
It is highly anticipated that Upton is going to receive swimsuit modeling's highest honor by having her graces splashed across the cover of this year's SI Swimsuit Edition. Fans will not be disappointed if that's the case.
In 24 hours, we'll all know. Upton gets mine, who get's yours?