Cindy Kimberly grew up looking at the pages of SI Swimsuit issues, dreaming she’d be featured in the magazine one day herself. So when the 2022 rookie was preparing for her shoot in Barbados, she knew exactly where to look for inspiration. Talking to red carpet hosts Kamie Crawford and Kate Bock at the SI Swimsuit launch event in South Florida, Kimberly revealed she was a fan of model Barbara Palvin’s work with photographer Ben Watts.
“I’ve been following Sports Illustrated since I was so young and he [Ben Watts] used to always shoot Barbara Palvin and I was a huge Barbara Palvin fan,” says Kimberly. “So I've definitely known of him for a long time. I was very, very excited to shoot with him.” Kimberly’s 2022 shoot with Watts pays homage to the bright vibrancy of his 2018 shoot with Palvin in the Bahamas.
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Speaking about his own creative style, Watts has said, “I have a thread of continuity that runs through my pictures. I call it the happy picture because my pictures are colorful. The energy that’s in the image is always optimistic, whether it’s the vibrancy of the color, [or] the smile on the model.”
The pairing up with Watts was the perfect match for Kimberly’s rookie shoot. When Bock asked the model whether working with SI Swimsuit was everything she dreamed it would be, Kimberly replied, “I think even the shoot alone already exceeded my expectations for sure.”