Smize on the Prize: Tyra Banks Is Back on Top With Sports Illustrated Comeback Cover

Illustration for article titled Smize on the Prize: Tyra Banks Is Back on Top With iSports Illustrated/i Comeback Cover
Graphic: G/O Media (Photo: Sports Illustrated)

Tyra Banks is back like she never left.

The first black woman to ever land a solo cover of Sports Illustrated’s iconic swimsuit issue came out of modeling retirement to unveil her 2019 cover on Wednesday. The High Priestess of Smizing, the Pope of “Kiss my ‘fat’ ass,” and One of the O.G. Capital S Supermodels, Banks posed in an itsy-bitsy yellow string bikini by Andi Bagus—a re-creation, she says, of her 1997 S.I. look.

“We couldn’t find the exact one in the archives—it was the polka dot bikini so we recreated that bikini,” the model and media mogul said on Good Morning America. “I recreated [the shoot]—25 pounds heavier.”

No one seems more thrilled about the shoot, photographed in Great Exuma, Bahamas, by Laretta Houston, than Banks herself, who noted it had been 23 years since her first solo SI cover.


“How crazy is that?” Banks gushed. “I’m like damn—I’m 45 dog!”

And finer than ever, it must be said.

In a recent Sports Illustrated Instagram video, Banks said she never dreamed about landing her first swimsuit issue cover “ because I never thought it was possible.”

“Almost like this—never thought it would be possible,” added the three-time SI covergirl. “I’m 45 years old, on the cover of this magazine again?”


If there’s one person who didn’t sound so shocked about the latest issue, that would be SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day, who said Banks is “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,” she added.

Swimsuit ethos, and make it Tyra.

Staff writer, The Root.

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Tyra had THE baddest body in S.I. nice to see her back on the throne.