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‘Auntie’s Face Though’: Photos from Gayle King’s SI Swimsuit Cover Go Left After Fans Zoom In on Her Facial Expression

Emmy-winning broadcast journalist Gayle King has stunned the world as the latest model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.

While her comment section brims with congratulations from friends, fans, and fellow celebrities, the 69-year-old says she would have never done it if her support system had not backed up her wild decision to pose for the magazine.

Gayle King shocks fans with her revealing SI swimsuit cover.
Gayle King shocks fans with her revealing SI swimsuit cover. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/WireImage)

Prior to accepting the invitation to be featured in a bathing suit for the 60th-anniversary edition, King’s best friend Oprah Winfrey encouraged her to “go for it.”

Little did the host, Oprah, her children or anyone in her circle know that she would grace the cover. In fact, the Chevy Chase, Maryland, native found out like everyone else on her morning talk show, “CBS This Morning.”

At the beginning of the segment, King presented supermodels Kate Upton and Hunter McGrady with the first viewing of the individual covers. Then something shocking happened, the producers of the show and editors brought her cover out live on television.

She squealed in a mixture of excitement, pride, and disbelief, clapping as they gave her the magazine.

“I’m on the cover,” King said with a huge smile. “They told me I was going to be on the inside.”

Her co-host Nate Burleson added, “You are officially a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl.”

She then asked, “This is going to be on the newsstand?” clutching the cover to her chest, before saying over and over again, “Oh my God!”

Even as Burleson tried to bring up the significance of the moment, she was so overwhelmed by her cover appearing on the larger screen that she totally ignored him.

King politely interrupted and said, “I can’t speak. Let me just look at her.”

Co-host Tony Dokoupil also let her know that she was on the cover of the Legends issue alongside Martha Stewart, Christie Brinkley, Kate Upton, Tyra Banks, Winnie Harlow, Chrissy Teigen, and many more.

“You’re talking to somebody who my grandmother said to me, ‘Mother nature was not as kind to you as she was to other little girls. Maybe you need to start wearing makeup like your friend Ophree.’ ‘Cause Oprah and I were friends back then,” said King. “I just never saw myself this way, still don’t see myself this way. But when I look at that I go I look damn good.”

She said she insisted she didn’t “want any retouching” other than correcting the dimples in her thighs.

When discussing what led to her boldly showing off her bodacious body, King also shared Oprah’s reaction to her photos.

“Oprah said, ‘You and I have two different ideas of fun. You would enjoy that.’ I go, ‘I do, I do,” she said in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Rachel Smith. “But she said, ‘It’s so you, you should go for it,’ and I do feel it’s going for it.”

“If Oprah, favorite daughter Kirby, favorite son-in-law and favorite son, if any of them said, ‘Eh, I don’t think you should do it,’ it would have given me pause, but nobody said that,” she added.

On an Instagram post, shared by both Oprah Daily and King’s personal profile, that showed the behind-the-scenes looks of the SI photo shoot, many weighed in with their congratulations.

Celebrity cheerleaders were waving their virtual pompoms.

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross wrote, “LOVE YOU AND LOVE THIS ….GORGEOUS HOT FIRE.” Then, filmmaker Ava DuVernay chimed in, “Joining the chorus of cheers! Yessss!”

Many said King looked “confused” and “uncomfortable” in her facial expressions, writing, “Auntie’s face though.” At almost 70, Gayle proved to be a little more brave than her famous sister from another mister.

A few others suggested her bestie it the one who helped her land the cover including one who said, “Tell me Oprah pulled some strings without telling me Oprah pulled some strings.”

Gayle said never in her “wildest dreams” would she have ever thought they would bestow on her the honor, saluting the magazine for its progressive stance for extending the opportunity to an older Black woman.

“I can’t tell you what this means to me. I think it speaks to what Sports Illustrated is and its terms of range of color, age, ethnicity and then all the wide variety of jobs that everybody does,” she said.

Pretty and proud, Gayle made her own post— with no collaborations and no filtered voices — saying how she felt about finding out. She wrote in part, “I’m having a pretty good day.”

The issue will also include Kate Upton, Chrissy Teigen, Hunter McGrady and three others on select covers. The issue will available on Friday, May 17, wherever actual magazines are still sold.

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