Despite glaring evidence to the contrary on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, 2015 is the year of the torso.

Honest.

That’s what model Hannah Davis proclaimed when asked about a controversial cover photo in which she is wearing a bikini that is skimpy even by SI’s standards. When she appeared on the “Today” show Monday to discuss it, the show photoshopped a big, red ribbon over her nether region.

“I think you’re making it look a lot naughtier than it really is, to be honest,” Davis told Matt Lauer. “To be honest, I think SI always tries to do something a little different every year, and I think this year, it’s the year of the torso.”


Hannah Davis appears on the latest cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue which goes on sale February 9th. (Ben Watts/Sports Illustrated)

We’ll take Derek Jeter’s girlfriend’s word for it because it isn’t as if there is a dearth of torsos in the annual issue. To name two, we have Ronda Rousey and Caroline Wozniacki, who gives a sultry “come hither, but not you, Rory” look to the photographer.

All of which means that it may or may not be the year of the torso, but this much is true: It’s SI getting attention for its cover again and doing it masterfully. A year ago, not that many remember, it was Barbie on the cover that had people questioning the message the magazine was sending to young girls about body image and self-regard.

“The swimsuit issue is fine,” Eve Vawter of Mommyish.com writes. “If you don’t want to see it, don’t look at it, don’t buy it, whatever. But adding Barbie to the lineup of impossibly gorgeous, airbrushed beauties doesn’t do a lot for the self-esteem of young girls. It just doesn’t.”

This year, it’s about whether SI went too low with the cover. What will next year bring?