Ever see those incredible deserted beach backdrops in fashion shoots and wonder where they take place? The British Virgin Islands served as one of the backdrops in the 50th Anniversary edition of the iconic Sports Illustrated annual Swimsuit production, which premiered worldwide this week across the web, mobile and newsstands. Guana Island Resort, an 850-acre resort and only one of the few remaining privately owned islands in the Caribbean, provided the location for one of the 2014 swimwear editorials, which showcases three professional athletes modeling in the pristine natural beauty of the destination.
This marks the fifth appearance of the British Virgin Islands in Sports Illustrated — past shoots have featured Guana Island, Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Peter Island and Virgin Gorda. American supermodel Christie Brinkley was on the notable 1980 cover and photographed entirely on-location in Virgin Gorda by famous lensman John G. Zimmerman. The Brinkley-British Virgin Islands collaboration proved to be a best-seller, landing the 1980 production in Sports Illustrated’s Top 5 covers of all-time.
Though the BVI is no stranger to hosting Olympians—native Peter Adam Crook recently represented the BVI in the 2014 Winter Olympics—this year’s shoot features three different professional athletes as models, shot by acclaimed photographer Adam Franzino: professional soccer player and Olympic Gold Medalist Alex Morgan, WNBA star Skylar Diggins and professional surfer Anastasia Ashley. In the production, Ms. Morgan is shown wearing an Ola Vida swimsuit, while Ms. Diggins models a Belusso design and Ms. Ashley dons a San Lorenzo suit.
Ms. Morgan was quoted discussing her visit to the British Virgin Islands, “This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The culture, the beaches, the food…it’s unlike anywhere else in the world.”
One of the territory’s most forward-thinking private island destinations, the majority of Guana Island is covered in verdant forests coating rolling hills, deep valleys and mountainous peaks. Characterized by its commitment to world-class hospitality in an environmentally pristine setting, Guana Island accommodates no more than 35 guests at a time in its discretely luxurious villas and cottages. Long known for its secluded, white-sand beaches and personalized service, Guana has also become a destination for epicurean travelers, who are drawn by the island’s restaurant, overseen by Executive Chef Xavier Amau, and his menus made with locally sourced ingredients.