We’ll Never Get Over the Moment Olivia Culpo Posed With a Snake During Her SI Swim Photoshoot in Kangaroo Island

The four-time brand model landed on the cover of the 2020 issue.
Olivia Culpo was photographed by Josie Clough on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Olivia Culpo was photographed by Josie Clough on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Supermodel Olivia Culpo is an SI Swimsuit legend, but not for the reason you might think. Besides stunning during each of her four consecutive magazine appearances, and landing the cover in 2020, she dropped all our jaws while on location in Kangaroo Island in 2019, when she posed for photographer Josie Clough with a python wrapped around her.

“I had no idea I would be shooting with a snake, let alone a black-headed, 12-foot python,” the 2012 Miss Universe said at the time. “Does he have fangs or teeth? What if he’s hungry? I was shaking at first. It was hissing and I thought that was it telling me that it wanted to eat my ear or my nose or gouge out my eyeballs. Then I did start to calm. I feel like the snake and I really did become friends. Once my energy leveled out, we had a great little back and forth. He wasn’t that bad.”

The 31-year-old, who recently got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, made her debut with the magazine in 2018 when she participated in a special in-studio project called “In Her Own Words.” She landed the cover alongside Kate Bock and Jasmine Sanders after being photographed by Yu Tsai in Bali in 2020. 

Culpo’s most recent appearance was in 2021, when the Rhode Island native traveled to Hollywood, Fla., with photographer Ben Watts.

Below are eight of our favorite snapshots from Culpo’s 2019 photo shoot in Australia.


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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.