Half-Jewish Sports is the longest running sports show on WRGW Radio. I have now been calling into the show over a span that has covered eight years and six different hosts. While I am proud of my consistency of calling into Half-Jewish Sports, I am greatly disappointed in myself for something that I have failed to be as consistent with. You see, recent years have seen my time in February and March be so heavily focused on preparing for the NCAA Tournament, that I have failed to review and analyze the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This must change and this must change now.
The idea of an annual Swimsuit Issue came out of the mind of former SI editor Andre Laguerre as a way for Sports Illustrated to help fill a void during a slow sports period in mid-February. Over the years, I have taken the responsibility of reviewing the Swimsuit Issue very seriously up and I plan on continuing to take a strenuous approach when it comes reviewing and analyzing the issue. Just as Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Mike Mayock are known for analyzing and predicting the potential of college football players, I put a great effort in analyzing the Swimsuit Issue and predicting what the future holds for the issue.
It is worth repeating a note I made in 2011, while many would expect the review process to be very opinionated, biased, and all together unfair, to them I promise it is not. When it comes to measuring the overall grade of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, one must throw ignore the fact that most SI models are beyond well beyond gorgeous.
I have had past success predicting future cover models — this is something I am here to attempt to do again. While the issue is some five months away from being released, in my mind it never too early to look ahead to what the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue could look like.
I would briefly like to take a moment to review the history of the Swimsuit Issue cover. Up to this point in time, forty different women have found themselves on the cover of the issue. Elle Macpherson has the distinct privilege of being on the cover more times than anyone else (five), as well as being only one of two (Christie Brinkley) to be on the cover three straight years, a feat that Kate Upton could accomplish if she earns the ’14 cover. Since Sports Illustrated began using an inset within the issue, the model on the said inset has reached the cover within two years four out of seven times. The only models not to reach the cover within the two year period after being featured on an inset are Heidi Klum (a former cover model) and tennis stars Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova.
THE 2014 COVER
Before I can get to the field of potential models who might earn the cover spot, I want to take a second to go over an aspect of the cover that I was quite critical of involving Irina Shayk’s cover of 2011. In 2011, Sports Illustrated moved away from using the traditional white with the “Sports Illustrated” title at the top of the cover. I felt this was a distracting change that needed to be changed back. To my pleasure, the 2012 Kate Upton cover did use the white in the title, a change that I felt did a good job of giving the attention of the cover back to the model. In 2013, SI again moved away from the traditional white, however this time, the color worked quite well with the arctic motif the cover attempted to capture. While I believe decision to use color within the Sports Illustrated title is an attempt to give a fresh approach to the issue, I believe the white color of the title is the best look for the issue, and a look that I expect to see back in 2014.
Now we can move onto the important topic at hand, the cover model. I believe the 2014 cover will feature a model that meets at least one of the following qualifying factors:
1. Previous SI cover model
2. Previous SI featured inset
3. Received multiple grades of 8.0+ from me in previous 2008, 2009, 2011 reviews
The following is a list of models that meet the above qualifying standards:
– Anne V (3)
– Bar Refaeli (1, 2, 3)
– Brooklyn Decker (1, 2, 3)
– Daniella Sarahyba (3)
– Esti Ginzburg (3)
– Hannah Davis (2)
– Irina Shayk (1)
– Julie Henderson (3)
– Kate Upton (1, 2)
– Marisa Miller (1, 2, 3)
– Tori Praver (3)
Better known simply as Anne V., Anne meets the criteria to be a potential cover model having scored eight or above in each of my three SI reviews of hers. More impressively, Anne has appeared in nine straight SI Swimsuit editions. Anne will be approaching her 28th birthday when the cover is released in early 2014, and I believe she is a force to be reckoned with. While her body type definitely differs from reigning cover model Kate Upton, I could see SI rewarding Anne V. for her longevity; it would be the perfect way to celebrate her 10th year as part of the magazine.
Anne V. gains major bonus points for dating Matt Harvey and for meeting Harvey at a hockey game. It is also well worth revisiting an old, but favorite fact of mineregarding Anne and how she enjoys eating cartons of ice cream.
Betting Odds: +200 Anne V. would be a tremendous value bet for those that would wager on the cover model. She is widely known (hence only going by Anne V.) and it would seemingly be a good fit for a model who will be making her tenth appearance in the magazine. The only question I would have is, since it has not happened yet, why now? [To answer that somewhat, I would suggest that Anne’s run in SI has been during a bit of a glory days having run into the likes of (Matt Hall of Famers) Petra Nemcova, Bar Refaeli, Marisa Miller, Brooklyn Decker]
I love Bar Refaeli…this has been well known and documented and goes back to my original review of her in 2008. Since 2008, Bar has dated Leo, become a SUPERSTAR, been on an SI cover, and has been ranked #1 on Maxim’s Hot 100. Add to that, the fact that Bar has previously stated she loves to eat a burger and fries, and I rest my case that SI would be wise to give her the cover every year.
While Bar rightfully deserves the cover, I question if her political activism might force SI to hesitate selecting her as a cover model. Bar openly supports and advocates on behalf of the LGBT community, something that could alienate certain readers.
Side note, I have a dislike for television singing and voting shows that is as strong as anyone. I have never enjoyed American Idol and find the idea of The X-Factor to be horrendous. Putting that aside and having watched this:
I will now be watching The X-Factor Israel edition whenever it is on.
Betting Odds: +185 On looks and modeling professionalism alone, Bar should be the cover model every year. I believe her personal beliefs will interfere with her chances of grabbing the cover in 2014.
Brooklyn Decker, need I say more?
Okay, like Bar Refaeli, Brooklyn Decker is a PTP’er, an All-American, an M&M’er, a mismatch for almost all other supermodels around. Decker joins Bar Refaeil and Marisa Miller as the only three models to meet all three of the qualifying criteria standards. Now it is time to revisit some of the other reasons why Brooklyn Decker is simply the best:
– She is a foodie and loves Texas sheet cake, buckeye balls (peanut butter and chocolate balls) and steak.
– She once surprised a boyfriend with floor seats to UNC/Duke
– If she was not a model, she would own a candy store.
– She is married to Andy Roddick
I only have one complaint when it comes to Brooklyn Decker. In my 2009 review, I made the plea that at the time; a graduating senior from Cal deserved his Make A Wish dream to come true…I still have yet to spend a day with Brooklyn Decker.
Betting Odds: +250 Again, like Bar, Brooklyn always deserves to be considered for a cover. I believe her odds fall a bit due to the fact that she was not in the 2012 or 2013 Swimsuit Issue. There would be no better way to return to the issue than with the cover.
Daniella Sarahyba was on her first magazine cover at the age of three days old. Yes, THREE DAYS OLD.
In 2009, I said the following about Sarahyba:
“Her smile is magical and mesmerizing. She has a playful and innocent look that is oh so desirable. She is gorgeous and outside of the cover couldn’t do much better.”
Unfortunately for Sarahyba, much like Anne V., her tenure at SI came at a time when Brooklyn Decker was making her self-known. Sarahyba has not appeared in SI since 2010 and this makes her a bit of a long shot with regards to the ’14 cover.
Sarahyba also earns much respect for being a body painting model, with a painted on hockey jersey.
Betting Odds: +750 Sarahyba has stepped away from modeling for SI the past few years to raise her young child. Unfortunately, while I think SI would be thrilled to have Daniella return in 2014, I think she has moved on from her days of being an SI model. If she were to return, I do not see it being the cover.
My biggest regret for not doing Birthright – the opportunity to meet Ms. Ginzburg. In her rookie campaign of ’09, I hailed Esti as someone with an incredibly bright future in the profession. I also still believe her statement of, “I feel sexy when I’m wearing something very sexy, like a very hot dress” to be the greatest use of honesty ever.
In 2011, I wrote that Esti is versatile with her poses and her expressions, and reminded me a lot of 2008 Bar Refaeli. While Ginzburg has also taken a brief hiatus from appearing in the SI Swimsuit Issue, I believe she will be a strong contender to return and compete for the cover.
Betting Odds: +225 Esti was only 18 when she first appeared in Sports Illustrated. After continuing to improve in each of her first three years, she is now refined and ready to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. She has a very similar appeal to Kate Upton, the only thing I feel that could get in her way is the fact that Bar is a better known version of Esti. Do not be surprised at all if Esti finds herself on a cover by the time she turns 25.
While it might be hard to notice, the 2013 also features Hannah Davis in the upper-right hand corner. As I mentioned before, previous cover insets that have found themselves on a future cover four times in recent memory. Unfortunately for Davis, the models that made that job were Marisa Miller, Brooklyn Decker, Bar Refaeli, and Kate Upton and she simply does not carry the same cache as the others do. Davis rarely smiles, and is put in positions that are not often used for cover shots. Davis is only 23, so she still has several years to challenge for a cover, but while the inset has been used as a stepping-stone for the cover, I don’t see it coming this year for Hannah Davis.
Betting Odds: +1,000 While one must recognize SI felt Davis was worth a small spot on the cover last year for a reason, I do not believe she will be taken seriously for the actual full cover spot this year, or next. Having said that, her chances remain much better than those of Quiana Grant who would be a +500,000,000 dog to net the cover at any point in time.
Irina Shayk, the 2011 SI Swimsuit Cover Model, will likely return to SI for her eighth consecutive year in 2014. Irina, the only Russian to ever land the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue, will be looking for her second cover. If SI goes the Russain route, I believe Anne V. would have the inside track again due to the fact that 2014 will be her 10th year as part of the magazine.
Betting Odds: +350 This one time cover girl just has never scored that highly in my book. After going with Kate Upton the past two years, I do not see the Irina look being the way SI goes in 2014.
In 2008, Julie’s second year posing for the Swimsuit Issue, we learned that she enjoys beer, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and sleeping naked. At around the same time, I learned I love Julie Henderson. For the next year, I no doubt got lost in what was no doubt a heavy load of junior year work. Luckily, in the 2009 edition of SI, Julie struck gold again with a myriad of poses and picture perfection and her admittance that she desperately wants to be a frequently used Victoria Secret model.
By 2011, Julie Henderson was receiving her third grade of 8.5+ and was in my books a true professional. While I did not review either the 2012 or 2013 issue, I want to take a second to note that Sports Illustrated did a terrible job highlighting the abilities of Henderson in 2013. For whatever reason, Henderson was taken away from the beach, and used in an urban environment where she was used in a way that takes away the shine in her abilities. Rather, 2012 does a fantastic job of showcasing the star potential of Julie Henderson.
I truly believe Sports Illustrated did Henderson and its loyal readers a disservice with how she was used a year ago.
Betting Odds: +175 I believe strongly that the Texan Julie Henderson has the qualities to be a cover model with Sports Illustrated. Julie has maintained a strong presence within SI (7 consecutive issues) and I believe her hard work will pay off sooner rather than later. She shares a similar bodily look to that of Irina Shayk and Kate Upton, a look that has landed the last three covers.
When Kate debuted in the 2011 issue, while I recognized her for having tremendous potential (noted she had a strong chance for the ’12 cover) I was also quite critical of her and her above the lip mole. Needless to say, Kate’s other assets clearly made SI look past the mole, and it has no doubt shot Kate Upton into someone who is instantly recognizable worldwide. I believe it is worth nothing recent comments Kate made regarding her first cover appearance
“After my first Sports Illustrated cover, I felt terrible about myself for a solid month,” she confessed. “Every single guy I met was either married or about to be married, and I felt like I was their bachelor present or something. I’m not a toy, I’m a human. I’m not here to be used. I am a grown woman, and you need to figure your s–t out.”
Simply put, Kate was pissed, while she clearly got over this feeling enough to land the cover again in ’12, I believe Upton has created potential for extreme backlash if she gets the cover again after having recently made those remarks. If Kate gets the cover, for someone who doesn’t feels the cover makes her feel like a toy, she will come off as hypocritical. Kate has the look for the cover, but I don’t see her getting it again in 2014.
Betting Odds: +185 Picture Kate as a good football team, but stuck playing on the road with key injury and facing a difficult home field advantage. While normally she might be a three-point dog, I have her closer to getting five points. There’s a chance, but I’m not counting on it.
Marisa Miller is part of the holy triumvirate that includes Brooklyn Decker and Bar Refaeli. Like the other two, Miller always deserves to be considered for the cover. I will never say anything bad about Miller, I will just point out that she is now 35 and last posed for SI in 2008. Unfortunately, I do not think it will be likely that Miller will land on the 2014 cover.
Betting Odds: +1,000 Marisa Miller will almost certainly not be on the 2014 cover, yet her potential still a few of the other candidates, she is a veteran and among the best ever.
For those that do now know Tori Praver, here are a few quick facts:
1. She enjoys modeling topless
2. She is from Maui
3. She has a boyfriend
4. She enjoys vegetarian meals such as eggplant parm
As you can see from those items above, Tori Praver has both positives and negatives about her. In 2008, I noted that she reminded me some of a younger Marisa Miller. Having recently reviewed Tori’s past performances again I must say there is one thing that greatly hampered her photos, she rarely if ever smiles. Add in the fact that she has not appeared in an issue since 2008, and I would be surprised if Tori lands on the cover next year.
Betting Odds: +1,000 I put her on the same level as Marisa Miller with regards to the likelihood of being on next years cover, I just do not see it happening. She has the “it” factor, but she seems to have lost favor within SI.
I am including a field bet with the sole purpose of being able to talk about two particular models that I believe also deserve to be considered for the cover. The first of these two models is long former Victoria Secret Angel and two-time SI model Izabel Goulart.
Now for a diatribe about how much I adore Ms. Goulart. You see, in college, I was known as “Eisey”; Izabel is known by her nickname “Izzy”, it goes without saying that we are clearly meant for each other. Further regarding Izabel, it must be said that she was bullied while attending school, HOW IS THAT HUMANLY POSSIBLE!? If this is not the perfect example of why bullying in school is dumb, then I am not sure what is. Among other things that Izzy has going for her include her ability to be pictured with fellow Angels Alessandra, Doutzen, and Miranda. Oh, and she also is the International Ambassador for the Diabetes Research Institute. She’s a humanitarian and someone who is fully qualified to be a cover model. [Also going to throw in, she learned English by watching Woody Woodpecker…]
The second model that I want to highlight with the field bet is Genevieve Morton, one of my 2011 crushes. In 2011, I wrote that, “Genevieve Morton is going to be a Sports Illustrated cover girl within the next three years” and I stand by those words. Genevieve’s 2013 appearance in SI would have graded at a level of 9+. She earns additional points in my heart for this recent retweet that shows her appreciation and love for bacon.
I know I have said this about several models, but I have a huge crush on Genevieve Morton.
Betting Odds: +375 I put the field at +375 due to the fact that I believe Genevieve Morton truly has a shot at the cover. I would also be very, very, very happy to see Izzy land the cover. I also have a small fear SI could go a different route.
I believe the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover will be given to one of Anne V., Esti Ginzburg, Julie Henderson, Kate Upton, or Genevieve Morton. While some might suggest the returning back-to-back cover model Kate Upton should be the favorite, I continue to believe that while she has had successful covers, she will be passed up this year partly due to her comments regarding her feelings about having previously been on the cover. While I would love to see Esti Ginzburg on the cover, I believe her recent absence and her recognition as the second best Israeli model will continue to hamper Esti’s chances of being on the cover.
Having narrowed the cover model possibilities to either Julie Henderson or Genevieve Morton, I am going to give the slight edge to Genevieve Morton because I believe her 2013 performance was of cover quality and because I predicted that she would be a cover model in the near future back in 2011. Genevieve, you have earned it!
Sports Illustrated, best of luck with the 2014 Swimsuit Issue, I look forward to offering my critique in February.