Model Behavior: 12 SI Swimsuit Cover Locales You’ll Want to Visit, Too
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.
SI Swimsuit 2005: Kamalame Cay, Private Island Resort Bahamas
The ultra-exclusive private island of Kamalame Cay—a 15-minute helicopter ride from Nassau—was where this shot of Carolyn Murphy was snapped. Here, guests live out a Robinson Crusoe fantasy in private villas that may not have televisions, but make up for it with next-level amenities and services.
SI Swimsuit 2006: Coral Sands Hotel, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Harbour Island—one of the world’s most romantic islands—attracts visitors for its clear waters and pink-hued beaches. The Coral Sands Hotel, done up in British Colonial style by Barbara Hulanicki, was the perfect gathering spot for this all-star cover group of Veronica Varekova, Elle Macpherson, Rebecca Romijn, Rachel Hunter, Daviela Pestova, Elsa Benitez, Carolyn Murphy and Yamila Diaz-Rahi.
SI Swimsuit 2007: Miami, Florida
In this legendary cover, Beyoncé hit the beaches in eternal party city Miami for her shoot.
SI Swimsuit 2008: Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Caneel Bay, a luxe property and celebrity magnet on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, provided the backdrop for Marisa Miller’s 2008 cover. With seven beaches bordering 170 lush acres inside Virgin Islans National Park, the low-key-yet-luxury resort was built by Laurance Rockefeller and designer to preserve the natural pristine environment.
SI Swimsuit 2009: Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
For the 2009 edition, Bar Refaeli visited Canouan, a tiny island on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, that T+L named one of the Best Places to Travel in 2016.
SI Swimsuit 2010: Maldives
No surprise here that such a stunning shot of Brooklyn Decker happened in the Maldives—previously named one of T+L’s World’s Best Islands for its coral nurseries, underwater nightclubs, and feasts on floating pontoon boats.
SI Swimsuit 2011: Grand Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
SI Swimsuit 2012: North Narrabeen Beach, New South Wales, Australia
Kate Upton earned her first cover for SI Swimsuit in 2012 while shooting on North Narrabeen Beach, just north of Sydney, Australia.
SI Swimsuit 2013: Antarctica
The models in this issue were shot on all seven contents, but second-time cover model Kate Upton was lucky enough to make it to the far reaches of Antarctica, where she was photographed aboard the Le Boreal cruise ship.
SI Swimsuit 2014: Rarotonga, Cook Islands, New Zealand
For the issue’s 50th anniversary, Sports Illustrated took its models to some of the world’s most scenic spots. Here, Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, and Chrissy Teigen went to Rarotonga in New Zealand’s Cook Islands.
SI Swimsuit 2015: Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
The 2015 issue set models in classic American spots—Chanel Iman photographed in Monument Valley, Utah, known for providing the backdrop to famous Western movies—and cover model Hannah Davis was shot on Blackberry Farm, in Walland, Tennessee. The bucolic farmhouse hotel is known for its award-winning dining program.
SI Swimsuit 2016: The Bahamas; Turks & Caicos
In an unprecedented move for the franchise, SI Swimsuit produced three separate covers for this year’s issue, with Hailey Clauson, Ashley Graham, and Ronda Rousey each commanding their own image. Graham and Clauson were shot in Turks & Caicos at the legendary Grace Bay Club, a Mediterranean-style resort, while the Islands of the Bahamas set the scene for Ronda Rousey’s cover.