Chrissy Teigen on her 2013 photo shoot, getting body-painted and how Brooklyn Decker showed her the ropes
This year Chrissy Teigen — 2010 Swimsuit Rookie of the Year, diehard foodie and soon-to-be Mrs. John Legend — is making her fourth appearance in the Swimsuit Issue. SwimDaily’s Rebecca Shore caught up with her as Launch Week kicked off.
SwimDaily: Tell us about going to Easter Island for this year’s Swim shoot.
Chrissy Teigen: Usually my Swimsuit locations have been very serene — the Maldives had silent and still clear waters, the Philippines had a lot of pool, Seychelles was a jungly paradise. But my first shot with [photographer] David Burton on Easter Island was the most difficult I’ve ever done. We were on lava rock with giant — and I mean giant — waves crashing in. Plus, the rock felt like little razor blades against my skin. I remember being so excited to shoot because of the light and running out there to get that good light. The water was so cold, (the coldest I have ever been in my life), so I wasn’t paying attention to the razor blade rocks slicing my feet, knees and sides. But when I’d get out of the crashing waves, all I could think of were the stinging slices on my body. I tried to take a bath that night and wasn’t able to use soap. But it was worth it. You do it because those shots with the elements involved always end up being the best. The camera captures that excitement.
SD: Describe your favorite SI shoot.
CT: That is difficult because I have different reasons for loving every shoot — there’s one where I thought I had the best photos, one where I loved the location the most and one where I had the best time! I’d say my first shoot, in the Maldives, just because it was the most beautiful place I had ever been. Years later, that’s still true. I remember going in so wide-eyed and excited and nervous to shoot with Walter [legendary photographer Walter Iooss Jr.] but everyone was so warm and welcoming and fun — I made friends for life on that trip. I loved it so much I took John back to the same resort many years later and got engaged. The Maldives hold a lot of meaning for me.
SD: What’s the bodypainting process like?
CT: Oh man. It’s a fascinating process. I’m sure many people picture it much sexier than it is, but basically you are standing there, barefoot and naked in what looks like a crime scene from Dexter. There is plastic tarp over everything and these extremely bright lights — it’s kind of a girl nightmare. Thankfully, Joanne [artist Joanne Gair] and her team are so sweet and so wonderful and worried about how you’re doing. You get little mini breaks here and there but you also try to respect that they’re artists. You don’t want to make them stop and go, stop and go. There was a lot of texting, and Ariel came in to keep me company. I think she ordered an entire pizza from the restaurant for herself. After all that work, when the shoot is over Joanne oils you up and takes off the paint. I remember saying, “Aren’t you sad?? This makes me sad!” She said, “Well, thank you for saying that, I agree. But it is in pictures now forever”.
SD: What do you remember from your first ever SI shoot? How nervous were you? Do you still get nervous?
CT: I was beyond nervous. I would have been nervous either way, but when I heard the amazing Walter Iooss was shooting it, the stomach pains really kicked in. Being friends with Brooklyn [former Swim model Brooklyn Decker] definitely helped. She was shooting right before me and we overlapped by a day, but honestly, all it took was getting through that first morning. It’s funny looking at the behind-the-scenes photos from that shoot, how happy I am and how much I’m feasting. I mean now I’d never eat a bowl of noodles and a plate of spaghetti during the lunch break — what was I thinking! I’m a naturally worried person on any shoot and it was really important to me that [SI editors] MJ, Darcie and Diane were happy with me. And they are so positive and reassuring, it was such a relief and so much fun.