SI Vault
Austin Murphy
February 12, 1999
What do you get when you mix five supermodels, three body painters, one secluded island and a reporter with a very sharp pencil? We'll give you three guesses
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February 12, 1999

Pant By Numbers

What do you get when you mix five supermodels, three body painters, one secluded island and a reporter with a very sharp pencil? We'll give you three guesses

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Weird and wonderful. While immersing myself in the exciting world of body painting has been stimulating, I'm getting just as big a kick out of the quotidian moments of life on the Island of the Naked Supermodels: Yamila drawing me a little map and giving me a lesson in the geography of South America; Audrey rubbing sunscreen on my back; watching a topless Heidi gambol unself-consciously in the surf. True, the Flabsters and I witness that last vignette from a distance of roughly one mile, through the resort's powerful telescope, but it feels like we were right there with her.

Our recreational options are endless on this magnificent day: We can snorkel, water-ski, go deep-sea fishing, play tennis, basketball, or simply vegetate on one of the island's four beaches, each of which features a refrigerator stocked with you-name-it. Naturally, Peter and soundman Adam Zebersky fire up the big-screen HDTV in the main house to watch The Empire Strikes Back. At one point Zebersky says, "They don't make movies like this anymore."

Before dinner, my assistance is required on the pool deck, where Yamila is being photographed in a black one-piece that Gair has tarted up with three roses across the model's lumbar region. My job is to hold one of the lights.

Working with lights isn't part of my job description, but I keep my mouth shut. If some of us didn't go above and beyond the call, they'd never get this damned swimsuit issue out. Antoine has Yamila posed on all fours in a little brook that babbles from the main house to the pool. Even though she is nude not 10 feet from me, even though I can stare undetected from behind my light, I do not stare. I refuse to press my advantage for the same reason Tour de France winner Marco Pantani refused to attack during a mountain stage last summer when defending champ Jan Ullrich punctured a tire: It wouldn't have been sporting.

Instead, I glance and look away, glance and look away. To this day I can close my eyes and see Yamila playing saucily to the camera. I can see the roses on her lovely back: one red, two pink. I can see that she is a bit chilly.

MONDAY MORNING: With my customary "Everyone decent?" I barge into the gym at 5:15, where Yamila's backside is being retouched. She is leaning forward against a mirror, forming a breathtaking, lowercase r. She is light-years from decent.

"Just came down to say my proper good-byes," I bluster. In the smile Yamila flashes me, I discern skepticism. Busted.

Busted but unrepentant. Moments from now I will board the waiting cigarette boat and forever take my leave of the Island of the Naked Supermodels. Don't condemn me for choosing, at the last minute, to stockpile a few more Yamila-related memories.

Come to think of it, don't ask me to share them, either.

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