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Tyra Banks has reclaimed her Sports Illustrated throne. After being the first African American model to grace the cover of the magazine’s annual swimsuit issue back in 1996, the legendary model and America’s Next Top Model creator has made her return to the magazine as its cover star 23 years later, absolutely killing it at the age of 45.
During an appearance on Good Morning America, where she revealed the cover, she expressed her excitement saying, “My first one was 23 years ago. How crazy is that? I broke ground [as] the first black woman on the cover.”
Looking as stunning as ever in a bright yellow triangle bikini top and bottom, Banks is using her cover to spark confidence in her fans who have been put down due to factors such as age or personal appearance. On Instagram, Banks posted a photo of the cover with a caption that read: “This is for everybody that has been told that they are not good enough because of their body, their age, their everything.#BanX is here to tell you that you ARE friggin’ fierce no matter what anybody says!”
Banks, who now professionally goes by BanX, is also using her cover to drive home her newest mission—preaching all-inclusive beauty. BanX, she told Good Morning America, stands for “X-cookie cutter beauty. It’s about all ages, all sizes, all colors, all everything.” To accompany her new mission, Banks is returning to modeling after retiring 2005, 13 years ago.
“There is this stereotype that only a 20-year-old woman in a bikini is hot,” Banks told Sports Illustrated. “Like once we reach a certain age, we are no longer desirable. But I want to show that modeling has no age. I’m coming out of retirement to practice what I preach.”