Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2011 Irina Shayk cover unveiled early via Twitter

sports-illustrated-swimsuit-issue-cover-irina-shaykNobody can keep a secret these days — especially when that secret involves the most hotly-anticipated magazine cover of the year: The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

According to the original plan, Sports Illustrated intended to ceremoniously unveil its top-secret new Swimsuit Issue cover, which features Russian supermodel Irina Shayk, during last night’s episode of the “Late Show with David Letterman.” They did so by posting the cover on a giant billboard outside the Letterman studios.

Unfortunately for SI, the news was hastily outed by one rascally Twitter user, Rana Wardlaw, who noticed the billboard outside of her office when it was uncovered for the filming of the show earlier in the day. She took a picture of the billboard with her phone and, luckily for any fans of supermodels in bathing suits out there, posted the photo to her Twitter account with the message, “New SI swimsuit coverrrr!!!!”

“I saw it from my office window,” Wardlaw told the Huffington Post. “I work at a media agency called Starcom Worldwide. They unveiled the billboard for a few minutes to tape it for the Letterman Show and then covered it back up. I guess they didn’t cover it fast enough!”

This isn’t the first time the Sports Illustrated cover has been outed early because of the Letterman billboard stunt. In 2009, the editors of COEDMagazine.com were able to catch an early glimpse (NSFW) of that year’s Swimsuit Issue cover, which featured Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, during the filming of the “Late Show.”

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In this age of ubiquitous cameras, when nearly everyone has the ability to instantly publish news, pictures and videos to the Internet — and thus, to the entire world — you would think that information as tightly-controlled as the Swimsuit Issue cover wouldn’t be plastered on a billboard in the middle of New York City’s most highly-trafficked area, where anyone could just post it to Twitter. But, apparently, you’d be wrong.