"Very often I try to discover my own start, and it started with Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley and Kathy Ireland, and they were all from California. The reason I was attracted to California girls was that they grew up in a sunshine state. They were tan, they were healthy, their bodies were great, and they weren't skinny, skinny. And when I started, it was during the Twiggy days where all the models were thin and I didn't want to be able to see through a girl's legs. I wanted them to have muscle and meat. They were Sports Illustrated girls, and of course they eventually became supermodels.
They didn't use the word supermodel when I started doing this, because models were never, unless they were very famous, identified. From the beginning we identified every cover girl. And then if you use them multiple times, they, they had a name - and the word supermodel started. Many people claim that they started supermodel, but I think we were right up there at the beginning. Cheryl Tiegs was probably the first and then along came Christie Brinkley, and then along came Kathy Ireland, and then came Elle Macpherson.
I'm not sure what elevated them as a swimsuit model. I think part of it was of course beauty, but also they had a certain natural quality. They didn't act like a model on our pages. I wanted them to look like real people that were beautiful. And I think our audience related to that."