The 2006 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Swimsuit Issue features 25 of the world’s most beautiful supermodels, including eight who grace this year’s cover, posing at spectacular locations around the world. The eight models who appear on the cover are Carolyn Murphy, Daniela Pestova, Elle Macpherson, Elsa Benitez, Rachel Hunter, Rebecca Romijn, Veronica Varekova and Yamila Diaz-Rahi.

In addition to 25 supermodels, this is the ninth consecutive year the issue has featured a figure from the world of sports. The only athlete to grace the pages of this year’s issue is tennis superstar Maria Sharapova.

This year’s issue is the eighth orchestrated by Senior Editor Diane Smith. The annual search for paradisiacal locales took the magazine to eight exotic locations: Harbour Island and Cat Island in the Bahamas, Hollywood, Huahine in French Polyneisa, Las Vegas, Colombia, Palm Springs and Turks & Caicos.

In Palm Springs, 2003 cover model Petra Nemcova posed in her first SI shoot since surviving last year’s Asian tsunami. Nemcova is also the subject of SI columnist Rick Reilly’s back-page story, “Petra Shines On”.

Veteran SI starlets Anne V and Noemie Lenoir hit the Hollywood hills and the streets of Los Angeles with rookie Yesica Toscanini. SI favorites Ana Beatriz Barros, Fernanda Motta and Mallory Snyder joined first-timer Aline Nakashima in stunning Huahine in French Polynesia. Molly Sims, star of NBC’s Las Vegas, posed all around Sin City, including the roulette tables. Colombia’s San Pedro de Majagua played host to rookies Brooklyn Decker & Pania Rose and second-year SI model Oluchi Onweagba. SI veterans Bridget Hall, Daniella Sarahyba and Marisa Miller welcomed newcomer Carla Campbell to the white sand beaches of Cat Island in the Bahamas.

Body paint artist Joanne Gair has sprayed and brushed swimsuits on some of the world’s most beautiful women for SI since 1999. This year her inspiration is 1998 cover model Heidi Klum. Gair, who also photographed the spread, styled Heidi as a glamour girl of old Hollywood in four captivating suits and sexy poses.