15 Sexiest Sports Illustrated Rookies 1999-2013 [PHOTOS]

The editors over at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue just announced that they would once again be unveiling the magazine’s cover model on The Late Show With David Letterman Monday, February 11th (CBS | 11:35 PM). This marks the sixth year in a row that the Swimsuit cover will be uncovered on the show and is fast becoming one of our favorite traditions.

And while we can speculate about some of the rumors going around (no, we don’t think Nina is going to be on the cover), we’d much rather review some of the rookies from years past.

Here are our personal favorites, going back 15 years. If anyone can get ahold of Melissa Baker, kindly ask her to come back to us. That girl was the bomb.


Yamila Diaz

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Rookie Year: 1999 | Country: Argentina | Appearances To Date: 9

Three must be the magic number for this Argentine model. Only three years after she had been discovered by a Milan modeling agency, Yamila made the 1999 issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Three years later, she landed the cover in 2002. Since then, Yamila’s popularity has taken off with brands like Victoria’s Secret and CoverGirl.

Elsa Benitez

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Chopard event. Robb Report Magazine.

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Rookie Year: 2000 | Country: Mexico | Appearances To Date: 4 | Twitter: @ImElsaBenitez

Elsa had appeared on the cover of all sorts of International magazines before she was offered the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue gig in 2000. It didn’t take very long for her to be noticed, though, as the following year she was granted an appearance on the cover.

Fernanda Tavares

Rookie Year: 2001 | Country: Brazil | Appearances To Date: 2 | Twitter: RealFeTavares

You knew Fernanda was destined for SI greatness when she landed none other than Creepy Uncle Terry Richardson to photograph her. Unfortunately, she only appeared in the magazine once more in 2007.

Marisa Miller

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Rookie Year: 2002 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 8 | Twitter: @MarisaMiller

Marisa first gained attention for posing in the first issue of Perfect 10 (1997). It took a little longer, though, before she really hit it big. It wasn’t until she met famed photographer Mario Testino while working at a surf camp (2001) that she found a place in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. From that point until 2008, Marisa posed for the magazine. Perhaps her most famous shot from that period features a photo of her wearing only an iPod.

Jessica White

Rookie Year: 2003 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 6 | Twitter: @IamJessWhite

Representing Buffalo, NY, Jessica got her first start with Sports Illustrated in 2003. With exception to 2006, Jessica was in every issue from then until 2011.

Frankie Rayder

Rookie Year: 2004 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 2

Once named the Sexiest Woman in the World by both GQ and The New York Times, Frankie first appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2004, nearly 7 years after she got her start in runway modeling.

Anne V

Rookie Year: 2005 | Country: Russia | Appearances To Date: 8 | Twitter: @AnneV

You might not be able to pronounce her full last name (Vyalitsyna), but you sure as heck would be able to pick her out of a crowd. Anne is perhaps most famous for her eight-consecutive-year run of Appearances To Date in the SI Swimsuit Issue. The release party of the 2010 issue was where she first met her husband Adam Levine. Luckily, they’ve split ways. Anne has yet to land the cover.

Brooklyn Decker

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Rookie Year: 2006 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 7 | Twitter: @BrooklynDecker

If you saw our post on Brooklyn Decker Before She Was Famous, you’re probably aware that she wasn’t always a big star. Having said that, Brooklyn knew she had something special when she auditioned for the SI Swimsuit Edition only six months after moving to NYC. She landed the cover in 2010.

Bar Refaeli

Rookie Year: 2007 | Country: Israel | Appearances To Date: 5 | Twitter: @BarRefaeli

Forget that Super Bowl commercial, Bar has been dropping the jaws of Sports Illustrated readers since 2007 when she became the first Israeli to pose for the magazine. Two years later, she landed the cover — a year before Brooklyn (who had been a rookie the year before Bar).

Melissa Baker

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Rookie Year: 2008 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 1

It would seem that Melissa has sadly taken leave of the modeling world, but at least we’ll always have her photos from the 2008 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to look back on.

Cintia Dicker

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Rookie Year: 2009 | Country: Brazil | Appearances To Date: 4 | Twitter: @DickerCintia

Cintia Dicker just might be the hottest freckled red-head on the planet. And considering the world’s obsession with that kind of look, it’s amazing that it took Sports Illustrated so long to put her in their magazine. What’s important, though, is that they’ve kept her onboard ever since.

Chrissy Teigen

Rookie Year: 2010 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 3 | Twitter: @ChrissyTeigen

This Thai-Norwegian model got her start as an IGN Babe in 2004 but it wasn’t until her friend Brooklyn Decker introduced her to the editors at Sports Illustrated that she was cast in 2010. Subsequently, she won the official award of “Rookie of the Year.”

Kate Upton

Rookie Year: 2011 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 2 | Twitter: @KateUpton

Anything that can be said about Kate Upton has undoubtably already been covered on this blog. All we need to say is that besides being the face of Guess in 2010-2011, Kate’s appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was what rocketed her to such big heights.

Nina Agdal

Rookie Year: 2012 | Country: Denmark | Appearances To Date: 1 | Twitter: @NinaAgdal

Nina’s stock is on the rise after making her first appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue last year. She’s since appeared in numerous publications and is rumored to be on the short-list for potential cover models for the 2013 issue of SI.

Hannah Davis

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Rookie Year: 2013 | Country: USA | Appearances To Date: 0 | Twitter: @Hanni_Davis

Hannah Davis is taking the modeling world by storm after she was linked to Derek Jeter just months ago. Since then, Hannah got a gig as “Genie,” the DirectTV spokesmodel and is a shoe-in for “Rookie of the Year.”

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