Kardashian, who poses in a nude cover bikini in some photos and atop an adventure bike in an unzipped silver one-piece in others, is the biggest name of the bunch, being a reality TV star and entrepreneur. Still, Kardashian, 41, told SI Swim that “never though in a million years” she’d lead the annual bikini bible at her age.
“I vividly remember Tyra Banks on the cover and women with curves. I remember thinking that is so cool” Kardashians said in reference to Banks’ 2019 SI Swim cover, which the OG supermodel shot at age 45.
“But, I still didn’t think I would have … I thought you had to be a professional model and a runway model. It was always really young girls. I don’t want to date myself or sound old, but in my 40s? That’s crazy!” she added.
But if anyone’s making a stand against swimsuit ageism, it’s Maye Musk. The 74-year-old model, dietician and mother of Tesla/SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk praised the SI Swim team in her accompanying interview with the mag, saying “To be a swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated, people would’ve locked me away as a crazy lady.”
“I’m very excited that they’ve decided that even older women can wear swimsuits and look great. I think it’s really going to change how women feel when they walk out in their swimsuits.”
Ciara, the 36-year-old superstar singer and wife of Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, told SI Swim she was inspired by the couple’s daughter, Sienna Princess Wilson.
“When I think about my baby girl, this is pretty powerful. She can see me and say ‘I can do that.’ Obviously being a woman of color, but beyond that, [she can say] ‘She was a woman who went after her dreams, she envisioned this just by believing.’ That’s my greatest mission and goal, just to inspire women everywhere, just like myself to believe.”
At age 25, Yu is the youngest of the for cover stars. The plus-size model and second-generation Japanese American was elated, having made her SI Swim debut in 2021.
“I would always see other models’ reactions to their covers and I would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s crazy for them. That’s surreal for them,’” she told the mag.
“Even just watching that, I felt like I couldn’t imagine it happening to me. Biggest plot twist in my life so far. The best one.”