Olivia Culpo, Jasmine Sanders and Kate Bock Are 'Sports Illustrated' Swimsuit Cover Models
By Paige Gawley
The 2020 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has found its cover girls! Olivia Culpo, Jasmine Sanders and Kate Bock star across four new covers for the magazine, the photos for which were taken in Bali, Indonesia, back in November.
In addition to a stunning group shot of the trio, each woman appears on their own individual cover.
"These three women who make up the 2020 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue are inherently unique but a solidarity exists among them in terms of their ambitions, goals and what they stand for," SI Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day says. "These women are limitless and unstoppable, and collectively represent the next wave of moguls to come out of the franchise."
A former Miss Universe, Culpo, 28, marks her third appearance and first cover with her inclusion in this year's issue.
"Olivia Culpo is one of the hardest working people in the industry. I have never seen her give anything less than 200% toward whatever goal she sets for herself. Her accomplishments speak to that and are vast and impressive," Day says. "It gives me great joy to celebrate such an exemplary professional and hardworking individual whose unapologetic enthusiasm will shine from the cover of our magazine."
Culpo says she was "SO surprised" that she landed the cover this year, adding that "the news came out of nowhere."
"I was so caught off guard and I cried immediately, followed by a shot of tequila after the call," she admits. "I should probably add that I was on vacation in the Bahamas when they told me!"
Culpo was quick to call her parents after learning that she'd appear on this year's cover.
"My dad is a talker so I was petrified the entire state of Rhode Island would find out by the end of the day before it was officially announced. I had to swear him to secrecy," she jokes. "My parents know this was a goal that I set for myself so long ago and my dad was proud of me for achieving it."
In fact, the dream to appear in the magazine is one that Culpo's had for years.
"I still have the vision board I made about five years ago where my goal was just to be included in the magazine so to now be on the cover is unfathomable," she says. "It is the definition of a dream come true for me."
The dream was made even sweeter by getting to do it alongside Sanders and Bock.
"I really think back to the day we were shooting and how great it was to be with two kind, inspiring and hard-working women. We had so much fun together and I really love Kate and Jasmine so much," she says. "They are true 'girls-girls' -- supportive, kind and honest. Those are the type of friends you want to have in life and it is amazing to be sharing such an important moment with them."
Fresh off of her Rookie of the Year win last year, Sanders continues to make a splash this time around.
"Jasmine is never about Jasmine. Jasmine is about the people who surround her, and her innate desire to go out of her way to make the people who love and support her know that feeling is mutual," Day says. "Evident from the fact she has amassed millions of fans across social media and champions for the Black, Brown and marginalized communities, using her voice in the most powerful way possible in times and places where it matters most, Jasmine is a true phenomenon."
Sanders admits that the honor hasn't "sunk in fully" and it still feels "very surreal" to her. One thing she knows for sure, though, is that she's thrilled with the ever-increasing diversity throughout the issue.
"I believe the industry has started the process of being more inclusive and following the lead of publications like Sports Illustrated Swim that have a space for all types of women," she says, before pointing to the inclusion of Valentina Sampaio, the outlet's first transgender model, in this year's issue as evidence to its increasing diversity.
"SI includes such diverse women and to now have Valentina as a rookie really paves the way to show that everyone deserves an equal chance to express their individuality," Sanders says.
Sanders adds that she chooses to speak out on social justice and other issues because life is too short not to.
"I really try to convey to people to have a carefree life, meaning not to take yourself too seriously. I try to encourage self-care and self-love in ways of working out, working hard, but also in having a great time with friends and family," she says. "Life is too short for you to not speak up for what you believe in and stay true to yourself."
As for Bock, who's making her eighth consecutive appearance in the magazine, Day praises her for being "one of the best brand ambassadors and idea collaborators we’ve worked with."
"On top of her extensive work as an advocate for mental health and wellness, she has played a pivotal role as a creative and business savvy collaborator for SI Swimsuit," Day adds.
"It doesn’t even feel real yet!" Bock admits of covering the issue. "I can’t believe it. It’s an absolute dream come true. I’m still in shock!"
Despite her near-decade of experience working with the outlet, Bock says that this year was special thanks to her co-cover girls.
"I loved the experience of shooting in a group. That’s not something I’d ever done with SI Swimsuit and it was really special getting to share that moment with girlfriends that I love," she says. "I love that we are all so different and respect and love each other for our individuality."
Bock's success with Sports Illustrated continues to keep her passionate about both the magazine and her career as a whole.
"I am so passionate about this brand and fully believe that being passionate about the company you work with is so important for its success," she says. "No other job or opportunity gives me goosebumps the way SI does every year that I’m confirmed to shoot. They’ve taken me on the most unbelievable adventures, introduced me to new cultures and given me a voice, a name and a platform I wouldn’t have without them."