Gayle King reveals how she prepared for her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover, and Oprah’s reaction

Gayle King received coaching from cover veteran Tyra Banks before her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot.

Gayle King, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Gayle King's Sports Illustrated cover, Black Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covers,
Gayle King attends the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2024 Issue Release and 60th Anniversary Celebration at Hard Rock Hotel New York on May 16, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit)

As Sports Illustrated’s 60th anniversary Swimsuit Issue featuring Gayle King on the cover officially hits newsstands today, King is opening up about how she prepared for her big debut.

During an appearance at the 2024 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue launch party in New York City, King told “Extra” that she received coaching from none other than SI Swimsuit veteran Tyra Banks, who is also featured in the 60th-anniversary issue.

King said the top model, who made history as the first Black model featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1996, “gave me tips on how to pose in front of the camera.” 

She added that Banks is far from the only woman who has cheered her on. King noted how women have been reaching out and approaching her to share how inspiring they find her latest accomplishment. She emphasized that despite what society would lead women to believe, “We have no limitations.”

As previously reported by theGrio, King, who joins 26 other women in Sports Illustrated’s 60th anniversary Swimsuit Issue, was surprised with her cover during a spot on her show, “CBS Mornings.” The co-host originally believed she would be featured in the issue but never expected to receive a solo cover.

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In the days since the reveal, King has shared her diet leading up to the shoot, revealing that she didn’t diet at all. She told People magazine that to her surprise, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s editor-in-chief, MJ Day, instructed her not to change anything she was doing, including her decision to eat a cheeseburger the day before the shoot. 

“I did have a cheeseburger,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite things. But [MJ] said, ‘Gayle, go for it. Do what you normally do.’ And that’s what I did.”

Speaking to “Extra,” King said the best thing about doing the shoot was the pride she took in sharing it with friends and family. 

“It’s something about when you do that and you feel good about it and the people you care about are applauding you, nothing gets better,” she said.

Those applauding her include her son and daughter and longtime best friend, Oprah Winfrey, who she said is “very happy for me.”

“Oprah said it’s great,” she added.

Gayle declared she is “69 and feeling fine!”

She added, “I really do feel that.”