Samantha Hoopes on Stripping Down for Sports Illustrated, the Hazards of Underboob, and the ‘Embarrassing’ Blake Griffin Debacle

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·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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  • Samantha Hoopes
    American model
  • Blake Griffin
    Blake Griffin
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Samantha Hoopes at the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit launch celebration in NYC on Feb. 16. (Photo: Getty Images)

Even Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models get a slight case of the nerves.

When Yahoo Celebrity met up with Samantha Hoopes — whose blond locks, tight abs, and perfect pins are featured throughout the glossy magazine — at the Swim City event at the Altman Building in New York City on Tuesday, there were men snaked around the room, clutching their copies of the mag, waiting to meet her and other SI Swimsuit beauties. While the Doylestown, Pennsylvania, native posed in little more than bikini bottoms in the special issue, she has a slight trepidation about her outfit today. Underboob can have that type of effect on a girl.

Related: Sports Illustrated Unveils 3 Swimsuit Issue Covers

But whether or not the 25-year-old model is showing too much skin is just one passing thought on Hoopes’s mind as we chat at the Schick Hydro booth, where male attendees got to enjoy a free shave. She’s unfiltered on all topics from her opinion of the trio of cover models (Ronda Rousey, Ashley Graham, and Hailey Clauson) to that “embarrassing” thing with NBA star Blake Griffin that has been “haunting” her for the last few months. And she weighs in on everything from skin hydration (she doesn’t hold back!) to taking a great selfie (she’s all about Snapchat).

Yahoo Celebrity: Were you surprised by the cover selections?
Samantha Hoopes: I was really excited because it was the first time they did three covers. The fact that there are three girls — all different shapes and sizes, who come from different places — I think it’s exciting.

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Samantha in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. (Photo: Instagram)

People are calling it groundbreaking.
It really is if you think about it. Ashley Graham is gorgeous. Hailey Clauson is amazing; she’s such a sweetheart. I just met Ronda for the first time and she’s a great athlete. So I think it makes sense and it goes together nicely for the Sports Illustrated brand.

Let’s talk about your shoot. How many photos of you made it into the issue?
I actually haven’t gotten a chance to really take a look at it and see what’s going on. I think I may have eight or something? I don’t know. There are a lot. I’ve seen a couple different ones so far and it’s nice because then I can choose which one I want to [autograph]. If I don’t like one or another one is better… It’s nice to have a variety in the magazine.

Your shoot took place in Malta. Was it somewhere you wanted to visit?
I don’t know geography really well [laughs], but when I figured out it was in Malta, I Googled it, and it was really interesting because it’s a tiny island and everyone was like: “It’s Italy” and I was like: “No, it’s not a part of Italy. It’s not a part of Spain. It’s its own entity.” I had no idea. I learned so much about it. They still have knights in shining armor there. Literally. That’s their royalty. The knighthood is a big thing.

Did you get to keep your bathing suits from the shoot?
I wish we did. We don’t, but brands do reach out to you and support you and if you want anything… Or they say: I really like that you wore this, would you post it [on Instagram]? It works hand in hand for both of us: I like bikinis and I get free ones. It’s nice.

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Sam and her boyfriend, Matt Mosko. (Photo: Instagram)

How did your boyfriend, Matt Mosko, react to your shoot?
He loves it, obviously. I’m really liking that I have a supportive boyfriend because some of the guys get a little jealous or whatever. I FaceTimed him even before I came out today because I was a little nervous. I like my t***ies, but I never show underboob, so [this look today is] a little different for me.

Did you pick your top?
I’m a Guess model, so Guess made it for me. It’s really nice. I wasn’t there when they cut it [though], so it’s a little more [revealing than I’m used to], but I’m making it work. I’m lucky that [Matt’s] so supportive. He was like: “You look great, just feel great, and do great.”

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The model arriving for our interview at Swim City on Feb. 16 and showing a little more than she expected to. (Photo: Splash News)

And you have four sisters. What did they say?
They are all older than I am. They are supportive of me as well. They are a little jealous, I think. All of a sudden they are coming back to my parents: “Oh, I wanted to be a model when I was younger.” And my parents are like: “You never said that.” But my family is so supportive. I wouldn’t be here if my family wasn’t supportive.

Is there anyone you wish couldn’t see these hot pics of you — whether it’s an old boyfriend, a teacher, your dad?
It’s weird, I actually want everyone to see them. These are probably the best pictures I’ve ever taken in my whole entire life. I’m very excited about them. I feel confident about them. I actually took time to work out and get myself mentally and physically prepared and I think that’s shown through the pictures. It’s definitely different when your dad and his friends are all looking through the magazine, but it’s Sports Illustrated! It’s hot women! And you can’t be like: “Dad, don’t look at it.”

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Another photo of Samantha in SI Swimsuit 2016. (Photo: Instagram)

Plus, he’s proud of you.
Exactly. And it’s not like my nipples are out! It’s not like it’s old Playboy. It’s classy.

I know you have a boyfriend now, but did you ever hear from Clippers star Blake Griffin after you publicly admitted to crushing on him back in October?
It’s so interesting because of how media is spun. It wasn’t even said like that. Blake Griffin is great player and the only basketball player [whose name I knew]. That’s why I said Blake Griffin. And the only reason why I know who he is is because my girlfriend is really into basketball and she said, “Oh, you guys would be cute because you both have freckles.” But they spin everything! It was a great learning experience for me. It’s haunting me. Everyone is like: “Did he ever hit you up?” Obviously, no. We don’t talk. We’re not friends. I think he’s a great player, but I only said it because he was the only player I knew and they spun it the way that they spun it.

Well, that’s the beauty of the Internet.
I know! But it was a great learning experience because at the time I was like: What just happened? I was kind of embarrassed. And then I just owned up to it.

Honestly, it could have been worse.
I owned up to it. At the end of the day, the Kardashians are where they are because of a scandal and everything, so…

And what happened to you is not even a scandal.
Exactly, but at the same time it’s embarrassing. You know what I mean? That it was spun that way. Still anytime I’m out and TMZ is there it’s like: “How’s Blake?” It’s like, really? It’s enough.

Moving on to less embarrassing things… Is it true you were going to be a gym teacher?
Yeah, I actually wanted to be a gym teacher because in my hometown of Doylestown the teachers get paid a pretty decent amount of money and my gym teachers were both young and hot — the girl and guy. They actually ended up getting married! So, yeah, it was really inspiring to me. I took kinesiology [at Penn State]. I could have done personal training and stuff like that, but I opted to be a teacher. If I wasn’t a gym teacher, I’d probably be a first grade teacher because it’s very impressionable — kids and everything. I love working with the future.

We’re sitting here at the Schick Hydro booth. Any tips you can share for getting a good shave?
My tips for a good shave is go all directions. Someone once told me only shave down. For me, I have to go up, down, across, over, side to side, get in my crevices. I have to get everything. So I just work it in there, ya know?

What about lotion after?
Yeah, 100 percent. The second I get out of the shower I put body oil on. Coconut oil. It’s really good for your vagina, too. I’m not going to lie. It’s really good. It’s a natural antibacterial, so it’s really good for anything. My skin is great and I only use coconut oil.

You put it on your face?
Everywhere! On my face. In my mouth. I put it literally everywhere.

What is the key to a great selfie? Your Instagram is chock-full of them.
The key to a great selfie is obviously lighting, definitely the position of the camera — I like to take it from above — and you need to know which side of your face photographs better. Also, my trick is to take it on Snapchat because on an iPhone it flips your face. Everyone’s face isn’t symmetrical, but one side of my face reacts more than the other, so when it’s flipped, I look so weird. But in Snapchat it’s the same.

What makes a photo that’s Instagram worthy?
For me, it’s a t***y pic. I always like that. Or, obviously, if I’m supporting a brand I’m working with. Or anything that’s really special. If I could have my own Instagram besides work it would be all food because I love the creativity that goes behind a nice plated dish.

And we loved dishing with Samantha Hoopes.