Ravishing Rebecca Romijn went from being a down-to-earth girl in Birkenstocks to a larger than life sex symbol wearing practically nothing. An amazing transformation, especially since Rebecca’s body, once made her the target of teenage talks.
Rebecca Romijn: I got called “Strange being”, you know, all the standard skinny kid names that they give you. Kids can be mean.
How did this gawky girl blossom into an uninhibited Victoria’s Secret vixen? How did she snag one of TV’s hunkiest heart drops?
Rebecca Romijn: I was in heaven when I kissed him for the first time.
And what is the tremendous talent that earned her a scholarship and might just launch her on an exciting new career? Coming up on “Model”: Get wild with the irrepressible Rebecca Romijn from shy girl to blonde bombshell.
As a child, Rebecca Romijn hated showing off her body, now that body fills the pages of Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated. In the 1996 Swimsuit Issue, Rebecca appeared on more pages than any other model. She is the only model to appear in People’s 1997 50 Most Beautiful Issue and in TV Spots for Miller Lite she steams up the screen as a full figured fantasy come to life.
Rebecca Romijn: Hi, I’m Rebecca Romijn, want to spent a few days with me at the next Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot. You could make a difference here.
But what really grabbed the world’s attention was a nearly naked photo with basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman.
Rebecca Romijn: I did it because I thought it was very humorous. I liked the concept of it. I thought it was funny, you know, the bathing suit issue and it was fun. I was glad I did it.
With that scandalous cover this one time granola girl shed her politically correct views, misgivings about flaunting her figure vanished as she became a full blown sex symbol and liked it.
Rebecca Romijn: I used to have, like this weird inner turmoils about it. At a certain point you have to leg off everything and just enjoy yourself.
But more than just letting go, she is belting it out, hoping to jump start a new career.
Raven Raetze (Rebecca’s Friend): She has a, I think, she has a very, a wonderful voice. Soprano, you know, very pretty, almost angelic.
Rebecca Romijn: I was a Berkeley baby off course, cause my mother made me my first birthday cake without sugar.
Not destined to be a glamour goddess, Rebecca led an earthy early life in the capital of the counter culture, Berkeley, California.
Rebecca Romijn: The hippie movement was all here and this is where my dad came as an artist and my mom wanted to be a teacher and being raised by a European artist in this place with all these other hippie parents and their kids, it was just like this very sort of carefree, you know, this very relaxed environment.
But Rebecca wasn’t always so care-free. Her long lengthy limps made her insecure.
Rebecca Romijn: I really wanted to be on the swimteam, but I was like, so embarrassed about my body and so self conscious, because I was so skinny, I never wanted to put on a bathing suit in front of other people.
Jennifer Steinman (Rebecca’s friend): Rebecca was really tall, she was really thin. She always used to wear six pairs of long johns cover her legs and she always insisted that her legs, were like too skinny and I was like, what is the problem?
Rebecca Romijn: Berkeley High, fifteen years old.
Elizabeth Kuizenga (Rebecca’s mother): This was well, there is nothing I can tell, she is a teenager and every teenager is gonna find something wrong with their body, their own body and she is gonna find out that this is what people like and I wanna be surprised where she makes all the money from.
But money and modeling wouldn’t come until much later. Rebecca was determined to go to US Santa Cruz and her voice made it all possible.
Jaap Romijn (Rebecca’s father): She sang her way into college. They penciled her right in and sang her way into college. I think it is pretty unique. I think it is very…, Rebecca has always been very creative in coming up with solutions.
And when she needed money Rebecca had a solution for that too.
Elizabeth Kuizenga: She was in college and she was trying to think of a part-time job. She was getting sick of being poor and so, everything she could think of just didn’t appeal to her, sound like too much work for too little money.
Rebecca Romijn: I had this friend who was with an agency in San Francisco and she kept asking me to come and meet her agent there and so finally one day, I was like, all right I have no money, I have nothing to do this summer, why don’t I just go and check it out?
The agency took some shots of Rebecca who soon caught the expert eye of a Parisian talent scout. He convinced her to spent this summer working at the Karin agency in Paris.
Elizabeth Kuizenga: She made a big hit that first summer in Paris and decided not to… They said, you got to stay.
Confused about whether to trade her education for life in the fast lane, Rebecca turned to her French agent for advice.
Jean Luc Brunnel (Rebecca’s Paris agent): Then I said, why don’t you just do something? You just quit school for one year, if it works out then you keep doing your business and if it doesn’t work than you go back to college. She said finally, let me think about it.
Elizabeth Kuizenga: She is not into struggle and hardship, she’s always been a fun lover.
From Victoria’s Secret to Sports Illustrated, sexy supermodel Rebecca Romijn has the best body in the business, but growing up in Berkeley, California, she agonized over her stick-thin figure. Once she filled out, she took a chance on modeling, a chance that led her to the city of lights.
Rebecca Romijn: I never wanted to be a model and when I moved to Paris I didn’t really liked it that much. I loved being overseas, I loved the traveling aspect, I loved being there everything. I always vowed that if it didn’t go well, I wasn’t going to be one of those models, who pounded pavement for three years waiting to get that one break, you know.
At first Rebecca was an unlikely candidate for success.
Rebecca Romijn: I came in my rift up jeans and Birkenstocks. Nobody got it, except for Jean Luc Brunnell.
Agent Jean Luc Brunnell believed in Rebecca so much, he risked his own reputation to get her a job.
Jean Luc Brunnell: I told the photographer, you have to book that girl. Well, she is too new, she is too…, I said, you know what, you take her, if she is not right, I pay the trip, I pay everything. So, I just speak with my clients, I remember it, like it was yesterday. I laughed the photographer in my office and I said, you don’t leave that office before she gets booked.
Photographers all over Paris were soon clammering for Rebecca.
Jean Luc Brunnell: Her body is perfect from head to toes. Her face has a perfect booth structure. How can you miss? It is impossible.
Word traveled fast. In no time, the worlds leading lingerie company Victoria’s Secret wanted a piece of the action.
Antoine Verglas (Photographer): I love those pics. She brings a lot of energy to a shooting. That is nice.
Photographer Antoine Verglas was soon snapping Rebecca for the career-making Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
Antoine Verglas: She is…, you know and I think it is true that European, not all of them, but most of them, they are used to be topless on the beach. She is very, I guess she is very self confident with herself. She is very self confident about her body.
But that confidence didn’t translate to the runway. Rebecca found herself reverting back to her days as the shy girl.
Rebecca Romijn: This is a show about, you know, not about the clothes, seeing the clothes, but more about the women in the clothes and their bodies. Doing that Victoria’s Secret show was such like a…, It was really nerve recking, like for an hour before the show, I was like, okay, making sure everything is tucked and right, hold your breath, suck it all in and go.
But with the Victoria’s Secret team behind her, Rebecca overcame her fears.
Rebecca Romijn: If I had somebody like a family in the business, it’s them, they are so wonderful, they are so fun, we have such a good time together, like every trip we’re on.
Bonnie Maller (Makeup artist): Rebecca doesn’t go for this beautiful girl, she just hang around and be beautiful. That is why I like her, because her big mouth, basically.
Maury Hopson (Hair dresser): I’m always happy when I tell her, Rebecca is gonna be there.
Rebecca Romijn: Oh, you’re just saying that because the camera is on you.
The same year she lit up Victoria’s Secret, Rebecca got the chance to make another big splash.
Rebecca Romijn: I think that Sports Illustrated is really like an American tradition now, and you know, it’s around for thirty-three years and I feel really lucky to be a part of it.
But more than just being a part of the 1996 Swimsuit Issue, Rebecca was the main attraction.
Jule Campbell (Senior Editor): When people say, why did they use Rebecca, so often, then I think it is quite obvious. Every suit looked fantastic on her.
Rebecca Romijn: The shooting itself, posing is not that tough, to be honest with you, but the traveling and, you know, the negotiating, you know, adjusting yourself to the time differences, that is the rough part. I mean and that does get really trying.
But not so trying that she couldn’t take time for a swanky … in New York. Glancing across the room, Rebecca caught sight of TV heart drop John Stamos and her life changed forever.
Tamara Romijn (Rebecca’s sister): She just called me up and told me, he is the nicest guy. I just met the nicest guy.
Rebecca Romijn: He sort of made friends with my roommate and got my phone number that way and started calling me initially and then, we like had this great phone relationship. We just spent hours and hours on the phone and like after about three months of that, I finally came out to L.A. for work and I was like, “Hi I’m here” Wanna go get some coffee or something and that is how it started from there.
Rebecca was living a charmed life and now even love was in her sights.
Rebecca Romijn: I think that is one thing that modeling is really helped me with is being… I really, you know, become, really self confident about my physical self.
Rebecca Romijn has reason to be confident. Her amazing body made her the first lady of lingerie and the sexy sweetheart of swimwear but would there be room in her hectic life for a red hot lover?
Jaap Romijn: Becca and John, they both have this energy. The’re two fireballs.
After months of flirting on the phone, Rebecca finally got together for coffee with John Stamos. The two made a glamorous pair. She, a supermodel. He, a hunky heart drop, thanks to roles on TV’s General Hospital and Full House. Rebecca was smitten.
Tamara Romijn: I could tell, she adored him from the very beginning. All she could talk about was how funny he was. And that’s so important to her.
Rebecca Romijn: I was in heaven when I kissed him for the first time. He is the sweetest, he is just the best. We just have a lot of fun. He and I, we’re always wanting to have fun.
The couples lust for life and each other was soon big news in both families.
Loretta Stamos (John Stamos’ mother): I thought how lucky he is. She is an absolute doll and I hope this works out and I get to know her better.
Jaap Romijn: I think John and Becca both have the same set of family values.
Rebecca Romijn: I have never been with somebody who was so interested in the things that I am doing.
And there is a lot for John to get involved in. At the same time romance bloomed, Rebecca’s career sky-rocketed.
Sophronia Scott Gregory (People Magazine): Not only, she is tall, blonde and gorgeous, but Rebecca had an amazing year, not just from her work in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and in Victoria’s Secret, but she had a very, let’s say noisy cover on GQ with Dennis Rodman.
Rebecca Romijn: You know, he was so sweet and professional and calm. Totally …. I didn’t expect it at all.
Rebecca also didn’t expect to make the 50 Most Beautiful List in People Magazine.
Sophronia Scott Gregory: She has a great sense of humour about her looks, that we like very much, You know, Rebecca she said, you know, her best feature is her best knowledge of show tunes.
Singing had been Rebecca’s ticket into college and it remains a passion.
Raven Raetze (Rebecca’s friend): We would burst out a song at any given moment for anything.
Elizabeth Kuizenga: She could actually carry a tune perfectly before she could walk or talk.
Rebecca Romijn: The last seven years, six or seven years, I haven’t had the change to do it at all, so it’s great to get back in there and sing. It is very therapeutic and something I love to do. It is kind of, you know, it is my thing that belongs to me and I love it.
Now Rebecca is taking her talent public with an appearance on “The Tonight Show”
Roger Love (Rebecca’s singing coach): I think a singing career is difficult but, I think she really, really has a serious voice and if she quit anything and devoted all of her time and energy to whatever the next thing was, would it be singing or mining for diamonds, I have a feeling that she would probably be successful.
So much success and so many options could spell doom for many jet-set couples but Rebecca and John live by a rule that keeps them together.
Rebecca Romijn: Home is between New York and L.A. We see each other all the time. We rarely go for more than a week without seeing each other.
Rebecca has managed to juggle a demanding career and an intense love affair, but has success robber her of the sweet innocence that helped make her a hit?
Randolph Duke (Designer): She is the epidemy of American beauty. She is natural, she is sexy, she is funny, she’s got a great personality. I think it is really great to work with models that not only bring their beauty to the picture but bring a great personality, bring a sense of fun and she is a good person.
Rebecca Romijn’s free spirit and style and famous physique have made her the new symbol of American beauty. Her career has taken her around the world, a journey which brought her fame as well as a passionate romance with heart drop John Stamos.
Rebecca Romijn: The first time I saw him, I was like, that is John Stamos, he is cute.
Now Rebecca leaves her glamorous life behind and returns to her roots. But is she the sweet girl she once was?
Rebecca Romijn: This is a collage, I made with my friends, when we’re graduating. There is Susannah and Raven and Jennifer.
Seven years later Rebecca’s life still revolves around her three footloose palls.
Rebecca Romijn: I’m still in touch with a lot of people, I went to high school with. I mean which is great. And I see a lot of people, you know, to hang out with. It is cool.
Raven Raetze: She has always remained my friend through thick and thin and, you know, I have the tattoo to prove it.
Rebecca’s tattoo has been much remarked upon on in the press. Now her friends tell the whole, wild story.
Susannah Schulman (Rebecca’s friend): We were all sitting their at Raven’s house one night and drinking and crousing the four of us. So we finally said, lets do the tattoo. The very next morning we all went, we just did it, we didn’t think about it. We just did it.
Jennifer Steinman (Rebecca’s friend): We have known each other our whole lives and I think all of us are very lucky to have each other as friends.
When it is time to party the friends let loose at Great America.
Jennifer Steinman: We all remember the last time we were here together, we were twelve years old and it was like six grade graduation and we were running around doing the exact same things during the day. We saw four women, older women sitting together at lunch and Rebecca said, that is gonna be us in twenty years when we are back here.
In a business where cool is king, this newly minted sex symbol invites us to cut loose.
Interviewer: So would you say, today is fitting now, for this kind of stuff is very important, isn’t it.
Rebecca Romijn: It is very important and I would want to go out in the baggy bra.
From the passion and zest of her love life to the full throttled fun of her sexy career, Rebecca irrepressible spirit is as irresistible as her beautiful body.
Rebecca Romijn: I’m really lucky. I’m very, very lucky and I feel very …