The Nina Chronicles
Nina Agdal discusses bodypaint, passing out on a swimsuit shoot and her trip down under
Nina Agdal burst onto the scene last year, when she was named SI’s Swimsuit Rookie of the Year. She’s turning heads again in 2013: She made waves during the Super Bowl with this sexy Carl’s Jr. commercial and traveled to Hayman Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for this year’s Swimsuit Issue. SwimDaily’s Rebecca Shore checked in with the Denmark native before this year’s Swimsuit Issue launch.
SwimDaily: Tell us about your trip Down Under.
Nina Agdal: Well, it started with me passing out. I slept the entire way to Australia. When I finally got there I had a fitting, a manicure and pedicure and then Robert, the makeup artist, gave me a spray tan. I was exhausted but excited at the same time, so I had completely forgotten to eat and stay hydrated. I passed out while Robert was tanning me. I fell and hit my chins — I have a small scar but that will be my everlasting memory from the best shoot in my life. It was scary, probably scarier for Robert than for me. (I’m sorry, Robert!) Now I make sure to eat on long flights instead of just sleeping.
SD: What was the highlight of the trip?
NA: Australia was just so amazing overall. Everywhere we went was beautiful and I loved this year’s suits. For one shot I had my hair in a ponytail: I remember feeling strong and proud of myself that moment. Maybe it was the ponytail, maybe it was MJ [SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day] screaming — I don’t know why exactly but I felt like superwoman.
SD: What’s the toughest thing you’ve been asked to do on a shoot?
NA: I shot a lingerie campaign in Munich once during the winter and it was actually snowing. At one point my body literally turned blue and we had to stop for 20 minutes to get my temperature back to normal. I kept telling myself try not think about the cold, but that’s extremely hard when you feel like your toes are about to fall off. Another time I had to work the day my grandmother passed away back home in Denmark. It was really hard to focus because all I wanted to do was to jump on a plane and go be with my family. But I kept telling myself to be strong because that’s what she would have wanted. I did the shoot for her that day.
SD: Of all the shoots you’ve done, what’s your favorite?
NA: Swimsuit 2013 in Australia — it has to be the best for me so far. Everything came together perfectly. The gorgeous location, the weather, the colorful swimsuits, and James Macari is an awesome photographer. I’ve never felt as good about a shoot as I did after Australia.
SD: For those of us who haven’t had the experience, describe what that bodypainting process is like.
NA: You wake up at 12:30 a.m. and take a shower because your skin has to be completely clean. Then three wonderful ladies draw a mask on your body where the suit will be. They cover everything but the suit with paper towels and spray paint the suit area. By now it’s 7 a.m., and that’s when they start painting details like the strap, shadows and lines. That takes five hours, and then they paint on the print of the suit. At 3:30 p.m. you’re ready to shoot — you’re actually dying to shoot this masterpiece on your body. But only have about two hours for photos before the sun goes down. When you’re done, it takes one minute — and lots of oil — to wash this 15 hours of work off your body.
SD: What do you remember from your first SI shoot, for last year’s Swimsuit Issue?
NA: It was 2011, and I was nervous when I arrived in the Seychelles Islands. I remember walking in and seeing Alyssa Miller, all sexied up with beautiful hair and makeup and her skin looked flawless. That made me even more nervous, even though she’s the nicest person ever. The Swimsuit Issue is a big deal. A lot of girls are considered for the magazine so the fact that they chose me as one of the rookies meant a lot. I wanted to do my absolute best, to show them they chose right. I still get nervous, but I’m more experienced. That definitely makes a difference.