Most Sports Illustrated fans out there must remember Kim Alexis, the famous model who graced the covers of the first ever edition of the coveted magazine.
For a person who is connected to the modeling world by default, the former brand ambassador of Revlon’s Ultima II apparently had trouble once when asked to choose a favorite among the models at present.
When asked to name a model she admires, she was reportedly heard saying, “I don’t know their names. Do you?” She then continued, "I don’t like Kendall [Jenner] and Gigi [Hadid.] I’m overwhelmed by them. They’re just everywhere. I want to see someone who didn’t have fame before. And it’s more for her beauty versus both — one who earns it."
In this exclusive interview with Meaww, as a part of the 'Where are they now' series, the former supermodel gets candid about her life ever since she stepped off the ramp and ventured into different career options, including writing.
What was your initial reaction when you found out that you had become the exclusive face of Revlon’s Ultima II?
It was a slow process. My agency and I started to talk about this becoming a reality and then started contract negotiations, so by the time it was signed, I was expecting it. My career was so big back then that it was just one more thing to add to an amazing career.
What pushed you towards writing?
After modeling, then hosting TV shows and then speaking engagements, my career had decided to shift again. I was living in Florida at the time and a full-time mom. A girlfriend called me and as the prior chief editor of a Christian magazine, SHINE, she asked me to be the beauty editor of a new magazine she was going to head up called GLADYS. I decided to try it not knowing that I loved to write. I had grown up with parents who reminded me that I can always try something new.
You were just 18 when you starred on the cover of Harper's Bazaar magazine, what was that experience like?
Shooting covers is quite different than people think. There are only a couple of people in the room and doesn’t feel like a big deal... It never took me very long to shoot a cover... I could shot a Vogue cover with Richard Avedon in four shots. It would take five minutes. Many times for most models, there is no guarantee that the shoot will be a cover. Magazines sometimes shoot a couple of different options and then choose when they see the final results of the shoot. So at a shoot, especially your first, you don’t get your hopes up. It is a bigger deal when the magazine comes out and there you are!
Did you always dream of being a model?
I never, ever dreamed of being a model. I was a “tomboy” growing up. I didn’t care about makeup or dressing up. Instead, I wanted to be outside playing and swimming and running around the neighborhood on my bike. It was hard to go to NYC and have buildings and sidewalks instead of grass and being able to play outdoors and then have to worry about how I looked on the outside. Growing up I thought more about making good grades in school and fast times when I swam than what I looked like.
How do you think the modeling industry has changed over the years?
I am not involved in the day to day events of models now but from what I can see, the movie actresses have taken over our jobs. The covers and makeup and hair ads feature them INSTEAD of models. That really makes me angry. Let them do their jobs and leave the modeling to beautiful women.
You have been vocal about your health problems, when did you first realize that you have hypothyroidism?
It was after giving birth to my third son. I found that I needed to take daily naps with him in the afternoon or I couldn’t get through the day. Then I was at the doctor for my oldest son filling out a questionnaire about his health symptoms. He had allergies and as I answered the questions, I realized that the symptoms all pertained to me in the thyroid column. I sought an endocrinologist after that. Taking thyroid medicine helped me feel better quickly.
How do you juggle between personal and professional life?
First of all, I am self-employed, as each day brings new work opportunities... I keep my priorities straight. My family always comes first but if something work wise comes up that is important and interferes with a planned family event, I talk to my family and we make a decision together. Sometimes work is more important than the event and sometimes I say no to the work.. but I always keep my family involved.
When the boys were small and I had work decisions, it was nice to be able to talk to them and let them learn how I worked through the problem out loud. It sets a good example for them to be able to talk out problems of their own and to stay close to me. I didn’t shut them out of my life and just tell them my decisions, it is worked out ahead of time.
You took a break from the spotlight for a while, how would you say that affected your life?
I had to learn that I was not defined by my work. I had to find what made me happy besides work. So many people thought of me as this celebrity figure. I found passions and desires that I didn’t know I had when I was working from morning to night. (Some days I would do 3 covers... for 3 different magazines... working from 9-1 and then 1:30 to 5 and then 5:30 to 9ish.)
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