Every year, I look at the Swimsuit Issue and think about the accomplishments of the women it celebrates, and every year I’m amazed. The better they become, the better we become. That much is readily apparent to anyone who picks up the magazine or checks us out on the phone, goes to our website or follows us on our array of social media platforms. The Swimsuit Issue began as a simple cold-weather diversion more than 50 years ago, but the franchise has grown into so much more than that.

James Macari

The women of SI Swimsuit 2017 are a collection of change agents, pioneers, power brokers and breakout stars-in-waiting who have in their own way redefined the cultural conversation around beauty. Among them: Serena Williams, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Christie Brinkley, Ashley Graham, Chrissy Teigen and our cover star, Kate Upton. Like every model in this year’s issue, these women embody character and beauty—and they prove that when it comes to beauty, there is not one singular definition. This is the very essence of SI Swimsuit, and it’s our guiding principle as we move forward.

Yu Tsai

Back in 2012, when she appeared on our cover for the first time, Kate spurred a conversation within the modeling industry—and, it’s not an exaggeration to say, the world—about what was “acceptable” in fashion. She challenged preconceived notions, which led to dialog that was not always pleasant, but she persevered. In other words: Haters gonna hate, but Katers gonna Kate. Now she’s back for her third cover—and the conversations she started continue today in a way that makes me proud.

This year’s issue proves once again that beauty does not conform to any set of stodgy standards. The pages of SI Swimsuit are filled with curves and muscles and a diverse array of faces and bodies. Christie Brinkley proves that you can still rock a bikini at 63. Simone Biles and Aly Raisman show that good things do, in fact, come in small packages, while Serena Williams demonstrates that strong is sexy.

Emmanuelle Hauguel

It was the experience of a lifetime to work with these women—these powerful, wonderful, smart, courageous, bold women. I am a stronger person today because of it. And for that I would like to thank them. Now please join me in celebrating them.

Meet the ladies of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017!