Tyra Banks returns to modeling as one of the new cover stars of the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.
The 45-year-old supermodel, who was the first African-American model to appear on the cover of this publication alongside model Valeria Mazza in 1996, came out of retirement for the 2019 issue.
"There is this stereotype that only a 20-year-old woman in a bikini is hot," Banks told Sports Illustrated. "Like once we reach a certain age, we are no longer desirable. But I want to show that modeling has no age. I’m coming out of retirement to practice what I preach."
For the cover, which was photographed in Great Exuma, Bahamas, by Laretta Houston, Banks wears a yellow string bikini.
- 2April 11, 2019
"I am telling people that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and ages" she said in an interview with SI. “I have to put my money where my mouth is. I have to make sure my message is pure.”
Banks has built many successful businesses and is now a guest lecturer for a personal branding course at Stanford Graduate School of Business, along with running her companies. She revealed to SI that she is now changing her moniker to "BanX" and re-entering the modeling scene after exiting in 2005.
The new name symbolizes "X-ing out cookie-cutter beauty," she told the outlet.
“Mononyms are exciting in the industry," she said. "But usually models use their first names, like Iman. I want to flip the script and go by my last name. I’m taking something familiar and making it new. I’m wiser now and thicker."
"BanX is me, but she’s also every woman," she added. "BanX represents rebirth and that beauty boundaries only exist to be broken."
Professional soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan is also a cover star of the highly anticipated issue.
"Alex Morgan stands for feminine strength and power, using her voice to fight for gender discrimination and equal pay," said MJ Day, editor of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, in a press release.
Sports Illustrated rookie and former Patriots cheerleader Camille Kostek rounds out the trio of cover stars.
The model and dancer appeared in the 2018 swimsuit issue as part of the company's model search through Instagram and is now a cover star.
The 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue features 34 women. Day told "GMA" that the upcoming issue is "one of the biggest and broadest samplings of beauty that we've ever featured." It is on newsstands now.