On Tuesday, after getting comfortable talking on the phone with the hottest supermodel on the planet, I took advantage of the moment, lowered my voice and asked Brooklyn Decker: "Soooo... what are you wearing right now?"
Unfortunately, the answer will be more interesting to fashion-conscious women than to pervy men: "I am wearing a 2812 dress by Sienna Miller -- it’s like a tan suede -- and I have black tights and black platform booties," said the Matthews beauty, who graces the cover of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
For additional outtakes from my interview with Decker, along with quotes that expand on comments she made in the story I wrote in today's Observer, keep reading.
On how she got in shape for the 2010 shoot: "Before shooting, I actually was filming a set of workout DVDs, so that was kind of perfect. (But) SI’s not big about skinny. It’s really about just making yourself the best you. They love a really healthy, toned girl who’s curvy and beautiful, and just really fit. And so I was doing these workout DVDs and it was cardio, yoga and sculpt. That helped me get ready. It wasn’t about dieting, it was about eating clean and eating healthy and then just working out and staying active."
On the anticipation of the announcement: "Oh, my fingers were definitely crossed. This was my fifth year shooting, and I think all the girls that shoot it for that many years have their fingers crossed. But you just don’t know anything. Everyone is so beautiful in the issue and, there’s really no formula on how to figure out who gets the cover. So I was very anxious."
On getting the good news: "I found out (Monday). I had a casting and I showed up to the casting and it was at a hotel, the Gansevoort Hotel, and I go up, open the door and Diane Smith is there -- Diane’s the editor of the Swimsuit Issue. And there were about 15 big blown-up pictures of me with the Sports Illustrated behind my head, and a bunch of news cameras were there and the boom mics. I got teary-eyed and cried and did the whole thing. It was really amazing. I was super-surprised and relieved, and just happy."
On her family's unexpected surprise visit: "My agent set up a little cocktail (party) for some people from Sports Illustrated (and) my friends in New York. And I’m there, and we’re all passing around the magazine and all of a sudden I hear, 'Woohoo! Party started!' I look over and it’s my mom and brother coming in with two bottles of wine. I give them big hugs, and of course they made me cry, and I said, 'Where’s dad? Where’s Andy [her husband is tennis star Andy Roddick]?' And they said, 'Oh, they couldn’t come, they’re working.' Then about 10 minutes later, my husband and dad walk in with a platter of food and they’re like, 'Anybody need any hors d'oeuvres?' And again I burst into tears. So I cried three times yesterday -- it was a very good day. I had no idea they were gonna be there. They’re the people I wanted to celebrate with, so having them there made me really able to kind of relax and enjoy it."
Favorite shot of hers in the SI photo spread, besides the cover: "There’s one that’s like a double page of me laying down with a flower in my hair I think that’s really nice."
Putting her appearance on the cover in perspective: "It’s one of the highest honors you can get in a magazine. I think magazine covers are a very, very big deal in themselves, but Sports Illustrated comes out once a year, the swimsuit issue does. And you have it for a year, it’s not something that shifts every month. So it’s a very big deal. You look at the roster of girls who have shot it -- you have Heidi Klum and Elle McPherson and all these sort of iconic models -- so now to be joining (the) ranks of them, it’s gonna be great for my career and great for me personally."
The biggest lesson she's learned from working with SI: "Stay true to yourself. I’ve worked with them for five years and we’ve just become a little bit of a family. They’ve known me since I was 18, since I graduated high school, and the amazing thing about them is that before you shoot with them, it’s not about getting skinny, it’s not about changing yourself for the shoot. It’s really about just being the best you. And they love curves and they love healthy women -- celebrating your body, that’s what SI’s all about. So having them embrace you helps you embrace yourself. It’s very cool."
On visiting Charlotte: "Work’s just been a bit crazy, but I try to go back once every couple of months, and I love seeing my parents and I love going home and Charlotte. I spend my time a lot in Austin, Texas, now and New York, but I spent my whole life in Charlotte, so it’s always a privilege to go home. All my best friends are down there, so when they found out I had the cover, they said, 'You have to come home so we can all celebrate here.' So I’m probably gonna go back in a couple of weeks, for a weekend, just to celebrate with my friends back home."
On her and husband Andy Roddick's Valentine’s Day plans: "I’m working and he’s playing in a tournament!"
Favorite Charlotte restaurants: Cantina 1511 (1511 East Blvd. and 7708 Rea Road) and The Flying Biscuit Café (7930 Rea Road).