I WOULD SEE THESE PERFECT ORB, DOMED BOOBS ON TELEVISION, AND THINK, MINE DON'T LOOK LIKE THAT.
We had to [shoot] twice, and the paparazzi followed me for the whole shoot and blew it both times. That's why we shot it twice. We were in Barbados―we flew to this private island, and someone still followed out there and got pictures. And then we did a whole other shoot a second time that we did right after SNL. So right after SNL, I went straight to the Bahamas for another photo shoot. And we were in the middle of a sandbar in the middle of the ocean with no one around, and still someone was following me from New York, and was hiding in some bushes like a mile away with a long lens, so he still got pictures. It was really an eye opener to how you really have to be careful about being followed everywhere. I was trying to go to the most remote place in the world, I was out on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean, and they still found me. It was definitely a very new experience. When you're doing something like body paint or a nude shoot, you're making yourself very vulnerable, and you're really trusting people to really take care of you and make sure everything is very professional. Then when somebody follows you around and hides in the bushes and takes pictures of your naked butt, you can't help but feel violated.
You are a role model for a lot of people in terms of body positivity. Can you speak a little bit about that―what do you hope to be saying with this cover?
The three covers, what I think was really progressive about it, was that the three of us have completely different body types. The SI swimsuit issue really sets the social standard for what people expect the perfect woman's body to look like, and a lot of those bodies usually look the same. This is the first issue where we really have women of all different body types in their healthiest form really being celebrated in that way. I really think that this magazine is a big step in the "healthy is the new skinny" movement.
What has the reaction been like?
The reaction has been amazing because there is no woman that could look at these covers and not be like, 'That's what I could look like,' or, 'I pretty much already look like one of these chicks.' It really makes beauty seem so much more attainable to people. There have been times in my adolescence where I gave up. I was like, 'I'm just never going to be pretty. I'm never going to be like one of those people on the front of magazines.' It always seemed really strange to me that the projection of how people are in advertisements looked nothing like the people who were actually buying them. You know what I mean? I never understood that mismatch, and now I really start to see that the people you see in the media are a lot more like people actually are.
Who was the first person that you told about the cover?
The first person I told? They told the whole world at once! SI is very serious about their covers. They'll never say, like, 'Oh you got it.' So, if anything, I was anticipating on them zooming in on me, like my Leonardo DiCaprio Academy Awards moment, so I could clap for somebody else. I was like, 'All right, I'm here, I'm here to clap.' When they pulled me up on stage—it was kind of funny, the other two girls went into like acceptance speeches. And I thought I was lost! I was like, 'Really?'
I talked to Ashley about the idea that this was a progressive cover, and this is taking so many steps forward, but what else has to be done in your mind?
Well, it has to be normal. It just has to be—it was a very bold step for Sports Illustrated, and a lot of people are taking notice. I want it to be so normal that people don't even notice anymore.
My last question is: the body paint. Would you ever do it again? Where would you wear it? I'm so interested in it.
Oh my God. I had to do two different body paint jobs back to back, so I mean, I got a lot of body paint on me in a short period of time. I would definitely do it again because Joann is so brilliant, but I would definitely need, like, a good long break for it. I don't know what I would do it for, though. I don't know. Maybe…I don't know.
How long did it take to get that off?
Well, the first one, like the tiger suit, was like 20 minutes because I was rolling around in sand by the end of the day, and it was already kind of coming off. The second suit took like an hour to get it off, like the really intricate one. We had to glue all these little rhinestones and these little gold leaves to it. There were so many details and layers that made it a lot thicker. Yeah, it took like an hour. There was definitely a lot more cover with the paint than there has been in the past issue with the bikinis, but it took forever. It took forever to take it off, and I have, like, the most distinct tan line ever from it.