Outdoors & Sports
A Look Back: Swedish Models To Grace Cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit IssueFebruary 13, 2018
The annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue hits newsstands today, featuring California native Danielle Herrington on the cover.
Last year, we caught up with Yvette Sylvander, who appeared with her twin sister Yvonne on the cover of the 1976 issue. While we’re still chasing down interviews with Swedish SI cover girls Lena Kansbod (1977) and Vendela Kirsebom (1993), here are a few nuggets about Sweden’s connection to the SI Swimsuit Issue.
Twice As Nice in Baja – The Sylvander Twins, 1976
The Sylvanders appearance on the cover marked the first time SI featured more than one model on the cover, and they’re still the only twins to appear. Yvette Sylvander told us last year that appearing on the cover was “exciting and still is as we are the only twins to appear on the cover.” Although there were some modeling gigs that followed, each enjoyed careers outside of modeling.
Zowie, It’s Maui – Lena Kansbod, 1977
According to a 1989 Sports Illustrated article, Kansbod was a 17-year-old checking coats at a nightclub in Sweden when the founder of Elite Model Management spotted her and told her she could be a model. Not long after, she appeared on the cover of Elle. And after moving to New York in 1976, she made it back-to-back SI Swimsuit covers for Swedish models. Kansbod went on to have a successful modeling career, earning a big contract with Revlon.
Swimsuits ’93 – Vendela Kirsebom, 1993
In 1989, People Magazine ran a story with the headline, “The Face of the 90s May Belong to Vendela, Swedish Supermodel and Grace Kelly Look-Alike.” Four years later, she was on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue as part of a modeling career that took her all over the world. She went on to host Norwegian and Swedish versions of “Top Model” and has a successful line of beauty products.
Odds and Ends
- American models have appeared on the cover far more than any other country. Outside of the U.S., only Czechoslovakia models (4) have appeared on the cover more than the Swedish trio.
- Swedish model Kelly Gale appeared in the 2017 Swimsuit Issue, and be on the lookout for up-and-coming Swedish model Victoria Germyn, who was showcased in a 2018 casting call in December.
- Björn Borg appeared on five Sports Illustrated covers, and Stefan Edberg and Henrik Lundqvist also have made appearances. We’re still looking for others… do you know of any other Swedes to grace the cover of SI?