Davis, 24, raised eyebrows because she is pulling her bikini bottom down in the photo as low as it can get without just taking them off.
The move is in line with the magazine’s trend in recent years to more and more nudity among the women who pose for the iconic issue.
It’s facing stiff competition from publications like the Victoria’s Secret swimsuit catalog and ESPN’s “Nude” issue, which features athletes in the buff.
The cover was unveiled last night on the “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, a departure from previous years, when David Letterman traditionally revealed the cover.
@ELLEmagazine I think I am getting old – Finding it quite racy. Kate Upton's look like convent adverts in comparison.
— Christina Sandkühler (@Byronxxi) February 5, 2015
— Marc Malkin (@marcmalkin) February 5, 2015
Fallon did it with much fanfare, revealing the cover, which was hidden behind a curtain and a black drop cloth.
“You know they always keep the cover of the swimsuit edition a big secret and it’s almost impossible to get an advance copy of the magazine” he said.
But this is the ‘Tonight Show’ and we’re in Los Angeles. We like to make the impossible possible; let’s bring it out,” he added to wild cheers.
When the cover was unveiled, however, the audience reaction was more muted. “Whoa, there she is,” he gasped. “Oh, my goodness!”
The cover line on the issue is “American Beautiful,” with a subhead that is an obvious double entendre: “Hannah Davis Goes Down South to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.”
Davis actually was born an grew up in grew up in Saint Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The willowy five-foot, ten-inch tall model is a top tennis player and played on the Caribbean National tennis team. She dated Yankee slugger Derek Jeter for two years from 2012 until last year.
Professionally, she’s best known for her work for Ralph Lauren and has also modeled for Victoria’s Secret as well as American Eagle Outfitters, Tommy Hilfiger and Levi’s.
She debuted in the 2013 swimsuit issue and posed topless in some photos.
Check out the video below and Hannah’s photo. Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest celebrity news.