NEW YORK - 2013 will be the final year Sports Illustrated uses real, live models for their annual swimsuit issue. SI's CEO, Richard Gilspin, confirmed to reporters Thursday that starting in 2014, all swimsuits will be worn by mannequins.
"The benefits are twofold: increase profitability by reducing the costs of hiring these expensive models, and even more importantly, this gives us an opportunity to get back to our roots and focus on what SI is all about - selling swimsuits," explained Gilspin.
The CEO went on to say that SI originally started in 1897 as a swimsuit retail shop based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. "During the winter months, the company experienced stalled sales, so our founder took to doing write-ups of local cock fights, which became immensely popular. Our hearts were never in sports and they still aren't - I think that comes across pretty clearly to our readers."
SI cover girl Kate Upton was "disappointed" to hear of the switch. "I'm sad, sure. But SI is using me and a couple other girls for molding the new mannequins, so we'll still have our employee cell phones and health insurance coverage for at least two more weeks," Upton said in a statement released by her publicist.
Gilspin vowed that the styles and colors swimsuit customers have come to know and love from SI will remain intact. "We'll even be adding an argyle pattern next year."
Shares of SI were down 97% in after-hours trading Thursday night.