Banks told Entertainment Tonight that even though she is over ten kilograms heavier than when she was first on the cover of Sports Illustrated, she is celebrating being "real". This fits in with the issue’s theme, "shattering perceptions", which also features a model in a burkini and a hijab as well as a 54-year old former SI swimsuit model.
She also told the publication that her obsession with ‘firsts’ has meant that she is always on the lookout to open doors for others and get them into spaces that they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to be in. That’s how photographer Laretta Houston became the first black women to shoot an SI Swimsuit. According to Banks, she discovered Houston on Instagram after purposely looking for a black female photographer.
“I spoke to MJ [Day], the editor of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, and I said, 'MJ, you guys changed my life. Twenty-two years ago, you put me on that cover and then you put me on again. Overnight, it changed my life. It gave me such a powerful platform, and now I want to change somebody's life. I want us to find an African American, female photographer.”