The annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue—now in its 52nd year—naturally draws eyeballs for its cast of famous models, actors, and even Olympic athletes. But beyond the sultry subjects and high-end swimwear, the other stars of this franchise are the destinations depicted in each issue.
SI Swimsuit is renowned for scouting locations just as steamy and exotic as the subjects in its pages, snapping iconic moments everywhere from private getaways to noted landmarks and some of the world’s most remote corners. This year, 2016 SI Swimsuit was produced entirely on islands around the world, including the Dominican Republic, Tahiti, Malta, and Zanzibar.
Chanel Iman, a third-time SI Swim model who went to Zanzibar this year—named one of T+L’s Best Places to Travel in 2016—said part of the allure of the job are the dreamscapes where it’s shot. “I love traveling, and SI is known for picking great locations for the issue,” she told T+L in an interview. “I've been so blessed to go to some great locations with them so far.”
Of course, perhaps the most buzzworthy part of each issue is its cover—an honor that has boosted careers for some of the biggest names in the industry. This year, in an unprecedented move, SI Swimsuit produced three individual covers, with models Hailey Clauson, Ashley Graham, and Ronda Rousey each commanding their own. “What defines beauty today? The truth is, times have changed and one size does not fit all,” SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day said of the decision. “Our position on beauty is well known—healthy, curvy, vivacious, and bold.”
To celebrate the new issue, on stands now, we took a look at the last several years of the swimsuit edition’s covers, paying homage to the locations in them. For a full gallery of SI Swimsuit covers, go here.