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The big reveal of the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue was supposed to occur Tuesday evening on the Late Show With David Letterman but thanks to a quick thinking media agency employee — the proverbial cat it out of the bag early.

Rana Wardlaw, who works at Starcom Worldwide, could see from her office window that workers had uncovered the large billboard featuring Russian model Irina Shayk on the cover of SI.

The resourceful woman quickly captured the moment with her cell phone camera while a ground crew was recording a film clip to be used tonight by David Letterman. The super sexy billboard image didn’t remain visible for long before workers replaced the large canvas tarp.

So just who is the lovely Irina Shayk? She is 25, stands 5 foot 10 inches, wears a size 4 and is under contract with IMG Models. The first Russian model to appear on the cover of the SI Swimsuit edition, Shayk didn’t find out she was this year’s ‘It Girl’ until Monday – during the Letterman taping.

Irina is the face of Armani Exchange, has appeared on 10 international magazine covers and was named the Top International Model of the Year by Conde Nast in Spain.

In her spare time, the lovely supermodel dates international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.

More photos from the Letterman taping and Wardlaw’s candid below. We’ve also included Irina’s SI photo shoot videos from 2009 and 2010:

Photos: WENN