As Rebecca stands before us, Gair notices a payload problem. The left cup of the model's bikini top is not quite up to the task of containing the model. "See how the left breast is showing underneath?" says Gair. Gee, now that you mention it, Joanne, I do.
"I like that," she says. "We can use that. It makes it more real." She likes it because that's exactly how she'll paint it on Rebecca. "Details like that are important," says Gair. "Seams are important. Bunching and puckering is important."
I realize that alibis will also be important, so I scribble these phrases down; they will be my best friends on the island. However genuine my passion for body painting, it seems inevitable, when face-to-face with these voluptuous young women, that my gaze will occasionally wander. If caught ogling, I will rhapsodize about the amazing verisimilitude of the bunching, the trompe l'oeil-like effect of the puckering.
SATURDAY MORNING: Antoine wants to be shooting at first light, which means poor Rebecca got a 1:00 a.m. wake-up call. She is incredibly game. The painting is taking place in the island's air-conditioned gym. Between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m., Rebecca lies on her back, held in place with pillows, catching a few fitful Z's while Joanne and her assistants, Jesse Tipare and Ramon Espinosa, work on her with air nozzles, brushes, Q-tips and the occasional towelette.
I show up for my initial interview at dawn, as per our agreement. To assure Rebecca that I am not simply a gentleman, but a gentleman solely interested in the emerging art of body painting, I conduct the interview with my back to her. I sit facing a rack of dumbbells.
A.M.: "Rebecca, were you able to get any sleep on that table?"
R.R.: "Some. I had all these weird dreams. I was kind of alternating between moments of tranquillity and self-consciousness, when I'd wake up and realize, Hey, I'm lying here butt naked!"
A.M.: "Rebecca, do the paintbrushes tickle?"
R.R.: "Only when they painted my belly button. That tickled big time. It woke me from a dream."
I'll spare you the substance of my dreams on the Island of the Naked Supermodels. Suffice it to say that when a staff member recounted for me how the main house had been built with dense beams imported from Brazil—"We've got some serious wood here," he told me—I empathized completely.