Sports Illustrated models and sexiness just kind of go hand-in-hand. After all, it is pretty hard to imagine a cover model that isn’t super-gorgeous. Even so, we thought that we would rank the models on their sex appeal in our list of The 20 Hottest Sports Illustrated Cover Models Ever. You can thank us later, just get reading and try not to salivate (too much). You will never find so much hotness in one place. Trust us.
While we wish that Sports Illustrated would give us more swimsuit editions, we can feel a bit better by knowing that the magazine never fails to disappoint us with striking models and athletes. One thing that will be evident through these images however, is that these models look great in just about anything! Throughout the years, we have witnessed some drop-dead gorgeous figures, booty shots, and smoldering eyes that have knocked our socks off. Our old man buying a copy of the swimsuit edition starts to make a lot more sense now.
So sit back and spend a few moments relishing in the hotness of these women. And if this list does not make you want to sign up for a subscription to Sports Illustrated right away, then we hold very different interests! The rest of us will be daydreaming and ordering our next issues ASAP.
20. Elle Macpherson
You can’t talk about modeling without mentioning Elle Macpherson. She is basically the one we imagine when we think of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. After all, who can forget her cover photos, with her skimpy swimsuits and sexy curves? She is in her 50s now, but Elle will always be one of the world’s favorite models. Come on, she was nicknamed “The Body!” The Aussie even has her own company, Elle Macpherson Intimates, and she holds a record for most times on SI’s cover: 5 times (1986, ’87, ’88, ’94, and 2006.)
19. Tyra Banks
We know Tyra Banks from so many places, but if you don’t know her from Sports Illustrated too, you should. There was her daytime talk show, her model competition show (America’s Next Top Model,) her own stellar modeling career, and her acting roles (Life Size and Coyote Ugly are two popular ones.) So, what hasn’t Tyra Banks done? We can’t answer that. She was the first African American model to make the cover of both Sports Illustrated and GQ, she was one of the first Victoria’s Secret Angels, and she is one of the top-earning models ever. She continues to be recognized by prestigious publications, such as TIME and The New York Times for her business and modeling success.
18. Brooklyn Decker
The 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was all about Brooklyn Decker. It was also a good year for her and Victoria’s Secret, with whom she modeled the “swim” collection. Other modeling gigs for Brooklyn include Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and FHM. She welcomed a baby boy in late 2015 with her hubby, pro tennis player, Andy Roddick. Brooklyn will always be remembered for her iconic SI cover, though she is still active as a model. Her other ventures include working in the film industry. She has starred in Battleship, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Royal Pains, and Ugly Betty, the woman is clearly on fire!
17. Kate Upton
Kate Upton is one of the most well-known models out there right now. She recently stole the show after doing a Marilyn Monroe impression and singing Happy Birthday. Besides her vocal talent, Kate is an accomplished model and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2012. She was also involved in body painting, Internet video fame, and acting. Kate was signed to Elite Model Management in 2008 on the very same day she auditioned, that’s how talented she is! After her cover feature on SI, her Twitter account accumulated over 150,000 followers. Clearly, she is force to be reckoned with!
16. Veronica Varekova
Veronica is a model from the Czech Republic, and she was Sports Illustrated’s cover model 8 times between 1999 and 2007, making the cover spot in 2004. At the age of 19, she moved to The Big Apple to study at Parson’s School of Design. It was here that she was signed by Next Models and became one of the most coveted models in the industry. She has appeared in modeling gigs for Guess?, Chanel, NIVEA, Pantene, and Chopard, among others. Her killer body is attributable to her love of sports; she goes skiing, plays tennis, and golf. She even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!
15. Bar Refaeli
Bar Refaeli is a gorgeous model from Israel who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009. She was also the Number One model on Maxim’s Hot 100 list in 2012. Now she is working as the host of The X Factor Israel. Refaeli has been modeling since she was just a baby, and won an Israeli beauty pageant in 2000. Her modeling gigs have included work for Elle, Glamour, Esquire, Garnier, and GQ, among many others. She has also starred in some films and does entrepreneurial work in her native country. At the end of 2015, she was nabbed on charges of tax evasion.
14. Heidi Klum
Who doesn’t know about Heidi Klum? Don’t you just want to scream Auf Weidersen?! She was the face of Victoria’s Secret, Sports Illustrated, and Project Runway. She is the mother of adorable kids and the ex-wife of Seal. She surprises us every Halloween with some kind of sexy or sassy costume. She is Heidi Klum! What more can we say? This woman has done quite well for herself, working as not only a model, but an entrepreneur and a judge on America’s Got Talent. Even in her 40s, she is still making headlines with her svelte figure and eye-catching, yet classy, fashion choices.
13. Irina Shayk
Irina Shayk’s most recent fashion-related gig was strutting her stuff at the Marc Cain Fashion Show. She was featured as a SportsIllustrated babe in 2007 and 2015, appearing as the cover model in 2011. The Russian model has worked around the globe, including gigs for Armani Exchange, Glamour, and Complex magazine. She does humanitarian work for a hospital in her hometown and has been with such hot celebs as Cristiano Ronaldo and Bradley Cooper. Some of her acting cameos include appearances in Hercules, Marley & Me, and Russia’s Next Top Model. Now that she is 30 years old, will she be slowing down? We sure hope not!
12. Carolyn Murphy
Carolyn Murphy works as a model and actress. While she is now in her 40s, she was super popular during the 1990s. In fact, she was awarded the “Model of the Year” award in 1998 by VH1 and Vogue. Besides that, she is one of the top-earning models according to Forbes, with a net worth of $3.5 million. Her 2005 cover feature on Sports Illustrated was breath-taking, and helped her become the talk of the town once again in the modeling world. Other than SI, she has also modeled for Tiffany & Co, Elle, Versace, and Missoni, among others. She does acting work as well, and appeared in Liberty Heights and Project Runway: All Stars.
11. Petra Nemcova
It’s almost like if your name is Petra, then you are automatically gorgeous. At the very least Petra Nemcova would be no exception to that rule. The Czech model was featured in Sports Illustrated from 2002 to 2006 and also participated in Joanne Gair’s body painting projects. Nemcova had a scary experienced when she was caught in the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004, in which she lost her fiancé, Simon Atlee. After that experience, she founded the Happy Hearts Fund, which supports victims of the tsunami. She also earned the Glamour “Survivor Award” in 2005 and became an ambassador for Haiti with the Happy Hearts Fund.
10. Marisa Miller
Marisa Miller has posed for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition numerous times and it is easy to see why. She is also recognizable for her extensive modeling work with Victoria’s Secret. She also worked alongside Vogue magazine’s executives for some time. In addition to her modeling work, she served as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society. Starting in 2013, she added another job to her resume: actress. Some of her film and TV work include roles on How I Met Your Mother, Entourage, and R.I.P.D. The 37-year-old shows no signs of slowing down and we aren’t complaining!
9. Rebecca Romijn
43-year-old Rebecca Romijn is one of the most well-known models out there. In addition to modeling, like many on this list, she too is no stranger to the big screen. Some of her most notable film roles include starring in The Punisher, Ugly Betty, and X-Men. Rebecca was also once married to John Stamos (what a hot couple!) Her modeling career started in 1991, and she was featured not only in Sports Illustrated, but in Maxim and FHM as well. She was snatched up for ads for Victoria’s Secret, Miller Lite, Giorgio Armani, and many others. Even after so many TV and film appearances, as well as her work with publications, she is still an impressive and gorgeous woman.
8. Hannah Davis
Hannah Davis is a 25-year-old bombshell who was featured on Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue of 2015, 2014, and 2013. A triple threat! Besides that, she has modeled for Ralph Lauren, American Eagle Outfitters, and Victoria’s Secret, among others. She has an incredible body, which is probably attributed to her dedication to tennis (she has been playing since she was just 8 years old.) And she also has ties to sports royalty, she is engaged to Derek Jeter of New York Yankees fame. A beach babe at heart, she was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, on St. Thomas, where she grew into a stunning beauty.
7. Anne Vyalitsyna
29-year-old Anne Vyalitsyna is not only an accomplished model, but is a new mom! Anne recently gave birth a baby girl, and we are sure that her child is going to be absolutely beautiful. Anne’s Russian background is evident in her looks, and it clearly works for her fans. Vyalitsyna has appeared on the Sports Illustrated covers on countless occasions (actually it was from 2005 to 2014.) Those 10 years with the publication definitely solidified her status as one of the hottest models around. She was also involved in a body painting project with Joanne Gair (remind us to look that up!) Anne even transitioned into film, and made a cameo appearance in Die Hard (although she isn’t an actress.)
6. Molly Sims
The name Molly Sims is pretty well-known, even outside of the modeling industry. She became the apple of every guy’s eye when she began appearing (multiple times) on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition covers. She then began acting (she most notably appeared in Las Vegas,) and now she is a household name among aspiring and professional models. The 42-year-old penned a book about her modelling and life experiences, called The Everyday Supermodel. No offense Molly, but we are pretty sure that you are way hotter than the girl net-door! Molly now has her own website, where she shares tips on home décor, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle.
5. Cheryl Tiegs
She may be the oldest woman on our list, but Cheryl Tiegs is a mainstay name in the modeling world. People will never forget her, and when she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1978, she was forever embedded in the memories of every guy who saw that photo. The iconic fishnet bathing suit left people wanting more, and Cheryl continued to model for other magazines, such as Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Vogue. She was honored by People magazine on their 50 Most Beautiful People List of 2008. Tiegs is currently, and an activist for environmentalism, as well as a board member of the Earth Conservation Corps.
4. Christie Brinkley
At 61 years of age, Christie Brinkley is well into her golden years, but she still earns the gold medal for her work as a Sports Illustrated cover model. She graced that magazine three times between the late 1970s and 1981, giving us the first hints of sex appeal on the news rack. Christie went on to model for other publications, such as Men’s Health, Playboy, and Allure. She also worked as an actress, illustrator, TV presenter, writer, photographer, designer, and humanitarian for human, animal, and environment action. Wow! Discovered back in 1973, she still transcends time as one of the most accomplished models.
3. Kathy Ireland
She may be 52 years old now, but back in the day, Kathy Ireland was the “it” girl for Sports Illustrated. She appeared on the cover a whopping 13 times in a row, and eventually delved into entrepreneurship. She started Kathy Ireland Worldwide in 1993. It was a marketing company and helped her make her way to a net worth of $420 million! She was signed by Elite Model Management when she was just 16 years old, and appeared on the front of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Mademoiselle. And, she was bestowed the honor of “The Greatest Sports Illustrated Cover of All Time.”
2. Nina Agdal
Nina Agdal might be a new name for you, but she was featured on the 2015 issue of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. We were so happy to see this Danish model, who is just 23 years old, grace the front cover. Her body is slamming, to say the least, and she was also featured on the magazine in 2014, along with two other models. Nina may be somewhat of a newcomer, but we think she is here to stay. Besides being able to perfectly rock a bikini (or a lack of one,) she rocks it with Elite Model Management, which is a very prestigious modeling agency. Her other gigs include modeling for Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, and Billabong.
1. Kim Cloutier
Kim Cloutier comes from the land of Canucks (that would be Canada,) and the 28-year-old is absolutely smoking hot. Besides modeling for Sports Illustrated, she has appeared in ads and photo shoots for makeup products, swimsuit fashion, and of course, lingerie. She was photographed by Sports Illustrated in 2009 while in Mexico. She posed at the Maroma Resort on the Riviera Maya; what a dream! Kim has been modeling since she was just 15 years old, and she has certainly blossomed! Kim’s dad is Michael Cloutier, who is a fashion photographer himself (although we hope he doesn’t photograph his daughter in lingerie.)