Gayle King scores a cover of Sports Illustrated’s 60th anniversary Swimsuit Issue, and is ‘not winding down’

Gayle King was surprised with her SI Swim cover during a segment of her show “CBS Mornings.”

Gayle King, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Black models on Sports Illustrated, body positivity,
Gayle King makes her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit debut on the cover of 60th anniversary issue. (Photo: Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated)

Gayle King is enjoying her “bombshell” moment. The veteran journalist is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s legendary Swimsuit Issue, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the annual publication, and the SI Swim rookie is just as shocked as anyone.

During a May 14 live on-air segment of King’s show “CBS Mornings” with models Kate Upton and Hunter McGrady, each of whom has a solo cover this year, King was surprised with her own.

“Ahhh! I’m on the cover,” the co-host exclaimed as she held the issue in her hands. “They told me I was just going to be on the inside! It’s not a dummy cover? This is going to be on the newsstands? Oh, my God! Oh, my God!”

For her cover, King was photographed by Yu Tsai in Mexico. The 69-year-old mother and grandmother posed in a patterned one-piece swimsuit and matching cover-up by EVARAE. In other shots featured in her gallery, King dons an emerald green swimsuit by Magygel Coronel while poolside, a yellow swimsuit by Eres, and a mustard gold swimsuit by Zimmermann for a dip in the pool.

In the issue, Upton, McGrady, and the “CBS Morning’s” co-host join 24 other women, including Tyra Banks, Martha Stewart, Winnie Harlow, Roshumba Williams, Leyna Bloom, Halima Aden, Danielle Harrington, Jasmine Sanders, and Megan Rapinoe.

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Speaking to Sports Illustrated about the honor, she said, “I still can’t frickin believe it.”

She added, “I think it’s important to celebrate women of all ages, all colors, all sizes. So the fact that they are saying, ‘yes, you deserve to be celebrated just for being yourself,’ that’s the thing that touches me most about being included.”

King emphasized that while  she’d never thought something like this would be possible, it happening is proof “that sometimes people can dream, God can dream, the universe can dream a bigger dream than you can ever think for yourself.”

Speaking on King’s inclusion in this year’s crop of cover models, MJ Day, editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, told People magazine, “Gayle King [is] a first-timer who, like her co-cover models, not so gently reminds us that women are limitless and control their destinies.”

King reportedly affirmed that sentiment while on location for the shoot, saying, “There was a time when you turned certainly over the age of 40, many women thought it was time to wind down, and I’m not even kind of thinking about winding down.” 

The SI Swim cover is just the latest cause for celebration in order for King, who on Monday also announced the arrival of her second grandchild on what she called the “best Mother’s Day ever.”