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Sports Illustrated Swim Beach: Everything You Need to Know

Plus, a little chat with Chanel Iman and Hannah Ferguson on first bikinis and toe rings.

Getty/Johnny Louis

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is on the cusp of its 2016 launch and it's celebrating with a fan-filled party on February 17th and 18th, dubbed "Swim Beach."

The SI Swimsuit fan festival drew more than 65,000 attendees in its first year (2015) and this year promises to be bigger and better. Taking place at Lummus Park, the event is free and open to the public and will feature a ton of cool, Miami-approved activities in a tent city. From live music to social media hubs in the form of bungalow photo booths, you'll get a chance to party by the beach (or inside a VIP Lexus Lounge) if that's your thing. At every corner of the party, you'll have a chance to mingle with them and the rest of this year's impossibly beautiful cast. Live Q&As, autograph sessions, and even a chance to have one of them shave you at the Hydro Barbershop stand will give party-goers and fans the opportunity to see these long-legged beauties as real people.

Brendan Ripp, publisher of Sports Illustrated, wanted Miami to be the spot for this major model event. "There's no better beach to celebrate the issue than Miami Beach," he said in a press conference in Miami on Wednesday. He also dubbed it the "Oscars of Swimwear," because once the issue drops, women want to scoop up all the swimsuits for themselves. Last year's cover bikini came from local swimwear line Indie Soul, and the brand (with a Brickell boutique) touts this as its best seller of the year.

Also at the press conference were SI veterans Chanel Iman and Hanna Ferguson, who promise that the fest (and issue) will live up to its reputation. "A whole lot of sexy can be expected in the new issue," said Ferguson. "SI is all about the empowering, sexy woman."

The two remained mum on details of their 2016 shoots, however Ferguson did mention that this was her favorite shoot she's ever done for Sports Illustrated. Both models are excited for their fan event in Miami because it gives them a chance to meet all their fans. In the meantime, we were able to score some fun details from them regarding their beach habits and first swimsuits....

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Do you remember your first bikini?

Chanel Iman: Yes, I do. It was a pink one. It was a one piece with a little palm tree in the center. And I must've been about one. Two maybe. [Laughs]

Hannah Ferguson: No, I don't because when I was a kid my parents always made me wear one pieces, so I grew up wearing one pieces. Whenever I would go to my best friend's house, she would let me put on her bikinis, so we'd go into her backyard and tan. I felt so cool because I was wearing a bikini for once, but I don't even remember the first time I wore one.

Chanel, do you still have it?

CI: Yeah, I do. [Laughs] I actually might do a throwback.

Oh my god, that would be amazing.

CI: Yeah, if you follow me on Instagram, you might see that little one piece.

I already do! So what was something that excited you most about this year's issue of Sports Illustrated?

CI: Well, every year is just incredible you know. To get a phone call in from Sports illustrated– it just hits you. You feel very proud and just excited. It's one of my favorite shoots to do every year. They just go to the best locations and the coolest crews that you'll ever work with. And I'm actually one of their girls!

What are some of your beach essentials?

CI: Well, I like beach bags. And sandals. Cute little sandals or shades with colored lenses. When I'm wearing my swim pieces, I love also like jewelry like dainty cute jewelry.
HF: Body chains!
CI: Bracelets, rings– I feel like that's what makes the whole sexy bikini beach, effortless glowy, look on the beach.
HF: I agree. It makes 100 percent of a difference. You buy a body chain or an anklet or both, little studs or hoops.
CI: I think I want to bring back the toe ring.

Omg yes! Maybe like mood toe rings.
CI: Yeah! Maybe for the launch. 

SI Swim Beach will take place on Wednesday, February 17th and Thursday, February 18th from 11am to 5pm at Lummus Park. The entrance will be located on 8th and Ocean Drive.