Friday, June 28, 2013

50 Greatest Swimsuit Models, #10-1

This was fun. Naming 50 great models was easy, naming exactly 50 was hard. And forcing myself to decide if I preferred, say, Fernanda Motta or Stephanie Seymour was agonizing.

Meanwhile, I’ve spent the week contemplating beautiful women in swimsuits, so I’ve been in a pretty good mood.

Here’s where I landed for my top ten.

10: Julie Henderson
She's a divisive one. It surprises me how violently some people dislike her. The party line at Bellazon, for example, seems to be that she has a fantastic body but a bad face. They are continuously confused and dismayed that she keeps appearing in SI. Thankfully, they aren't in charge, and I continue to receive an influx of new Julie photos every February.  

9: Elsa Benitez
Warm. That's the first adjective that springs to mind about Elsa. Warm eyes, smile, skin. A slow, easy seductiveness that's impossible not to love.

8: Cheryl Tiegs
Shots like this one are timeless. A lot has changed with regards to standards of feminine beauty, styles of swimwear, photography and retouching technology, etc. But you look at this photo and understand why Cheryl was the original SI supermodel.

7: Christie Brinkley
She took the baton from Cheryl and ran with it. Hypnotic beauty, which persists to this day. Cheryl introduced wholesome, all-American blonde imagery to SI, Christie perfected it.

6: Petra Nemcova
Hauntingly ravishing. A warm, sunny, friendly gorgeousness with a dark river flowing beneath it. 

5: Rebecca Romijn
There is a direct line from Cheryl to Christie to Rebecca, then on to Kate after her. Brilliantly gorgeous American blonde + bikini = the backbone of the swimsuit issue.

4: Paulina Porizkova
My first cover. As a counterweight to the all-American blonde faction, Paulina is the darker Eastern European/Russian strain of SI model. Paulina lives on in the likes of Petra and Irina.

3: Stacey Williams
I agonized over this. Stacey and Heidi leapfrogged each other in my mind all week. Stacey’s hypnotizing eyes and cascading tendrils of brown hair have entranced me for over two decades.

2: Heidi Klum
But in the end, Heidi had a cover and more omnipresent career, and I figured that gave her an edge. Heidi is so deeply, inarguably beautiful it almost hurts.

1: Elle Macpherson
This one, I never had any dilemma about. The greatest model ever to wriggle into a swimsuit. As of now, I’m not sure who tops SI’s official list, but in my mind there is no doubt.


Max Headroom said...

You're right about Julie. I'm a huge fan. My brother doesn't like her much at all, because of her face, as you said. And I do agree, Julie isn't the prettiest woman. But I take the wabi-sabi view and find beauty in her imperfections.

I really like the line you draw from Cheryl to Christie to Rebecca to Kate. Rebecca is another of my favorites that I wish I could see more of.

I will say I would not have been so generous with Elsa.

Swimsuitologist said...

I love that thought on Julie. She doesn’t have the eerily symmetrical face and pale blue eyes of, say, Emily DiDonato. But I think her realness is such a big part of her charm for me.

I’m surprised to hear your thoughts on Elsa! I find her pretty amazing. But I do enjoy hearing the disagreements, whether it’s between me and SI, or me and Bellazon, or you and your brother. It proves that our tastes aren’t completely homogeneous.

TuckerStokes said...

It makes me upset that Izable Goulart and Nina Agdal did not make it, both of them caught my eye when I first saw them, Cintia Dicker too, grant it I can't argue with most of your picks as I have only been getting the issue from 2010 till now,