Danielle Herrington says Tyra Banks was one of her childhood inspirations.

The 24-year-old beauty appears on the cover of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and Danielle feels especially proud of her achievement as it means she's joined Tyra as one of only three black women to have been chosen as the cover girl.

She told People magazine: ''I just remember Tyra Banks being on the cover and that's where it all started for me.

''That's what really made me pursue modeling. SI was a goal from that point, from seeing Tyra on the cover. It was love at first sight.''

The only other black woman to appear on the magazine's cover was Beyonce back in 2007.

But MJ Day, who is the Editor of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, thinks Danielle became the obvious candidate for the role after she appeared in Sports Illustrated Swim's Rookie Class last year.

She explained: ''Last year, Danielle was a rookie, and yet already an exemplary model.

''She's an extra hard worker and a natural brand ambassador. All those things separately don't guarantee a cover, though. Danielle was a shy girl, who went from taking her first photos last year to showing up this year a completely different person. All the good things about her seemed to be magnified.''

And MJ doesn't have any regrets about selecting Danielle as this year's cover girl.

She said: ''She owned every single second of her shoot.

''She had an enthusiasm and effervescence about her - I felt like I was meeting her for the first time. Last year she showed up never expecting to be there; this year she showed up completely claiming her place and status as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model.''