By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sports Illustrated magazine on Thursday unveiled its annual swimsuit issue with models Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge and Chrissy Teigen on the cover of its 50th anniversary edition.
Agdal, 21, from Denmark, and Americans Teigen and Aldridge, both 28, are the latest models to win a spot on the cover of the magazine's swimsuit issue, which has boasted the likes of Heidi Klum, Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks and Kate Upton on its cover early in their careers.
The three models, wearing just bikini bottoms and knee-deep in light blue water, coyly turn their heads and smile with their backsides facing the camera on the cover.
Aldridge, who is best known as a Victoria's Secret underwear model, is the first Sports Illustrated model to grace the cover in her first appearance in the magazine since Klum did so in 1998.
The 50th anniversary cover that is seen by some 70 million readers in the magazine, online and on mobile devices was unveiled on ABC's late night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition will be released on February 18 and is the most widely read edition each year of the magazine, which is owned by Time Warner Inc. Being on the cover or inside its pages can launch a career for a model.
This year's golden anniversary issue will feature 22 former models, including 1964 inaugural cover model Babette March, 1970s supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, 1980s cover models Kathy Ireland and Paulina Porizkova as well as recent cover models Brooklyn Decker and Petra Nemcova.
Joining generations of swimwear models in the issue will be a pictorial spread of the plastic Barbie doll, who will appear in the black-and-white swimsuit the Mattel Inc figurine wore in her 1959 debut.
(This version of the story corrects ownership of Sports Illustrated to Time Warner Inc from Time Warner Cable Inc)
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)