There’s a theme here: only light/Eurocentric black women are allowed on SI’s cover.
As noted by USA Today, the 24-year-old first appeared in the magazine’s swimsuit issue last year. SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day called Herrington a “natural brand ambassador.”
SI shared an Instagram video of Herrington learning from Banks that she was on the 2018 cover.
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THANK YOU @si_swimsuit for having me on your COVER. This is my first cover ever and I am beyond speechless! I dedicate this to all the young girls out there. Work hard, surround yourself with good people who believe in you and your DREAMS WILL COME TRUE! To @mj_day and your amazing team at @si_swimsuit #FamilyForever, thank you! To my my parents, family and friends, I LOVE YOU, thank you! To my agent @sandrasperka thank you for not only being the best agent, but also my mentor and friend! To @bodybymato for supporting me for the last 2 years and always being there for me! To my agency @women360mgmt you guys are the bomb! I am the luckiest and most grateful girl DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. BE RESPECTFUL. LOVE EACH OTHER. OWN IT!
“I can’t even believe I’m saying this. I am the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model,” Herrington told SI. “I can’t wait for everyone to see it. I’m emotional, but I just want to say thank you to everyone who believed in me. I put in so much work for this, and I’m feeling very accomplished, happy and excited.”
While at ‘GMA‘, she received a very special message from predecessor and pioneer Banks:
So many little girls are looking at you and saying, “Oh, my gosh, that could be me one day.” There are so many people telling little girls that look like us that we’re not good enough and that we can’t achieve our goals. But by them looking at me back in the day and looking at you now, you are the living embodiment to say that dreams do come true.