Natalie Gulbis in SI Swimsuit Issue Wearing Body Paint (and Not Much Else)
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

That's paint!

In case anyone hasn’t seen the lovely photo gallery of LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, you should check it out. I put myself on internet timeout yesterday, so I just finished examining them.  The picture above was my favorite of the ten selects.

What’s the deal with the whole body paint thing? The bikini is painted on Gulbis, which means, yes, besides some tape or coverlets shielding her private parts, she’s completely naked in the pictures. Whoa, boys, calm down! (I admit I spent a lot of time perusing the photos from different angles trying to see if I could tell it was paint…)

How did that come about? Well, it was Natalie’s idea, according to a Q&A with Golf.com.


Whose idea was it to ditch the bikini in favor of body paint?
As I was walking into the elevator after my first meeting at the SI office in January of last year, I asked them if they had ever body-painted an athlete before, and as the door was closing on the elevator, [senior editor] M.J. Day was like, “No we haven’t. Would you do it?” And I said, “I think so…let me see…I think so!” So, from that, SI came back to me sometime after and said, “O.K., we’ve decided we’re going to body-paint athletes. Does that sound like something you’d like to be a part of?” It was an honor, and it was exciting.

Did you have any reservations about posing naked?
Not with Sports Illustrated. When you see the pictures, it looks like I have a bathing suit on. It’s pretty incredible. I had seen [body-paint artist] Joanne Gair’s work in the past. One that came to mind was when they body-painted Marisa Miller in the Sacramento Kings jersey. They also shot her in a Rolling Stones t-shirt. I remember thinking how cool that looked. They were works of art.

Art is a beautiful thing.

Let’s be real — if SI called and asked you to pose for the Swimsuit Issue, of course you say, “Sure!”