"HOLY S***. Wow. That's a pretty good stack," Jessica Gomes Australian supermodel says as we take in the heft of seven SI Swimsuit Issues fanned out on the conference room table.
The bibles of the past seven years of my life! @si_swimsuit #nyc #aroundtheworld #reflecting –@iamjessicagomes
It's not easy for Jessica to pick a favorite from the seven shoots she did from 2008 to 2014. As she slowly turns the pages of each issue, she makes a case for each new location.
"My favorite shoot really was for 2014 in Madagascar because I loved the location," she says. "Maybe it's because I’m more mature and in a really good place in my life and that comes out in the photos more, but I just feel like the photos are super positive, I really feel secure with myself and I think they're some of my best."
Madagascar, Swimsuit 2014
Behind the scenes in Madagascar, Swimsuit 2014
"But the  issue where I went to China was incredible," she says as she mulls over images of the hazy, Pandora
-esque landscape of Guilin.
China, Swimsuit 2013
We page through her other shoots: Tenerife ('09), Portugal ('10), Peter Island ('11), Australia ('12) Then she picks up the 2008 issue, her first, with Marisa Miller on the cover. "This one, the shoot I did as a rookie at the Dead Sea was definitely one of my favorites." She stops on one striking shot.
"And this," she says, "is one of my favorite shots of all time. I actually have it framed in my house. The mud, the wet hair. It's so raw and organic."
Israel's Dead Sea, Swimsuit 2010 (click for larger view)
Jessica, who turns 29 tomorrow, has a calming quality to her, atypical of what many expect of someone who's made her name in fashion or entertainment, but it's a unique quality that comes across in her photos and adds to her appeal.
"When I see all of this work in front of me right now I think, 'Oh my God.' I've really worked hard and this all makes it worth it. I think reflecting is really important and to reflect on my work like this is really cool."
• Up close with Jess in China, 2013
In honor of the birthday girl, then, let's all take some time to reflect on what is possibly one of the coolest images to appear in our pages with these behind-the-scenes sneak peeks from the Dead Sea shoot.