Surfer to Surfer: Kelly Slater Interviews Marisa Miller
By Kelly Slater
Photography by Brian Bowen Smith
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Marisa Miller and Kelly Slater are beautiful bookends to a certain iconic all-American ideal. Slater, the laconic and breezily talented surfer with chiseled abs, is from the Sunshine State, and Miller, the longhaired, sports-loving tomboy, is from California. They happen to be friends, bonded by a love of surfing and the ocean. In fact, the pair met at a surfing competition in Fiji that Slater sponsored, in which Miller took second place. “She was riding a short board. I was very impressed by that,” says Slater.
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Both, though, are hardly haplessly lucky. Slater is to pro surfing what Michael Jordan is to basketball, and successfully turned his household name status into a platform for environmental stewardship. Miller, meanwhile, has transitioned from Victoria’s Secret angel and Sports Illustrated cover star to entrepreneur and philanthropist. On a recent afternoon, they connected to catch up on their adventures.
KELLY SLATER: I know you’re athletic—I’ve seen you surf. You’ve said you’re a tomboy, yet you’re also an icon of feminine beauty. How did that happen?
MARISA MILLER: I have two younger sisters, and I’m really close to my dad, so I would kind of be the pseudo-son and throw the football around with him and watch sports. We had horses, and we didn’t have cable TV, so our life was completely outside. I took wood shop. I didn’t know what being pretty was. My sophomore year in high school, I played volleyball, and they made you wear those ridiculous uniforms that look like a huge bikini brief. It was super-embarrassing. There was this rumor going around that I had a “good body,” and I didn’t even know what that meant! My parents were just like, “Oh, it just means you’re really healthy and you’re strong!”
KS: So you’re a straight-up hippie then?
MM: My parents definitely were hippies. They lived out of their truck the first six months they were married, and all they did was surf. So I definitely had those tendencies, because that was just how I was raised.
KS: Did you ever think you’d end up leading such a glamorous lifestyle?
MM: I would watch my mom get ready and we would play dress-up, but I was never really a girly-girl. So when I started modeling, it was kind of cool—it gave me a reason to explore that side of myself.
Styling by Tanya Gill for Icon House/iconhouse.com; Hair by Lorenzo Martin for Cloutier Remix using L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin hairspray; Makeup by Terri Apanasewicz for Cloutier Remix using Amazing Cosmetics