SI Swimsuit 2016 Launch Week is officially underway. Over the next four days, we'll host fan festivals in New York City and Miami, appear on late night talk shows and generally take over the world. And as luck would have it, I'm on Year 4 of covering it all for SwimDaily. Perhaps you remember my Pulitzer-worthy coverage of 2013 in Las Vegas or 2015 in Nashville? Over the next four days, I'll provide photos, videos and GIFs from behind the scenes.

Before the issue was released, however, we invited several rookies and veterans to SI's downtown Manhattan office for video shoots and unveiled our cover model on national TV. Here's what went down.


Our first video shoot was with Sofia Resing, who arrived right on time. I took her for a walk around the Time Inc. building and more than a few heads turned. Wonder why.

Andy Gray/SI


Sofia was a pro in front of the camera as we gave her several props to play with and provided several GIF-worthy moments.


I bid Sofia goodbye and waited in the lobby for Ashley Graham, who arrived a few minutes later with a huge smile on her face. We'd just revealed her as our second rookie and she was drowning in congratulatory texts. We thought it only appropriate to make her dance and recite cheesy pickup lines.


On her way out, we decided to turn Ashley into a reporter for some man-on-the-street interviews. You can barely tell it's 35 degrees.

Andy Gray/SI


Andy Gray/SI


Andy Gray/SI


Next up was the great Bo Krsmanovic, who we used as a guinea pig in our effort to find a new SwimDaily correspondent. We gave NBA editor Matt Dollinger a shot. He came up a little short in some areas, but overall did great.

Andy Gray/SI

Andy Gray/SI

 

Afterward, we gave Bo a hat and told her to go nuts. We need to work on her aim with the hat toss, though.

Andy Gray/SI


Our second day of video began with Barbara Palvin. We made her do a bunch of goofy stuff and learned she can't juggle.

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Before leaving, Barbara gave one last, badass pose straight out of Zoolander.


By this point, we'd seen four of the five rookies and were ready for some veterans. As luck would have it, Rose Bertram and Emily DiDonato were in the office with a few extra minutes to spare, so we put them to work with a big game of "Never Have I Ever."

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For our final shoot before launch week, we welcomed Tanya Mityushina. Unfortunately, a minor work emergency decided to spring up right as Tanya came, so I only got a couple shots of her in action.

Andy Gray/SI

Andy Gray/SI

 

The taping of TNT's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 Revealed took place late Saturday afternoon at the Manhattan Center near Madison Square Garden. You know it's an important event when you get four handouts upon arriving.

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A view of the set before the show begins. The three 2016 covers would later be unveiled on these screens.

Andy Gray/SI


We got a tiny hallway to shoot some video before the show began. Here's a shot of Rose between two crew members.

Andy Gray/SI

 

Emily, Chanel Iman and Gigi Hadid were next and took a selfie to end their interview. Which version is better?

Andy Gray/SI

 

 


Best seats in the house (except for the 90% of audience with better seats).

Andy Gray/SI


After the cover was unveiled, friends and family enjoyed a private gathering, which gave Hailey and Ashley their first look at the cover.

Andy Gray/SI


Hannah Ferguson, Hannah Davis and her brother Conn Davis devour the issue.

Andy Gray/SI


Sofia poses with Model Search contestant Megan Williams.

Andy Gray/SI


Model Search contestant Kyra Santoro had a hard time believing she was in the issue.

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I'll have a fresh diary every morning this week so check my Twitter feed for updates. In the meantime...

 


BONUS: See more behind-the-scenes photos from Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 Revealed