These Vintage SI Swimsuit Issue Covers From the 1960s Are Iconic

Join us for a trip down memory lane as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brand.
Babette March

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the SI Swimsuit Issue this year, there’s no better occasion to take a trip down memory lane and look back at the covers that started it all.

While recent covers of the SI Swimsuit Issue have seen the likes of Martha Stewart, Ciara, Leyna Bloom, Kate Bock and Tyra Banks, and you may think of brand stalwarts like Kate Upton and Christie Brinkley when you think “cover model,” the following women were trailblazers of the brand. Below, we’re revisiting a few of our favorite covers from the first decade of SI Swimsuit.

1964: Babette March

The very first SI Swimsuit Issue was published on Jan. 20, 1964, and starred a 22-year-old German model named Babette March. She was photographed in Cozumel, Mexico, by photographer J. Frederick Smith for the historic occasion.

Now 82 and going by the name Babette Beatty, the brand’s first cover star is retired. She lives on a ranch in eastern Oregon, where she spends her days painting and enjoying time with husband and their four dogs.

“The cover was always an important thing to be on when you’re modeling, so it was a nice surprise to be on it,” Beatty told us earlier this year—and revealed that she still gets fan mail about the cover image to this day.

1966: Sunny Bippus 

Sunny Bippus

Bippus traveled to the Bahamas for the cover of the 1966 SI Swimsuit Issue, where she posed on the small island of Norman’s Cay. That year, she and Suzy Smith were the only two models featured in the issue.

1968: Turia Mau

Turia Mau

The French Polynesian model posed for the cover of the 1968 SI Swimsuit Issue in Bora Bora. She donned a black bikini for the photograph, captured by visual artist John G. Zimmerman. In 1968, there were four different models featured in the publication (the most to date at that point).

1969: Jamee Becker

Jamee Becker

As the star of the cover of the 1969 SI Swimsuit Issue, Becker brought color and vibrancy to the front of that year’s magazine. She posed for photographer Ernst Haas in Puerto Rico, where she embodied a classy and funky take on the “surf’s up” aesthetic.

Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.