Ever since it began back in 1964, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition has been the most successful issue the publication produces every year. Gracing the cover of the magazine has been one of modeling’s top prizes, and the competition to land that spot keeps getting more and more intense each year.
For a number of women, being on the cover has been a life changing experience. But for these five women in particular, being on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition would launch their careers.
For model Brooklyn Decker, landing the 2011 cover of S.I. has vaulted her career to superstar status. Her work with Victoria Secret was a huge help, but the television and movie offers began to pour in after she was featured in Sports Illustrated. Yes, she is indeed married to tennis star Andy Roddick.
There is no question that Beyoncé Knowles was a star before she made her 2007 appearance on the cover of S.I., but it helped her advance her career. Her cover gave the singer a chance to show a sexier side of her personality. It also brought her a larger group of 18 to 34 males who may not have been fans of her music before seeing the cover.
Super Model Cheryl Tiegs was the first Sports Illustrated cover girl to push the sexy side of the swimsuit. Her famous weave suit caused more than a few people to question if a sports magazine should be selling sex. She had three cover appearances in total: 1970, 1975 and 1983.
The S.I. cover opened a number of roles in television and movies that showed the "nice girl" Tiegs in a whole new light.
In 1998, the cover would go to German model Heidi Klum who, because of her work with S.I. and swimsuits, made a big career move. She was cast after her cover to become the main model for Victoria Secret. That relationship would turn to gold for both Klum and the Victoria Secret company.
Klum took her S.I. stardom to television as well as the movies. Now on Project Runway, Klum is both the host and executive producer.
In 1997, Tyra Banks had the distinction of being the first woman of color to grace the cover of the magazine. Banks' career as a model was established but her appearance on the cover of the swimsuit edition vaulted her to national attention. She remains a model for all the top fashion magazines as well as Victoria Secret.
She has since moved beyond just modeling to become the host of her own nationally syndicated talk show as well as the the star of America's Next Top Model. There is no doubt that her S.I cover launched Tyra into stardom.