NewsHawaii/Tahiti NuiCoco Ho

Coco Ho Talks ESPN Body Issue

Coco Ho (HAW) will join a list of iconic athletes to grace the pages of ESPN Magazine's The Body Issue. The annual edition celebrates the best bodies in sports, sculpted from their respective playing fields. Ho, 23, isn't the first surfer to bare all for the flesh-fest; she joins the ranks of Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Maya Gabeira, and Claire Bevilacqua, who have all bared skin for previous editions.

The Inertia spoke with Ho to hear about what the process was like.

ESPN has been doing “The Body Issue” for a while, and even though there is a very obvious and in-your-face sexuality about it, they have somehow been able to preserve the integrity of the collection as, above all, a bare-all exhibit of sorts for raw athleticism, stripped of uniforms and equipment. When you saw Kelly, Maya, and Steph in the past issues, what was your reaction then? Was it positive, or was there ever any scrutiny on your end?
Hmm, thing is I don't see the “in-your-face” sexuality about the ESPN Body Issue — if anything, I see the integrity in ESPN as a whole and think of it as something so prestigious, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So when I saw Kelly, Maya, and Steph's, the only thought that registered was: “This is sick, this is the only nude shoot I'd ever do!”

Coco Ho Ho's healthy lifestyle in the water places her among the world's most athletic people. WSL / Kirstin

How did they approach you? What was your initial reaction? Were you gung-ho from the start, or was there a discussion around your involvement?
I was approached through email via my manager, and I was ever so excited because I've been waiting for this day. I've been offered to do the “sexy” Stab mag shoots more than a handful of times — the one that almost half of the girls have already done — but I told my manager the only nude shoot I'd ever do was the Body Issue. If I was ever to strip down for a photo shoot I wanted it to be with integrity and alongside some of the world's most respected athletes.

What was the shoot like? Was it, in any way, awkward? Who was in the room with you?
The shoot was as mellow as a production this big could be. We had a really great crew on a boat, zodiac, and jet skis! ESPN has been doing the issue for quite some time now and had everything dialed; I felt really comfortable. Most of my shoot was in the ocean so I had my board for protection — haha — but it wasn't too bad. I couldn't imagine being nude straight on in a studio... now that seems awkward!

For the full interview head to The Inertia.

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