New Standard Interview


No matter how good it looks on the outside, it's what's inside that matters, right?

So inside this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue are 10 pictures of Rebecca Romijn, jaw-dropping snapshots of her kneeling in the sand, falling off water skis, on the roof of a Jeep. In several, the only thing that separates her from an R rating is a strategically placed hand or a piece of fruit. In others, the only thing she wears is some body paint and a smile.

And there's the shot that made the cover -- the model posing seductively in a chain mail bikini, blonde mane flowing with the ocean behind her -- to capture modeling's unofficial crown.

"We didn't know it was going to be a cover, though," says Ms. Romijn, host of MTV's "House of Style."

"We shoot roughly 81,000 pictures and everybody (else) is gorgeous, everybody has an equal shot at the cover. When the cover shot happens, it's just this moment where everything's right. You either get that moment or you don't. Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time," she says.

Since the SI swimsuit issue was unveiled, the publicity whirlwind has sent the 26-year-old supermodel, who was born in Berkeley, Calif., crisscrossing across the continent. First came the mind-numbing media appearances in New York, then a quick flight to the Bahamas for an interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

She flew to Los Angeles days later to appear on "The Howie Mandel Show" and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," then returned to New York to be a presenter at ESPN's Espy Awards show.

"I'm exhausted, just trying to get through the week, but it's fun," she says just before her "Tonight Show" segment.

She recently married TV sitcom star John Stamos. Hence the hyphenated surname and ring on her finger.

1. How did you wash off the body-paint swimsuit we see in the magazine? Did you have to use turpentine?
Ms. Romijn: It's water-soluble. I just ran into the ocean and rinsed off. Trust me, after all the hours we spent under the paint, we were ready to wash it off.

2. They spent 14 hours on one of the really complex body-paint bikinis. Were you able to eat or drink during application? Could you sleep?
Ms. Romijn: I ate. (An assistant) brought me tea and lunch and breakfast and cookies. ... I slept for the first three hours, but it was kind of a weird, restless, self-conscious sleep where I kept waking up and dozing off again. There were three people painting on me. ... It was crazy.

2 1/2. Did it tickle?
Ms. Romijn: It tickled around my bellybutton. It actually jarred me awake out of a dream I was having. A-a-a-h!

3. The bikini you're wearing on the SI cover, was it uncomfortable? It's like steel mesh or something.
Ms. Romijn: wasn't uncomfortable. I wouldn't suggest swimming laps in it. It might rust.

4. How have fans reacted to your cover girl status?
Ms. Romijn: On the plane ... the day the issue hit the stands, it was like every guy in first class had a copy of it. Half of them knew I was on the flight and half of them didn't. All of the flight attendants were coming back with notes and (SI) copies and having me sign them. The pilots started coming back with copies and having me sign them. ... I kept seeing guys in front of me looking at pictures of me and sort of pointing things out to their friends. ... It was so funny. When I went to sleep, I'd wake up with notes asking me to sign their issue.

4 1/2. Isn't this something you're used do? You're already pretty well-known.
Ms. Romijn: Not this much. Every newsstand we passed it was all over the place. Everybody had their copies fresh off the press. They were all looking at me, then looking at their issues going, 'Oh, there she is!'

5. How has your husband taken all of this?
Ms. Romijn: He's so proud. But he hasn't seen me. His friends say, 'God, it must be so great being married to the swimsuit issue cover model.' And he says, 'Yeah it's great, but I never see her. I can't get any action.'

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