‘Sports Illustrated’ Rookie Barbara Palvin Talks Books, Business, and Beauty


An exclusive preview of Barbara Palvin for Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Feb. 15. (Photo: James Macari/Sports Illustrated)

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition hits stands on Monday, and we have an exclusive preview of the highly anticipated issue. There are a few new models gracing the pages of the bestselling edition, including Barbara Palvin. The 23-year-old stunner was discovered over a decade ago in Budapest, Hungary. She has had a thriving career modeling for Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Louis Vuitton, and as a L’Oréal Paris ambassador, but she is about to become a household name thanks to her upcoming appearance in the pages of SI. Palvin stopped by Yahoo Beauty’s offices for a Periscope interview in which the smart model dished on everything from her love of reading (she reads a book in a day) and her business ventures (she has two) to how she prepped for the big shoot (nope, it didn’t involve dieting).

Yahoo Beauty: You are a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model rookie. What did it mean to you when you found out you were going to be in Sports Illustrated for the first time?
Barbara Palvin: I was super-happy. It’s a huge thing in my career. It’s going to change a lot — like everything’s going to change — after this comes out. And you know, it’s an honor.

Are you ready for everyone to know who you are?
I’m not sure about that!

Did any of the other veteran Sports Illustrated models give you tips?
I haven’t met them. I just met, like, briefly a few of them. I saw Lily, Lily Aldridge — she was shooting the day before me. And she was there when I landed and she said, ‘Don’t be nervous; you’re beautiful, you’re sexy.’ She was very sweet.

How did you prep for this shoot in the weeks leading up to it?
Tried not to go out, and stay in bed and sleep as much as I can. And I work out, especially because my agency was pushing it. “OK, Barbara, you gotta go four times a week, five times a week…” But actually the reason why they chose me is because they like my body type, so they didn’t want me to change anything for the shoot; they wanted me to stay the same way.

What workouts were you doing five days a week?
I have a personal trainer. But I tried boxing, I tried ballet, I tried everything to see what works best for my body.

I love that they weren’t giving you pressure to change your body or lose weight.
They really support feminine women. And now [with] Ashley Graham, I think it’s amazing what she stands for and what Sports Illustrated did. I think she is an amazing choice.

What was the most surprising thing for you about the SI shoot? Anything you didn’t expect?
I didn’t expect them to be so nice. I haven’t done, like, bikini and underwear shoot for like two years and that’s why I was pretty nervous. But they made me so comfortable, so I actually got into it.

Is there anything that you do right before a shoot to make you feel more relaxed?
Pushups! I did like 10 pushups to get my body tight… I don’t know if it worked.

What are your go-to beauty products?
I’m a lip balm addict — which is not good. L’Oréal Beauty Sculpt blush.

You have amazing lashes.
I have this L’Oréal Superstar mascara, it’s two sizes: One side is to make it thicker and then you put the black layer on and it gives a beautiful look.


Palvin walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
I have a shoe company brand in Hungary. Also [with] my sister, we have an event planning company that we are just starting.

You’re doing your first round of interviews now as the Sports Illustrated rookie. You must get some interesting questions. What’s the funniest, most surprising thing that anyone has asked you so far?
They’re not funny! Actually, you should be the one asking me the funniest question!

You’re right! OK, let’s go with something that’s not beauty. What are you reading right now?
That’s probably the most interesting question all week; thank you for asking! I got my first Kindle from my sister, so I downloaded all [these books from] favorite Hungarian writer Leslie L. Lawrence and I’m reading his book now. I just finished a Jo Nesbø book and I love him. The last one I read was The Sun.

What genres are those books?
These are like murder and criminal, detective. The Hungarian one, you also learn about Indian cultures and then you have to figure out what’s happening — five stories start and then it comes together. I love it when I have to think about it. I finish like one book in a day. That’s my problem. That’s why Kindle is good for me, because I put like 15 books in it.


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