From the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and beyond, swimsuit supermodels make posing in bikinis and one pieces look ridiculously easy. Let’s pay homage to a few icons, shall we?

Cheryl Tiegs

Often described as the first American supermodel, Ms. Tiegs graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition twice, while her “Pink Bikini” poster from 1978 remains one of the decade’s most famous and sought-after images. She was the first model featured on the SI cover more than once, and the image of her in a fishnet bathing suit that exposed her nipples...well, it’s no surprise she became a household name! Tiegs went on to enjoy a tremendously successful modeling career, and later worked as an actress, designer and author.

Christie Brinkley

The first supermodel to appear on the cover of the SI Swimsuit Edition three years in a row, the blonde beauty is still celebrated for her golden California girl looks. Brinkley’s contract with Cover Girl was the longest modeling contract in history, spanning some 20 years. Famously married four times, the Uptown Girl’s second marriage was to Billy Joel, with whom she has a daughter, Alexa. Brinkley appeared in numerous music videos with her rock star hubby, including the aforementioned “Uptown Girl.”  An actress and businesswoman as well as a model, Brinkley most recently starred as Roxie Hart in Chicago.

Kathy Ireland

One of the world’s most wealthy former models thanks to her brand marketing company Kathy Ireland Worldwide, the stunning brunette appeared in 13 consecutive issues of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. One of her covers was named the top cover of all time at the magazine’s recent 50th anniversary celebration! Discovered at 16, Ireland has written six books, including three children’s books, and has appeared in a number of television and movie roles.

Elle Macpherson

Famously known as “The Body,” Elle Macpherson has enjoyed a successful career as a supermodel, actress, television host and businesswoman. Renowned for her record five SI Swimsuit covers, the Australian supermodel has also appeared in Playboy. Acting appearances include the movies Sirens and If Lucy Fell, and five episodes of Friends. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for Macpherson!

Look for Part Two of this series to learn about other swimsuit icons!

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