It's not often you put on your best suit, pour yourself a glass of Bourbon and just so happen to have the complete works of Nora Roberts lying around ("Oh, these? What can I say, I'm a romantic.") when conducting a phone interview.
But that was the case on Wednesday when I had the chance to speak with Alyssa Miller, who can currently be found in the pages of the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This year's cover model, for those not in the know, is Irina Shyak, who is making her fifth consecutive appearance in the swimsuit issue.
Ms. Miller, who turns 21 years old on July 4 of this year, was one of five "rookies" in this year's issue. Her credits in the issue include photo shoots in Fiji and Hawaii, along with the ever-popular shoot.
Miller joined me via telephone from Las Vegas, Nevada. Here is what transpired as I tried to remain cool, calm and collected.
Tom Lorenzo: First, I wanted to congratulate you on gracing the pages of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Alyssa Miller: Thank you! Yeah, I'm so excited.
This was your first time in the magazine. What was the experience like?
It was incredible. The whole thing... Sports Illustrated they really take you in under their wing. They take care of you so well, treat you as part of the family immediately. I had the time of my life on my photo shoot in Fiji. It was just so much fun. Dancing around on the beach, laughing... it's the easiest job in the world. It was so much fun, incredible. I really can't even describe how amazing it was.
How did you find out you were going to be in the issue?
My agent called me when they confirmed. He asked me to meet him, because he knew it was a big deal to me and he didn't want to tell me on the phone. So we met up and he told me. I was so overwhelmed. I cried! I was so excited to be a part of the issue, it was a really special thing.
Have you found yourself getting a different kind of attention, being in Sports Illustrated?
Yeah, you know I'm an American girl. I grew up with the magazine. My older brothers, my dad read it. For me it's such a huge deal. The guys who read the magazine are just like my dad or my brothers, so for me it's awesome to get that recognition. I'm loving it!
Do you have a favorite photo or spread in the issue?
I love my rookie picture, it's really cute. I'm wearing a one-piece red bikini. It's shot by Walter Ioose Jr., in Fiji. I loved that picture. As soon as I saw it I had to e-mail him. It's so beautiful, I love that one.
Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
Absolutely, I love sports. I wish that I could keep up with it, but because of traveling all the time I don't get to keep up on it as much as I'd like to. But I've played soccer since I could walk, basically. I'm a big sports fan, and I watched sports with my dad throughout my whole life. Whether it was going to see the Dodgers in [Los Angeles], watching basketball, baseball... that's what I grew up with. I love sports. I've always been active. Always.
So you grew up in Los Angeles?
They're talking about bringing a NFL team to L.A. Do you think L.A. deserves to get a professional football team?
I think so! I think it would be cool to have our own football team. We'll see what happens, though.
Did you end up rewarding yourself with a trip or buy something lavish when you found out you booked the swimsuit issue?
No, the whole experience has been a reward. I couldn't really reward myself with a trip when the whole experience was going to Fiji, going to Hawaii... It was like I was already being rewarded by being there. Seeing all the pictures online and the videos this year are amazing. I'm a happy girl. I felt from the beginning that being a part of this was a gift. So, no, I didn't go out and buy anything lavish.
Alright, one last one. For people in the market for a swimsuit, do you recommend the paint suits at all?
(Laughs) I loved my paint suit, but I don't know if it would work well on the beach. It might wash off.
How long did that process take?
I actually had the quickest one. It took me about 14 hours. Kenza [Fourati], who's also a rookie this year, took 24 hours.