Niki Taylor’s genetic fortune and homegrown beach-girl spirit (she’s a Fort Lauderdale native) helped many a bikini fulfill its true potential. Since becoming one of CoverGirl’s first under-18 spokesmodels, she’s graced six covers of Ocean Drive, as well as Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Throughout her career, Taylor proved models can be more than just pretty faces, launching a fragrance (Begin by Niki Taylor), founding the Begin Foundation for the Advancement of Women in Business, and cohosting and starring in reality-TV shows (Make Me a Supermodel and Celebrity Apprentice, among them). As far as fashion goes, the 36-year-old beauty now prefers to go casual, and these days happily frequents the boardroom more often than the runway. Here, Taylor shares her experience growing up in South Florida, and how she learned to handle embarrassing moments on the catwalks of yore.


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