The 24-year-old model from Compton, California, received the surprise of a lifetime when SI Swim legend Tyra Banks greeted her at the Sports Illustrated office with her 2018 cover. Herrington traveled to the Bahamas for her shoot and poses in a hot pink Ola Vida string bikini on the cover.
Herrington is the third black woman to cover SI Swim since the franchise began in 1964, following in the footsteps of Banks, who first covered the magazine alongside Valeria Mazza in 1996, followed by a solo cover in 1997. Beyoncé landed the coveted spot in 2007, photographed by Cliff Watts in a variety of House of Deréon swimsuits.
“Two of my role models are Tyra Banks and Beyoncé, so the fact that I get to join this incredible group of women as I become the third black model on the cover of SI Swimsuit is a dream come true,” Herrington said of the honor. “I am so excited to be part of this iconic brand that has long given identity and voice to women of all shapes, colors and beliefs. I hope that young girls who look at this cover are inspired to dream as big as I did and work hard to attain all their goals.”
In a 2017 interview with Fox News, Herrington revealed that she always aspired to have a career like Banks and star on the cover of SI Swim. “I just remember Tyra Banks being on the cover and that’s where it all started for me,” she said. “That’s what really made me pursue modeling. SI was a goal from that point, from seeing Tyra on the cover. It was love at first sight… everything happened naturally.”
And while she was so excited for her debut Rookie shoot in 2017, she also had some first-time jitters.
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“It took place in Fiji, and I was really nervous,” she revealed. “You know how you’re so nervous your knees shake? That was me. SI was my first big job modeling so I definitely felt the pressure within me.”