By Andy Gray
February 21, 2017

Joanne Gair is a legend in body painting, going all the way back to her famous Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore in 1992. In 1999, SI commissioned Gair to work her magic for the magazine and she's been a part of the SI Swimsuit ever since — even painting this year's model search girls. We caught up with Kiwi Jo (as she's affectionately known as) by phone and asked her to reflect on some of her favorite SI body paint shoots.

Kate Upton, 2013

"Oh yeah, the necklace. That was a challenge in itself. I always say 'Sure, I can do it' and then I’ll go away and work it out, but it’s all a matter of bringing it to life with layers. I think it’s forgiving because the girls are so beautiful, it kinds of throws off any imperfections. That worked out very well, she felt beautiful in that. She’s very comfortable in her skin. It makes a huge difference how the personality brings forth the painting."

Kate Upton :: Derek Kettela

Ronda Rousey, 2016

"I would have to say the white tiger that we did on Ronda Rousey. I had never painted a tiger before—I had never painted an animal before—and it was so appropriate for this personality. The cover one was a great success, it was lovely to do as well, but the tiger one was very Ronda. She wore it so well, she loved it. It was called 'The Fighter.'"

Ronda Rousey :: Frederic Pinet

Hannah Ferguson, 2014

"The biggest challenge in 2014 was recreating the Cheryl Tiegs mesh bathing suit that was inspired by Cali Dreaming and worn by Hannah Ferguson. That was a challenge in itself. I had this request thrown at me about the Cheryl Tiegs bathing suit many years in advance and it finally came to head. I couldn’t turn it down anymore. Cali Dreaming actually had something very similar and I worked with them on getting it appropriate for me to work with it like a stencil."

Hannah Ferguson :: Walter Iooss Jr.

Emily Ratajkowski, 2014

"I also love the one I did on Emily Ratajkowski in 2014 with the guitar picks. That was a classic."

Emily Ratajkowski :: Walter Iooss Jr.

Hailey Clauson, 2015

"The red, white and blue theme was a great success. So many designers came forward with brilliant choices, and each one had its own challenge. The one on Hailey Clauson - I mean, I had knitted on Demi Moore…so I had done knitting before, but I knew how time consuming knitting is because you’ve got to go in and out and under and shadows have to happen with all of that to make it believable, so I was delighted with how that came out and Hailey wore it beautifully, of course."

Erin Heatherton :: Yu Tsai

Rose Bertram, 2015

"The time that I spent on the bows was very important to give her something that was dressed. I think those were the best bows I’ve ever done."

Erin Heatherton :: Yu Tsai

Erin Heatherton, 2015

"Now that bikini was red, white and blue handkerchief. If you have a look at that, I thought we did a great job on that one. To me it really looked like fabric. The checkers and the pattern — there was a lot going on in that little bikini."

Erin Heatherton :: Yu Tsai

BONUS: See more of SI's sexiest models in body paint!

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