When you’ve built a multimillion-dollar career out of wearing next to nothing, the question of just how much skin to reveal can come down to a few very strategic centimetres of fabric.
Full back? Yes. Microscopic bikini bottoms? Sure. Still, it’s a game of inches, and something has to be left to the imagination.
For Lily Aldridge, 29, the “prettiest girl in the whole f–king world” (according to her husband, Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill), toeing that line between lust object and celebrity-power-brand-in-the-making is all part of the business plan.
Though she’s been modelling since she was 14, Aldridge debuted as a Victoria’s Secret model in 2009; she is now one of just eight Angels. She landed the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 50th anniversary issue last year. Add her cred in high-fashion circles — shoots in Vogue and a campaign for Michael Kors — and Aldridge has won the Triple Crown of modelling.
As you might expect from any thoroughbred, she says her contracts are ironclad, stipulating precisely how much of her extraordinary physique she’ll bare. “I’m very careful about it,” she says. “I enjoy feeling sexy and beautiful; I just don’t think everyone needs to see everything.”
So what does it feel like to have millions of men wishing they could? “I don’t think of myself as an object of lust. I can’t even say that with a straight face,” she says with a laugh. The attention, she admits, is flattering. “But I’m more flattered when someone thinks I’m funny.”
In person, she’s lean and long, given to slouching her shoulders in a boyish way and playing against onlookers’ expectations. “People think it’s all rock concerts and runway shows,” she posits. OK, there are plenty of both. But there are also 3 a.m. call times for bikini shoots and a fitness regimen that would make an elite athlete groan. “I don’t take this life for granted,” she says. Aldridge and Followill also have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Dixie Pearl. “That’s why I like social media,” she says. “People see that I’m married, they see I have a family, they see that I’m human.”
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