Ten years after Tyra Banks became the first African-American supermodel to appear alone on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Beyoncé Knowles has set a new milestone by becoming the first covergirl who is neither a model nor an athlete.
The Dreamgirls star posed for the cover of the music-themed 2007 edition in a yellow-and-pink bikini, marking the first time she has ever been photographed in swim attire. (Not counting paparazzi photos, of course.)
"It takes a lot of guts. I'm really a shy person," Knowles told the magazine.
Her mother, Tina Knowles, said that the former Destiny's Child frontwoman has often been asked to pose in a bathing suit, but wanted to wait for the right opportunity.
"At every shoot, they always bring some swimsuits and ask, 'Can we shoot in this?'" the elder Knowles said. "It's always been 'No! When it's time to do swimsuits, it's going to be something big.'"
The 25-year-old singer-actor said she prepared for the shoot by being extra-strict about her diet, which proved especially difficult because the photos were taken right after Thanksgiving.
"At dinner, I kept thinking: this extra piece of pie will show up," she recalled. "I always make sure I celebrate it up, but I was so terrified with every little thing I ate this year."
All that discipline paid off, as Knowles said she was pleased with how the photos turned out.
"These are photos I can show my kids some day, so I can say, 'See, momma was beautiful. Look how good I looked!'" she said.
Other musicians featured in the issue include Kanye West, Aerosmith, Kenny Chesney, Panic! At the Disco and Gnarls Barkley, all photographed alongside swimsuit-clad models.
Meanwhile, to mark the 10th anniversary of her own SI cover, Banks recently recreated the Bahamian photo shoot that landed her the gig, even squeezing into the same red-and-white polka dot bikini in which she posed—though she admitted to making a few adjustments.
The former supermodel, who retired from the catwalk in 2005, said she had extra fabric added to the sides of the swimsuit to accommodate the 20 pounds she's gained since the 1997 cover.
"I was about 140 pounds on that cover..and I'm 161 now," Banks, who stands 5-feet, 10-inches tall, told the AP on Tuesday. "I'd say I looked like a stripper when I put it on."
The results of the recreated shoot will be the subject of Monday's Tyra Banks Show, making the second time Banks has donned swimwear for the benefit of her talk show audience.
Last month, unflattering photos of Banks wearing a one-piece bathing suit were published in tabloids under headlines such as "America's Next Top Waddle" and "Tyra Porkchops." The accompanying articles crowed that Banks had packed on as much as 50 pounds.
The former model struck back at her critics by wearing the same suit on her talk show to prove that she was not as heavy as she appeared in the photos, which she said were taken at a bad angle.
"If I had a lower self-esteem, I would probably be starving myself right now. That's exactly what is happening to other women all over this country," Banks said, before telling her critics they could "kiss my fat ass!"