Walter Iooss Jr./SI

‚ÄčWHAT'S REALLY left to say about Tyra Banks that we haven't already said a thousand times  I mean, one day it's 1995 and 22-year-old Tyra is frollicking on a South African beach with Valeria Mazza, and the next she's the fiercest woman in the biz as CEO of the aptly-named Bankable Productions (and forever expanding the reach of her golden touch, most recently with a line of cosmetics). In September 2015 her new show The Fab will premiere, for which she's nabbed one very recognizable face as her co-host

But before all that, there was Tyra the SI Swimsuit cover model. Last year on her birthday I wrote about that timeless 1997 cover shot almost didn't happen. Imagine that: an entire nation's worth of locker doors never knowing the joy of a glistening Tyra Banks and those red and pink polka dots. In the end, though, the Swimsuit gods smiled down on us, and by us I mean the Swimsuit team because we got our cover; but I also mean the world at large. Because you all got this: 

VIDEO: Tyra in Turkey (the shoot that never went to print)

1997
Exclusive Tyra Banks SI Swimsuit