The Story Behind the Famous Photos of Jasmine Sanders and the Giant Elephant in Bali

The Story Behind the Famous Photos of Jasmine Sanders and the Giant Elephant in Bali

The 2020 cover model looked as striking as the majestic creature itself.

Social & Lifestyle

In 2020, Jasmine Sanders traveled with the SI Swimsuit team to Bali in what would be a memorable photo shoot for the German-born model. Not only did the location yield the cover image for the issue, but it also provided Sanders a brush with a big local celebrity. (Emphasis on big.)

Sanders was beyond excited to find out she’d be posing with an Asian elephant. As photographer Yu Tsai called for the endangered creature, the sound of cicadas and birds filled the air.

“I’m literally like a kid in a candy store,” an elated Sanders said. “This is so crazy. I can’t wait to tell my parents.”

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Sanders posed with ease. If she had any trepidations about modeling next to such a large animal, she didn’t let it show. It may come as a surprise, but this is not the first time an SI Swimsuit model has been photographed with an elephant. In 2000, Heidi Klum was captured lying on top of an elephant in Malaysia.

Christie Brinkley became a staunch supporter of the species after her SI Swimsuit shoot in Kenya in 1989. “I found myself eye to eye with a surprised and angry mother protecting her baby,” she said in 2017. “She raised her trunk and trumpeted a warning! I knew from that day forward I would always love and try to do my part to protect this matriarchal society of loving, intelligent, majestic animals.”

These images showcase the enduring appeal of the majesty of elephants, especially when contrasted alongside modern fashion icons. The 2020 photographs of Sanders in Bali are no exception.