Thursday, July 17, 2003

Cameras, not courtrooms

'SI' swimsuit model forsakes law to focus on acting

By Larry McShane
The Associated Press

Molly Sims
Legally blonde?

That was nearly the Molly Sims story.

The twentysomething model-actress was studying to become a lawyer at Vanderbilt University when she decided to stand in front of a camera rather than the bench. A few clicks later, the Kentucky native had a new career.

This summer promises to be particularly busy for the four-time Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and Victoria's Secret pitchwoman. The one-time host of MTV's House of Style starts shooting a new program for NBC, Las Vegas, with James Caan and Cheryl Ladd. She has a role in the upcoming movie Starsky and Hutch, with Owen Wilson.

And she's involved in SI's "Fresh Faces Swimsuit Model Search." One lucky woman, 18 or older with no modeling experience, will win a spot in the magazine's 40th anniversary swimsuit issue and a three-year, $75,000 modeling contract.

Contestants can submit their entries through a Web site, and the winner will be announced next year on Dateline NBC.

Question: Acting or modeling: which is more difficult?

Answer: "Acting, for sure. I was never a girl who didn't like modeling. You travel around the world, getting free makeup and clothes, and getting paid for it - c'mon, it's not a bad life. But you want to use your mind, you want to use your brain. Acting's a bit like therapy. ... Once you get to do it, it's so much fun. It's just showing different parts of yourself. There's a lot of self-discovery."

Q: New York or Los Angeles: which do you prefer?

A: "I'm spending a lot of time in Los Angeles, but being back in New York - there's nothing like it. The energy, just walking around and seeing the people - New York has a soul about it. Los Angeles is nice, not as noisy, but you spend a lot of time in your car."

Q: Do people recognize you on the street from the SI swimsuit shots?

A: "You think only men would go and get the magazine. But it's men, women, young men - it's surprising. You hear somebody yell, 'Hey Molly, what's up?' And you think you know them, and then it's, 'Hey, I don't know you.' I was in a mall once, and this woman came up to me and said, 'Girl, you're Molly Sims? You don't look all that.' "

Q: What's the biggest benefit of winning this SI competition?

A: "The best thing about this search is you'll get to skip everything that girls work six, seven, 10 years for. ... It's so much exposure for a girl. Most models, you don't know their names, except for maybe the top 10. If a girl gets in Sports Illustrated, it puts a name with the face."

Q: Are you a fan of reality television?

A: "I have to tell you, I'm not a girl who loves reality television. I watched the finals of American Idol once, and I watched Survivor once. I'm not a big reality television person. I don't get it. ... I don't know how out of 16 strangers, you're going to find your wife or husband. But some people are addicted to it."

On the Net: Sports Illustrated Web site

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