The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue queen is back, and she’s bringing friends.
By she, we mean the one and only Christie Brinkley, and by friends, we mean her daughters. And this was a major accomplishment for up-and-coming model Sailor Brinkley Cook.
The SI issue veteran hung up her string bikinis in 2004 and was hesitant to slip back into them, until now.
“My first thought was, ‘At my age? No way!’” she told People.
But when the opportunity arose to pose with her daughters, Alexa Ray Joel, 31, and Sailor Brinkley Cook, 18, she didn’t need any more convincing.
“When I turned 30, I was like, ‘This is the last time I’m posing in a bathing suit!’ When this issue comes out, I’ll be 63. I thought, ‘Those days are over.’ But to get to do it with my girls, I thought, ‘One last go!’” she said.
Having a mother and two daughters in the issue is a first for Sports Illustrated.
Brinkley’s known for firsts when it comes to the Swimsuit Issue; in 1981 she became the first woman to cover the issue three times in a row. Elle Macpherson tied her record in 1988.
In the sexy spread for the magazine, which hits newsstands Feb. 15, the trio posed on a Turks and Caicos beach in coordinating black swimsuits — Brinkley’s features cutouts with a mesh overlay.
She also posed solo in a number of skimpy two-pieces, including a showstopping red bikini, showing off her age-defying abs.
The daughters also shot separately, Alexa Ray in a number of two-pieces, including a black bikini by Australian brand Zimmermann with floral details on the breasts.
And Sailor showed off her modeling skills — she’s appeared in Town & Country and modeled for Lord & Taylor — in a series of seriously tiny bikinis.
Both girls also posed topless for the shoot, lying chest down on beach chairs.
Sailor expressed her excitement on Instagram. “I’ve had issues with my body image since before I can even remember. I grew up not loving how I looked and felt held back because of it. I don’t know why I always felt that way, sure I had baby fat and definitely went through a plethora of awkward phases, but I had a family that loved me i had friends who made me laugh etc. But for some reason I still looked in the mirror and always somehow found something to pick on. I went from being ‘too fat’ to ‘too thin’ to ‘too muscular’ and I never felt satisfied,” she captioned a photo from the shoot with her mom and sister.
“My body and I have been through it all. But recently I have been liberated. I am healthy, i treat myself well, and for that i’m happy. I’ve looked in the mirror and been able to LOVE the things about my body that beauty norms deem ‘undesirable’.
"I now have grown to know that my body is worthy of so many great things. I don’t need to be a size 0 to believe in myself. My body carries me each and every day, it loves the people i love, it holds what makes me healthy and strong, it bends it shakes it runs and it CHANGES. That is okay and that is beautiful.
“I could not be more grateful to the beautiful and strong @mj_day for including me in this years Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue ????????❤ This is more than a magazine to me and always has been. As a growing young woman SI showed me all bodies are different and all bodies are worthy of celebrating.”
Alexa Ray also couldn’t help but gush about the experience. “~’Twas a most humbling and rewarding HONOR to be a part of your February issue!???????????? Thank you @si_swimsuit & @mj_day for making me feel so at home,” she captioned a photo of herself in the Zimmermann number. “This was a lesson in learning to let go, take the plunge, and embrace myself from both the inside AND out- which is something I struggle with each and every day. My purpose is to now pass along this lesson of unconditional self-love and self-respect to every woman who’s willing to listen. Once again, from the bottom of my heart… Thank You.~”
Even seasoned SI model Brinkley got emotional about the experience.
“This is a real full circle moment for me,” Christie said in a video from the shoot. “I can get very emotional about this. How many years ago, I was that insecure girl hoping that I would be good enough for the magazine. So to see my daughters now having the same thoughts I had, and to be able to see them actually be there on the job, was definitely a big moment,” she gushed.
The blond beauty (who, with a megawatt smile, slim figure, and youthful beach waves, could be mistaken for a third sister in these pictures) thinks her posing for the magazine now could spark a conversation about ageism.
“In a country that’s very ageist, people love to put you in little boxes…” she told Sports Illustrated.
“Women feel very limited by their numbers. On a personal level, I thought, if I can pull this off, I think it will help redefine those numbers and remove some of the fear of aging.”
If we can look and feel like that at 63, we’ll happily turn 63 tomorrow.