Tyra Banks feels proud to have inspired new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue star Danielle Herrington.

The 44-year-old model was the first ever African-American woman to be featured on the cover of the iconic magazine, and she is thrilled that Danielle - who appears on this year's cover - has followed in her footsteps.

Tyra - who served as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue cover girl for two consecutive years, in 1996 and 1997 - said: ''It means everything for me, because I didn't dream of being on the cover because I didn't think it was possible. I'd never seen a black model on the cover, so I didn't dream that.

''But Danielle did dream it because she saw me.''

And Danielle, 24 - who is the third black woman to have had the honour of appearing on the front of the magazine after Tyra and Beyonce - admitted she feels inspired by the American TV star.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Danielle shared: ''She paved the way for me.

''This is my idol ... she's so cool and so smart, and I feel like she's always thinking about the next thing. [She is] just so business-oriented, and that's how I want to be. I want to be a businesswoman like her.''

Tyra - who started modelling at the age of 15 - also revealed she is eager to help guide Danielle through her career.

She said: ''We kind of talked about this, but like, this is a moment and all eyes are on you.

''There's all of these things that you do with strategy to make sure their eyes stay on you. And you don't have to be gutter and crazy to do it. We're going to strategise.''