Sports journalist and ex-Sports Illustrated editor Roy Johnson had the rumor scoop, and now we see he was right: Beyoncé is the 2007 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover model. The “model” part is the point of contention for some media machers like Nikki Finke, who uses the occasion to note that Hollywood is knocking legitimate models off covers across the newsstand.
This is hardly a new phenomenon — recognizable faces sell magazines, at least that’s the industry’s prevailing thought. Who created the rule that you have to be a “model” before becoming a “star”? Sports Illustrated is doing a few things with Beyoncé — trying to sell magazines (which isn’t hard — the swimsuit issue has averaged roughly 1.2 million copies sold since 2004) and, of course, sell ads. A partnership with iTunes, for instance, could explain why the magazine decided to also make it a “music issue.”
The other part of the equation is the elusive “buzz” factor — which bells and whistles such as iTunes (remember the 2006 reality show on NBC?) and, yes, Jay-Z‘s girl on the cover help generate. The buzz, and issue, has turned into its own cottage industry.
So, is Beyoncé a “model” in the traditional sense? Of course not. But she’s music. She’s Hollywood. Does it really matter?