We emailed with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model Irina Shayk the day after the big reveal to find out what it's like to become the world's most famous model overnight.
On how she found out:
Ten of the SI models were invited to go to the David Letterman show -- we had jokes around "being part of the issue" and then the camera showed this huge billboard on the corner of Broadway and 52nd Street covered. David and his band created all this mystery and momentum prior to unveiling who was in the billboard. We were at that time in the green room - and then, little by little, we could see the fabric slowly falling, showing first the Sports Illustrated logo...then...the rest is history!
On how she felt:
I honestly can't barely remember. I probably cried and screamed, all at the same time. It was a roller coster of emotions. I had butterflies in the stomach. No, I'm lying -- I was
sick to my stomach. You have to understand, I come from such a small village in Russia -- it's not even in the map. So for me to be in the Sports Illustrated cover, a magazine
that over 60 million people see -- it's a BIG deal and honor. I had all emotions coming through my mind -- happiness, accomplishment, joy, fear... it's very complicated to describe. It's certainly unique. It feels great.
On how she's celebrated:
Well, I haven't celebrated yet. Landing this cover comes with a lot of responsibility
and work -- I have a jam-packed schedule, appearances in TV shows, interviews, etc., so I haven't had a chance to celebrate yet. My feelings are my celebration for now. And believe me, it's intense!
On boyfriend Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction:
On her favorite SI swimsuit model of years past:
I tend to LOVE the very old ones. Just because the images are SO beautiful, natural...my favorite of all time is 1975's Cheryl Tiegs. She is absolutely gorgeous.
On how she eats to look like...that:
I didn't change my eating habits for Sports Illustrated to be honest. They like us "the way we are" they say -- so I never manipulate my weight around photo shoots. I do sports instead! It's funny that Lady Gaga came up with this album "Born This Way" -- because this is exactly how the Sports Illustrated team makes us feel. Be yourself, own it! I'm owning it!