Christie Brinkley has now appeared in Sports Illustrated nine times over the course of her storied career, and if you’re surprised to see the 63-year-old in this year’s swimsuit issue, you’re not alone.
The annual magazine, which typically features young women with the impossible to attain perfections of fashion models, is legendary in the United States, where it sold 785,000 copies in 2014 on its 50th anniversary.
Over the years, it has nonetheless sought to challenge the often criticized monopoly of young, white models projected by the fashion industry in general.
In 1996, model Tyra Banks became the first black woman to appear on the cover. Athletes such as tennis champion Serena Williams and mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey have also been photographed for the magazine.
First spotted in a post office in Paris aged 19, Michigan-born Brinkley appeared in the magazine eight times between 1975 to 2004, and a record three consecutive times on its cover in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
For the February 15 edition, which comes out days after Brinkley celebrated her 63rd birthday, she is joined by her daughters Sailor Brinkley Cook, 18, and Alexa Ray Joel, 31, whose father is singer Billy Joel.
“Thank you Sports Illustrated for sending the powerful message that good things come in packages of every size and we do not come with an expiration date!” she wrote on her Instagram page.
The magazine said on its website that the four-times married Brinkley proved that “age is nothing more than a number.”
“My first thought was, ‘At my age? No way!'” the model told People magazine. “When I turned 30, I was like, ‘This is the last time I’m posing in a bathing suit!’ When this issue comes out, I’ll be 63. I thought, ‘Those days are over.’