In 1997 Tyra Banks became the first black woman on a solo cover of the Sport’s Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. 22 years later in 2019, she has officially stepped out of her modeling retirement to cover the iconic issue for the second time.
“This is for everybody that has been told that they are not good enough because of their body, their age, their everything,” she wrote on Twitter. “#BanX is here to tell you that you ARE friggin’ fierce no matter what anybody says! Drop mic now!” (Not to take attention away from an amazing accomplishment but we need to appreciate that Tyra calls herself “BanX”).
In the last 15 years, Tyra’s modeling career has taken a backseat to both her tenure on America’s Next Top Model, her talk show and her various acting roles. She’s been at the forefront of the body positivity moment since the day she famously screamed “kiss my fat ass” on national television, and she’s integrated that philosophy into her later career as a personality. Choosing Sport’s Illustrated, for her return seems like a fitting homage to the boundaries she been trying to break over the course of her career.
To make this moment even sweeter, the model was spotted on the streets of New York City wearing a hot pink dress and holding onto her new cover for dear life. It was a sweet way to punctuate a momentous accomplishment. We were always rooting for you Tyra.