PRODUCED BY DIANE SMITH
COVER ELSA BENITEZ
COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY STEWART SHINING
SWIMSUIT BY ONDA DE MAR ($70)
HAIR BY SARRA'NA FOR THE AGENCY
MAKEUP BY KATARINA HAKANSSON FOR HAKANSSONSKIN
Before skipping to the main event in this issue, the pix, take a moment to learn about its theme—2001: A Swimsuit Odyssey. Like the other Odyssey, that poem by Homer, ours began in Greece. While we encountered no Cyclops, we did visit the Cyclades islands. Unlike Odysseus, we invited the siren—in this case, MTV's House of Style hostess Molly Sims—onto the boat. No one had to be lashed to the mast. � Our Grecian formula was loose enough to include any Mediterranean country, which is how Daniela Pestova, Lujan Fernandez and cover girl Elsa Benitez found themselves riding camels through the Tunisian Sahara. Having paid homage to the glory that was Greece, how could we ignore the grandeur that was Macedonia? We couldn't, which explains Heidi Klum's bust-to-bust pose with Alexander. And they both look pretty great. � We came to Las Vegas not to praise Caesars, but to photograph models with the staff centurions at that hotel and casino. In Vegas, we accepted the gracious invitation of Siegfried & Roy to visit their Mediterranean-style palace. Startled by the sudden movement of one of her hosts' lions, model Josie Maran fell into the pool. (Thankfully, there was no sign of Charybdis.) Farther west, in Oahu, eight NFL Pro Bowl players donned togas for us—Dean Wormer would not have approved—forming a buff tribunal, indeed. On the whole they were better behaved than the senators who surrounded Caesar on that fateful ides of March, although Warrick Dunn's patience wore thin during the shoot. "I'm buggin'," he said at one point, threatening to flee. But he stuck it out. � A final admission before buggin': This issue has about as much to do with The Odyssey as Baywatch does with Beowulf. But that's O.K. We hope you agree that it is, in its own way, epic.