Teddy Ward interviewed our girl Coco Ho on her ESPN Body Issue appearance. Read on and rejoice…Coco Ho brings to light the beauty behind the body. "It's a tribute to what their bodies are capable of. It's a collaboration of athletes and great photography that showcases so many different sports and body types."
What takes some of the controversy -- yet by no means any of the beauty -- out of this sixth annual issue is who Coco is getting shot next to. World-class athletes like Venus Williams and Michael Phelps. Travis Pastrana and Larry Fitzgerald. Modern greats in their respective fields of sport. And yeah, totally naked.
Have you been a longtime fan of ESPN’s Body Issue? Did you ever see yourself being a part of it?
Coco Ho: I actually have been a fan of the Body Issue since I saw it a few years ago. I think I always admired the athletes for stripping down and portraying strong bodies as beauty -- not as sexy nude shoots. I really do see the integrity in ESPN as a whole and think of it as something so prestigious, like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I've always wanted to be a part of. When I saw Kelly Slater, Maya Gabeira, and Steph Gilmore’s [photos], the only thought that registered was: ‘This is sick! And it’s the only nude shoot I’d ever do!’ [laughs]
What was it like to actually surf naked? Had you ever done that before?
Well… It was terrible and I’m never doing it again! [laughs] Really, you would think it would be freeing or something, but it was just plain weird, and everywhere got sunburnt!
Doesn’t your brother Mason surf naked sometimes? What did he have to say about it?
I don't think he knows I actually surfed. Really, he might be bummed that my nude-surf goes more mainstream than his [laughs]. Just kidding; pretty sure he’d be psyched.
So where did you go to surf on this shoot?
As it's summer in Hawaii and the waves are really small, we were able to find some tiny waves on the outer reefs of Hawaii Kai [Oahu’s South Shore]. It was quite the experience with a boat as base camp, and then a zodiac and Jet Skis to help us find some waves!
And your dad, what did he have to say about it? Also, was your boyfriend [pro snowboarder Mark McMorris] okay with it, or kind of hesitant?
As far as my dad, it was one of those conversations with your parent where you quickly tell them what you're doing and then run out of the room, leaving no time for discussion. Especially when it's your dad!
As for Mark, he is more aware of the prestige in The Body Issue. He is also the most supportive, career-savvy, honest boyfriend ever. He wants whatever is best for me and would be very honest if he thinks something isn’t. I take his words to heart and trust his decisions. He was actually very supportive of the shoot; he was even there with me the entire shoot. Like my safety net.
Do you see a shoot like this playing into the “sex sells” theory at all?
To me the ESPN Body issue doesn't play into the "sex sells" theory because I’m being photographed alongside 20-plus highly respected athletes portraying a body's strength as beauty -- not caked in makeup, laying on a bed.
So you see this shoot in a totally different light?
I do. I see it just as the editor of ESPN calls it: "A collaboration of athletes and great photography that showcases so many different sports and body types. The Body Issue is a tribute to what these bodies are capable of." I see it like that, too.
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