I often get stuck running an interview with some chick from Playboy. I’ve worked with all three of Hef’s girlfriends and a few cover girls. Every time I head into one of these interviews, I do so with the honest intention of hating the bitch. Whether it stems from jealousy or elitism, it makes no difference: I don’t want to like her. And every time, without fail, the bitch ends up being the fucking sweetest thing and not nearly as stupid as I’d hoped she’d be.
Yesterday was no exception. But this time I was able to sit down with three-time Olympian turned July Playboy cover girl Amanda Beard and ask her my own questions. I only had ten minutes, so my interview isn’t as good or extensive as others, but the chick is cool as hell (as is her boyfriend. And sorry guys, but if he was in that hot blogger contest, he’d win, hands down). I wasn’t able to fit in questions about the couple’s Arizona home, their three dogs or the “his” and “hers” motorcycles, but I did get a few in. Oh, and sorry to disappoint if you haven’t seen the spread yet, but you’re not getting full frontal. She explains below.
Who approached who for the Playboy shoot?
They actually approached my agent, and he called me. They’ve approached a couple of times and it never really felt like the right moment in my life. This time, everything clicked, everything fell together nicely. And like I said, they gave me so much control over the photo shoot with picking the photographer, and having a lot of creative control and being able to check out all the photos and approve them all before they were put in the magazine. And I was like, you know what? This is Playboy, and them giving me this much control in a legendary magazine like this, I’d be a fool to pass it up. So I definitely was excited to – hopefully – be on the cover.
Playboy has been known to airbrush out tattoos and you have a few. Did they airbrush yours out? (I haven’t actually seen the spread. I neither subscribe to the magazine nor want to purchase one from shelves in a store).
You know, [other magazines have] done that in previous photo shoots that I’ve done but they didn’t do it in this one. I like it when they leave it in there because it’s like, airbrushing a birthmark or a freckle off of someone is kind of weird. You need to keep it as natural as possible. My tattoos are special to me, so I’m glad they left them. I have the three stars on my back, on the back of my neck I have the zodiac sign for Scorpio, and then on the back of my leg I have another star, and then on my other leg I have Ray tattooed on me which is my middle name, my dad’s middle name and my grandpa’s name.
Not to disappoint all the guys, but you didn’t exactly do a full frontal. What did you allow them to shoot?
You go through all the logistics of it and what you want to reveal and not reveal. I’m totally fine with my butt showing, you know, I moon people all the time, so that’s not weird. And you know what, I’ve basically shown most of my boobs minus the nipples, so I figured, why not take that next step, but I wasn’t ready for that bottom half part.
When you did the FHM cover in 2004, you were in it with Logan Tom, Haley Cope, Jenny Adams and Amy Acuff. Acuff also did a shoot with Playboy in 2004. Had she already finished that shoot by that point and have you talked to her about it at all?
I’m not quite sure. I didn’t get to shoot with all those girls. They kind of put us together at the end. I only shot with one of the other girls and I’ve never even met them. So I don’t know what order she did the photo shoots in, but I saw that spread in 2004. I mean, I obviously have no problem with it. I think it’s always refreshing and kind of nice to see a body like that portrayed as beautiful and sexy.
Now, you’re going to have critics. You work with Defenders of Wildlife; people say you’re a role model, etc. What do you say to your critics?
You know what, that’s fine. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, so they can say what they want, but my whole thing is that I live a very calm and healthy lifestyle. I mean, I’m not partying late into the hours or anything like that, I hardly even drink, I’m not a drug addict, I’m not in jail. I’m in a committed relationship, I’m very very close with my family and those are all things that [make me] a role model. I always say that everyone chooses their own road, and so Playboy might not be for them, they might not necessarily agree with it, but I feel like my lifestyle is definitely worth being a role model for.
You’ve come from the 14-year-old girl with the teddy bear on the pedestal to the cover of Playboy, and to live out your dreams. Not every girl’s dream is Playboy, but what do you say to young athletes who look to have the success that you’ve had?
The thing that’s great about being an athlete is that it does create a lot of opportunities for you and it opens a lot of doors, and you have to decide which ones are the right ones for you. I think that you need to be aware of the things that hard work could bring you. Being dedicated to a sport can bring you a lifetime of great memories, it can bring you a job, and a lot of things. I talk to young girls all the time about this kind of stuff, and you know, they don’t know about [the magazine], they have to be 18 to buy it, so I talk to them about swimming and going through high school and all those pressures. I lived through it, so I think it’s just refreshing for them to talk to me.
You mentioned your family before. How is dad handling this whole Playboy thing?
Dad, actually, is super cool. You know, I’ve talked to him about it before because I’ve always kind of toyed with the possibility of being approached for this. So I’ve always kind of brought it up to him because we’re very, very close. And when I said, “Hey, I’m gonna shoot for Playboy and they said it could be a possible cover,” he was like, “This is a great business decision. I think this is a good thing to do, and if you’re comfortable with this, I’m comfortable with this and I support you no matter what.” So, he’s a good dad.
Are you afraid that anyone in your family’s going to see it that you’d rather not?
Everyone’s buying the copies, uncles, aunts, cousins, everyone. So, you know what, in one way you can look at it as it’s weird or awkward, but in another way, my family’s supporting me and they’re going out and buying magazines and they know that I’m working really hard to do this stuff, which is cool. They can look passed all the negative things being said and just have an open mind with it.
You’ve been up since 4 o’clock this morning; you’ve done numerous interviews and probably have more when you leave here. You’re in the middle of training for the 2008 Olympics…how exactly do you fit your training in?
I don’t actually work out very much when I’m doing things like this because I have no energy to work out and I don’t know where I would fit it in. I’m literally going from 4am to about 10pm tonight, so these are my days off, if you can even call them that. But every other day I’m not doing a full schedule like this, I’m definitely working out. And I have my jump rope with me in the hotel, so if I have any spare time I can bust my jump rope out and do my quick little sets, or some sit-ups.
There’s discussion going on right now that hints at us boycotting the Beijing Olympics for political reasons. Is that fair to do that to all of you athletes who work so hard to get there? What would you say to them?
Not at all. That would be heartbreaking, I think, to do something like that. I think the Olympics is putting away all the political [stuff] that’s going on, having some good, healthy competition. I think it’s just horrible to not allow athletes who’ve been training, you know, their whole lives for these moments to not compete. I would be one pissed off person. So don’t do it.
We went on to finish the interview by talking about the disaster that is the 2012 London logo, but she hasn’t yet seen it. I told her about the epilepsy scare and she laughed. She’s funny, this one. She’s also incredibly sweet and incredibly smart, as I hoped she wouldn’t but knew she would be. I will be cheering for her come Beijing, if we are still going.
To see more of Amanda and her boyfriend Sasha, check out the house tour she did for Sobe.