Russia's Irina Shayk gets Sports Illustrated cover

LOS ANGELES Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:20pm EST

LOS ANGELES Feb 15 (Reuters) - Russian beauty Irina Shayk strips down to a pink and yellow bikini for the cover of Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit edition, which has heightened the profiles of models from Brooklyn Decker to Christie Brinkley.

Shayk is the first Russian model to grace the cover of the widely-anticipated swimsuit issue that is available not just at newsstands on Tuesday, but also on iPads, mobile phones and even television with new apps for the digital reader.

"It's a part of the modern world to use these technologies, and I think our readers, and viewers, can have the issue come alive in so many new ways, now," said Diane Smith, senior editor of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

The edition hits newsstands annually in the dead of North America's winter, offering a glimpse of hope to readers that warmer weather -- and sunny days at the beach that go with it -- is only weeks away. It is one of the most widely-read magazine editions of the year.

This year, Sports Illustrated took Shayk and numerous other swimsuit models including Decker, Cintia Dicker, Julie Henderson, Genevieve Morton and Jessica White to exotic beaches around the world for their photo shoots. Shayk is sitting on the sandy beaches of Maui in Hawaii for her pictures.

Smith said Shayk was chosen for the cover for several reasons, not the least of which is her beauty, but also because the sun, sand and shimmering water were captured by photography Bjorn Iooss in that one "magic moment" photographers covet.

Smith added that this year, the models went to more exotic and far off locales than ever.

Along with the new locations come apps that allow viewers, to see the models in different ways. Apps include "Models Make You LOL" in which some of the women test their comedy skills, "School Daze" that includes old school yearbook and childhood photos of the models, and "New Dimension" billed as a 3D video shoot.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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