In our ever-expanding efforts to better know the SI Swimsuit models, we reached out to Hailey Clauson's best friend from childhood - Allegra DeSanto - to get the inside scoop on growing up with the 2016 cover model.
Name: Allegra DeSanto
Location: I'm from Thousand Oaks, CA, but currently studying abroad Brazil.
SwimDaily: How long have you known Hailey?
Allegra DeSanto: I have known Hailey since I was 6 years old. We grew up together as neighbors and we were inseparable.
SD: Do you remember the first time you met?
ADS: Hailey and I were in the same first grade class. We became best friends shortly after that and to this day we still are.
SD: Did you ever imagine she’d be a swimsuit model?
ADS: No, but she always dreamed of being a model and looked up to several fashion icons. Her dreams of modeling started when she was young and finally in eighth grade she was signed with Ford Models and her journey began. I don’t know where I would be without Hailey today. She is the most confident individual I’ve ever met and she has inspired me in so many ways.
SD: What was Hailey like in high school? Fun? Athletic? Geeky? Was she popular with the guys?
ADS: Hailey only attended high school during freshman year but barely ever came to class due to castings, photo shoots, and travel. I have to admit - we were pretty geeky freshman year. Also, freshman year Hailey was probably 5-foot-10 and I was 4-foot-11. We were a pretty comical pair. Hailey and I mainly hung out with each other and our brothers. Hailey was always tons of fun; you never knew what crazy idea she would come up with. Hailey was acting at the time, but no longer playing basketball. But we were always outside riding bikes.
SD: Was there a moment where you realized she made it big as a model (being in SI Swimsuit, for instance)?
ADS: When Hailey was 15 she was already walking for big fashion designers. But when she told me she booked Sports Illustrated I thought to myself, “Wow this is about to change her career." I was so proud of her. All her family and friends knew this was one of her biggest goals.
SD: Give us some dirt. Any embarrassing stories we can tease Hailey about?
ADS: Hailey and I had a crazy height difference, so she looked extra tall compared to me. In middle school some boys used to tease her and call her “giraffe”. It never bothered her; she just used to laugh about it. Hailey and I would sometimes go to the mall with her dad. When we were in Nordstrom, her dad and I would tell her to go pose as a mannequin. She was amazing at it! It was very entertaining.
SD: Hailey once told us her friends would describe her as goofy. Agree or disagree?
ADS: Most definitely! Hailey to this day is still goofy. She’s always making weird faces and never cares what people think of her. She never fails to make me or anyone else laugh.
SD: If you were to describe Hailey to someone who’s never met her, what would you say?
ADS: She always has a positive attitude and confident with a goofy side. Hailey has always remained the same kind-hearted person she was when we were little and I love that about her. She hasn’t changed one bit and is the same old Hailey I’ve known for 15 years.
SD: Is there a movie/song/TV show/anything that reminds you of her?
ADS: Movies on Lifetime. Hailey and I would watch old Lifetime movies in her bed. Also Hailey and her brother love scary movies and we would watch Saw and I absolutely hated it.
SD: If you two were getting together this weekend for a girl’s night, what would you do?
ADS: Hailey and I would probably cook dinner together since we both love to cook and after snuggle up with her adorable dog (Hala) and watch a movie.
SD: How often do you get to hang out now?
ADS: Since I have been in Brazil for 4 months I haven’t seen her in a while. But usually when I am back home in California I see her every 2-3 months or so. She comes to Los Angeles often for shoots and I visit her in NYC as well. I lived with her in NYC for a year after I graduated high school. No matter how often we get to see each other, we always pick up right where we left off. She is my best, forever friend.
BONUS: See some of Hailey's best moments from SI Swimsuit 2015!