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Sports Illustrated Said Hot Girl Summer With Its 2021 Swimsuit Edition

Photo: Sports Illustrated

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue might have aged into something almost quaint by this point, an out-of-touch vestigial remnant of a pre-internet visual culture, when teen boys had to get their jollies in analog. It could have gone the way of Victoria’s Secret, stubbornly phasing out its angels altogether rather than expanding its idea of what a fantasy could look like. Instead, the 2021 issue is serving zeitgeist. It is serving relevance. It is serving Hot Girl Summer shit. Today, the publication released its three alternate Swimsuit Issue covers for 2021, with models Megan Thee Stallion, Naomi Osaka, and Leyna Bloom. It’s always exciting when SI chooses actual athletes as its cover models, and we believe that this year, all three women qualify. There’s Osaka, the rising tennis star. There’s Bloom, making history as the first transgender cover model in SI swimsuit history. She comes from the ballroom scene, which is modeling at its most athletic. And then there’s Megan Thee Stallion, whose knees are a marvel of sports science. “I was a little girl looking at the cover of Sports Illustrated like ‘one day, this is gonna be me,’” Megan said in a video for the SI website. “And I manifested it!”

Sports Illustrated Really Said Hot Girl Summer