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Tyra Banks returns as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model at 45

"I never thought it would be possible."
Tyra Banks returns to SI swimsuit cover
Sports Illustrated
/ Source: TODAY

Tyra Banks is back!

The supermodel and media mogul, 45, has returned to the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, more than two decades after she graced the cover in 1997.

She looks fierce as always, sporting a yellow bikini, tousled beach waves and her signature smize.

Banks returns as a cover star for the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Laretta Houston / Sports Illustrated

Banks appeared on the 1996 Swimsuit issue cover alongside Argentine model Valeria Mazza. And in 1997, she made history as the first black woman to land a solo Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover.

Banks made history as the first black woman to land a solo Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover in 1997.Russell James / Sports Illustrated

“Being the first black woman on the cover, I didn’t dream it because I never thought it was possible,” the supermodel said in a recent Sports Illustrated Instagram video. “Almost like this — I never thought it would be possible. I’m 45 years old, on the cover of this magazine again?”

Banks looks fierce in the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, on sale now.Laretta Houston / Sports Illustrated

Banks is one of three cover stars for the 2019 Swimsuit issue. Model Camille Kostek and soccer star Alex Morgan also rock solo covers this year.

“I will never be more proud of the work we did this year and even more proud of the women that are a part of this brand,” Sports Illustrated editor MJ Day wrote on Instagram. “Thank you and massive CONGRATULATIONS to the 2019 cover stars.”

Even before Sports Illustrated announced its three cover stars, the 2019 Swimsuit issue has been generating plenty of buzz. This year's issue includes a history-making photo shoot with Halima Aden, the first SI Swimsuit model to appear in a hijab and burkini.

Model Winnie Harlow, who appeared in cycle 21 of “America’s Next Top Model,” is also making her debut as a 2019 Sports Illustrated rookie. Many fans praised the magazine for including Harlow, an advocate for women living with the skin condition vitiligo.

Congratulations to all the inspiring women in this year’s swimsuit issue!