WHEN A MODERN MEDIA CARAVAN ENCOUNTERED AN ANCIENT TRIBE, NO TRANSLATORS WERE NEEDED—"SUPERMODEL," IT TURNS OUT, IS SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS
The idea was to capture the raw, unspoiled beauty of this place and this people. When we arrived at the Maasai village, our guide-interpreter, a robust Scot, explained to the chief, a confident, friendly man who had a Tic Tac box woven into the beadwork hanging off his ear, who we were and what we wanted to do. At the first mention of photographs, he had his tribesmen dutifully shuffle into line for the standard tourist's Polaroid. No, we explained, we want to come back with models. A camera crew. TV people. A whole international, multimedia traveling circus.
Oh, well, the chief said sadly, that is going to cost you. The tribe is very busy, he explained, we've got cattle to herd, ceremonies to perform. And you people have a lot of requirements. Oh, we said, we won't bother anyone, and besides, it'll be fun! He'd obviously had plenty of experience with what Westerners consider "fun." His price: $1,000. Cash. We were shocked—but we paid.
Our caravan pulled in the next day, and the Maasai warriors were there in force. The photographer quickly got everyone down to business, lining up the Maasai behind Laetitia Casta, who was demurely wrapped in a sarong. The warriors seemed a little bored...until Laetitia dropped her sarong. Then, they pressed forward to touch her, and they started humming—forcefully—and before long they were jumping up and down with tremendous vigor. We were all startled by this response-well, all but Laetitia, who gets that kind of reaction every time she puts on a bikini.
HAIR BY ITALO GREGORIO FOR WARREN-TRICOMI; MAKEUP BY CHARLIE GREEN FOR JED ROOT, INC. LAETITIA CASTA IN A SWIMSUIT BY GOTTEX $98
REBECCA ROMIJN IN A SWIMSUIT BY CALVIN KLEIN $98
REBECCA ROMIJN IN A SWIMSUIT BY DELFINA $147
LAETITIA CASTA IN A SWIMSUIT BY DELFINA $147
REBECCA ROMIJN IN A SWIMSUIT BY BACHATA $134