1964 marked the first issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and was credited with making the “bikini” a justifiable piece of apparel. The cover girl for this January issue was Babette March, now known as “Babette Beatty,” who was an international model and known for her “cover” work on many other magazines, as well as for living-in-up with the likes of Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol…ho hum, such is the life! <Grin> Babette Beatty is an established artist, known for her beautiful “painted ladies” which appear on the labels of “Zhoo Zhoo” wine made by Hells Canyon Winery.
Their motto – “Wine made by women, for women!” When the founders of Zhoo Zhoo Wine sat down to interview Babette, they asked: “What do your women paintings say about women? Beatty’s answer was simple and clear: “It means, women are here to stay – meaning that women have sex appeal, are smart, strong, and we know how to get places even though we’re still suppressed!”
This woman, for some reason, really intrigued me and I wanted to know more about her.Especially, whether or not if she is one of “us,” a “petite!” I wanted to believe that there was some small chance they didn’t care about “height” back then. But as my researched continued…and I held breath… my hopes were dashed by the realization that “Sports Illustrated Magazine Swimsuit Edition” only uses Amazon models for their cover – this fact confirmed as I diligently investigated each and every one of their “Amazon” models, used for their cover.
Beyonce: Almost– Petite, Pop-Singer Makes Cover
The closest Sports Illustrated ever came to placing a “petite” woman on the cover of their swimsuit edition, was when Senior Editor “Diane Smith” wanted 10-time Grammy winner (at that time) “Beyonce Knowles” for their 2007 “music-themed” issue. “Beyonce,” made famous as the lead singer in the trio girl-sensation group “Destiny’s Child,” stands just above the average petite at 5’5”. Beyonce is the first, ever, singer and non-model celebrity to grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover. Lucky for Knowles, this coveted spot came at the right time, providing an extra opportunity for her to promote her newly launched swimsuit line that came out the following year.
A Conglomerate of “Time Warner”
Henry Luce, a Yale graduate, voted “Most Brilliant” by his peers, but better known to his friends by “Father Time,” put his head together with a college friend one night in 1923 and created The International Magazine of Events (possibly a backronym), known as “Time” Magazine. After the death of his friend and partner during the onset of the “Great Depression,” Luce founded the global business magazine “Fortune,” and in 1936, purchased the famous “Life” magazine, only for its name, selling off the subscription list and features. Luce knew that there would be a certain je ne sais quoi for the magazine by telling its story through photojournalism. In fact, it became the first all-pictorial news magazine and lasted 40 years!
You might be asking yourself, “What does all this have to do with Sports Illustrated?” Well, if you haven’t guessed it by now (or didn’t know in the first place), Henry Luce acquired the name “Sports Illustrated,” and launched the first issue in 1954, which fell short of his idea of being the greatest sports magazine of all time. But in 1956, Luce caught a glimpse of Andre Languerre’s singular coverage of the Winter Olympic Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and hired him on as assistant managing editor.
By 1960, after becoming “managing editor, Languerre more than doubled the magazine’s circulation by his extraordinary use of full-color photography for that weeks sporting event; which was unheard of for this kind of publication. Laguerre also pioneered an interesting concept of having one “long” story at the end of every issue – he called this the “bonus piece.” I only add this in because, as you all may know by now, I’m very wordy and LOVE “long” chronicles! Written By: Tana Corporon
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