The annual issue has helped numerous women elevate their careers beyond modeling as well, and for a lot of SI Swimsuit stars, modeling isn’t even their day job! From acting careers to all-out moguls, see the most recognizable classic SI Swimsuit cover models then and now.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Models Then and Now
Ronda Rousey: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 Cover Model
MMA superstar and actress Ronda Rousey was one of three 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover models, joining Ashley Graham and Hailey Clauson.
Ronda Rousey Today
These days, Rousey is a mom! She and her husband Travis Browne welcomed their first child, La’akea Makalapuaokalanipo Browne, in 2021. She also voiced another kick-ass female: Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11.
Kate Upton: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2012
Kate Upton covered Sports Illustrated Swimsuit for the first time in 2012 after being named Rookie of the Year in 2011, when she made her debut. She covered the 2013 issue and did a “zero gravity” shoot for 2014. She returned as the SI Swimsuit cover model in 2017.
Kate Upton Now
These days, Upton is a fitness buff. She’s also dabbled in acting, including roles in The Layover, The Other Woman and The Disaster Artist. She and her husband Justin Verlander, a pitcher of the Houston Astros, welcomed a daughter named Genevieve in November 2018.
Brooklyn Decker: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2010
Brooklyn Decker modeled for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover in 2010, as well as for Victoria’s Secret.
Brooklyn Decker Now
Decker leveraged her modeling success into a lucrative acting career, with roles in Ugly Betty, New Girl and Friends With Better Lives, as well as movies including Battleship, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Just Go With It. Decker, mom of a son and daughter with husband Andy Roddick, most recently starred in Grace & Frankie as the daughter of Jane Fonda‘s title character Grace.
Bar Refaeli: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2009
Bar Refaeli Now
Refaeli and DiCaprio split in 2011 after several years of on-again-off-again romance. She went into acting in European and Israeli productions and married Israeli businessman Adi Ezra in 2015. They share two daughters and a son.
In 2019, Refaeli came into legal trouble for alleged tax evasion.
Tyra Banks: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1997
Tyra Banks made history as the first Black solo cover model for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in 1997.
Tyra Banks Now
Banks has made bank. Leveraging her success as one of the most famous supermodels of all time, Banks had her own daytime talk show (Tyra), created America’s Next Top Model and has been a host (and often producer) of numerous shows, including Dancing With the Stars and America’s Got Talent.
Kathy Ireland, Rachel Hunter and Elle Macpherson: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1994
Kathy Ireland Now
Ireland has become a mogul since her modeling days. Thanks to the success of her kathy ireland Worldwide (kiWW) brand, she’s spawned retail sales of everything from clothing to furniture of more than $3.2 billion.
Rachel Hunter Now
Hunter has acted consistently since her modeling days, with roles in everything from The Drew Carey Show to indies, judged New Zealand’s Got Talent and even hosted her own show called Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty. She also famously starred in the iconic music video for “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne.
Elle Macpherson Now
Macpherson used her brain to market her nickname of “The Body.” The Aussie stunner has her own lingerie line and served as a judge on Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. She also executive produced and hosted Fashion Star on NBC.
Paulina Porizkova: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1984
Paulina Porizkova covered SI Swimsuit in 1984 and 1985.
Paulina Porizkova: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1985
Paulina Porizkova Now
Since her cover days, Porizkova has judged cycles of America’s Next Top Model and dabbled in acting since her supermodel heyday, and she still strikes poses, modeling for brands including Laura Geller and fighting ageism in the industry. Following the death of her longtime (though estranged) husband, The Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, Porizkova has been a near-constant (and often nude) Instagram presence. She appeared in the reality series Beyond the Edge in spring 2022.
Christie Brinkley: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1979
Christie Brinkley covered SI Swimsuit three times, beginning in 1979.
Christie Brinkley: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1980
Christie Brinkley: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1981
Christie Brinkley Now
She now frequently models alongside her daughter, Sailor. She has continued acting, often reprising and poking fun at her National Lampoon’s Vacation role; she’s also appeared in The Goldbergs and Parks and Recreation. Brinkley took her talents to the stage as Roxie Hart in several productions of Chicago.
Brinkley, along with Chuck Norris, endorses Total Gym fitness equipment. She’s also the face of her own skincare and eyewear lines and has her own brand of Prosecco.
Cheryl Tiegs: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1975
Cheryl Tiegs covered Sports Illustrated Swimsuit several times, including the 1975 and 1983 covers below.
Cheryl Tiegs: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1983
Cheryl Tiegs Now
Tiegs knows true beauty comes from humor! The veteran pinup plays herself in a recurring role on Family Guy. She’s also appeared in Celebrity Apprentice. She is passionate about environmentalism, as well as an advocate for Planned Parenthood.
Babette March: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 1964
Babette March was the very first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model, making her debut with the mag on Jan. 20, 1964.
Babette March Now
March retired from modeling in 1974 and now goes by Babette Beatty. She enjoyed life on a sprawling ranch near Montreal, Quebec, and later settled in Oregon with her husband, architect Dale Beatty. The couple owns a bed and breakfast in the state.
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