By Mary Buckheit
Page 3 staff

Got a minute? If so, sit down and write a quick thank-you note to Carol Alt.

You owe her one.

Carol Alt
SI's recent 40-year Anniversary Edition turned its back on "The Face" aka Carol Alt.
After all, she started the supermodel insurgence and lifted the "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition" to new heights. The media dubbed her "The Face" and Playboy called her "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World." Carol Alt effectively paved the way for such future vixens as Heidi Klum, Rachel Hunter, Tyra Banks, Nikki Taylor, and Molly Sims.

Carol is what we like to call "a founding father of flaunt." Couple that with her lovely mug, and we think the only rightful way to honor her and all that she's done for the males of America would be to print her face on our country's currency. When it comes to a "10," wouldn't the world be a little better if Carol Alt took Alexander Hamilton's spot in your back pocket? We like to think so.

So with a handful of thank you notes and a head full of queries, Page 3's Mary Buckheit tracked down the blazing beauty to hurl her 10 Burning Questions. It was a turbulent test, Mary nearly lost her bikini top trying to keep up with Carol's movies, modeling moves and makeup lines, but she managed to make it out fully clad.

After the interview, the two called Kathy Ireland to offer their condolences on the recent Swimsuit Hall of Fame snub, all the while nibbling on a cup of carrots and reading a preview copy of Alt's own "Eat It Raw" book.

1. What happens when a bunch of supermodels hang out?

Alt: That's interesting. I've been in several situations where there is a room with a lot of beautiful, famous girls in it, and it just becomes very funny and very silly. Everybody is so happy to see each other. Everybody has stories to tell. The gossip flies, the comments fly. It's so much fun. We really are a fun group to be around because when you get to a certain point in this business, you get there because you have an amazing sense of humor and a huge tolerance. When we're all around each other, we really put all that to the test.

Is it competitive, at all? All laughs and no egos?

Not when you are sitting around and everybody knows who everybody is. Not once you reach that level. It's only competitive when you are trying to make it. When you are in the early stages, it's very competitive to the point where somebody will step in front of you or shoulder you right out of a picture or cover your best curve from the camera.

You have to box out!

Janis Dickenson
Though Janis Dickenson, above, claims she was the first supermodel, Alt has more rights to the title.
Whatever it takes! I'm telling you, it gets ugly at some of those shoots.

2. Were you really the first supermodel?

Well, everybody is going to argue over this title. Janice Dickinson claims that she was the first, but all I can tell you is this: There was a point in time when I was in dire need of changing the way the model agency was working. One day I had this moment where I went in and sat down and said to John Casablancas (founder and former chairman of Elite Modeling), "Listen, I can't work like this anymore. I can't have fifty people calling me into studio. I want one person who deals with me and that's it. This is too much." And he looked at me and he said, "You know what, you're right. We're going to make a whole new division -- a super-elite division -- for the girls who are working and shooting everyday."

Because I was the first super-elite, the press caught on and started calling me a supermodel. So in that sense, I guess I'm the first. But, in my opinion, there were girls that could have been called supermodels before that, if the term was in existence. There are a lot of could-have-been and should-have-been supermodels.

2a. Who do you think is the most beautiful woman in the world?

That's a tough one. When I was modeling, I thought Paulina [Porizkova] was gorgeous. Elle MacPherson is absolutely amazing; she is just so beautiful. Umm, but, I really have always loved Meg Ryan's look, actually. There's something about her, you know? I don't like a real high-powered, high-fashion thing all the time, and she is just naturally beautiful. She's just kind of ... I don't know.

The girl next door?

Meg Ryan
For Alt, natural is the way to go -- for beauty (Meg Ryan) and food (uncooked).
Yeah, exactly. She is real and down to earth and beautiful. I don't like a too-much-done-to-you look. Her look is simple.

3. How come you weren't a part of "Sports Illustrated"'s recent 40-year anniversary edition?

I wasn't asked! Me, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Kathy Ireland were not invited! Can you imagine that? I couldn't believe it. Like, for me not to be approached about it, OK, I can understand that. It's hard for me to say about myself. I can't say, "Hey, I should have been in there." But I certainly have an opinion about other girls [like] Rebecca Romijn and Kathy Ireland? C'mon! They've gotta be there. What's the difference between 10 and 12 girls? Or 13 for that matter?!

I don't think the guys reading would have cared if there were three more models.

Absolutely not! Of course not! But, here's the thing, make no mistake, "Sports Illustrated" has the right to choose whoever they want. Of course, I would have liked to have been involved this time around. But, it's up to them. What can you do? They decide, and also, for the record, the girls who were chosen definitely deserved to be there. No doubt about it. I'm not taking anything away from them; they all looked fantastic. The bottom line is, it's "Sports Illustrated," it's their magazine, it is their selection. They have been very good to me and my covers with them have been the best thing to ever happen to me.

4. Tally 'em up. How many magazine covers have you graced?

You know, there are people out there who keep track of this stuff, but I personally have no idea. I have heard it's somewhere between 750 and 800.

Do any stick out, or do they all just kinda blend together? One mag cover is 800 mag covers?

Well, actually there are a few that I have really good memories of because of the shoot itself or because it came at a moment where it really did a lot for my career. There is a couple that stick out. Sports Illustrated, for sure.

So SI was your all-time favorite?

Not my favorite, but it certainly had the biggest impact on my career. I have a sentimental feeling for my very first cover I was on -- it was Bazaar Magazine. And then, I remember there was this one cover that I just really liked. I saw myself, and I thought it was really pretty. Usually, I see a finished cover and I'm like, "What happened to my lip color?" or "My eyes photographed weird." And on and on. This one I saw and I went, 'Wow, I like this one.' And that was a Vogue cover shot by Albert Watson. I'll never forget it.

5. You're a 5'10 supermodel. Is there anything you would change about your body?

I'm 5'10 and a half, and actually, I think 5'8 is the perfect height.

Because you have a better pool of men to pick from. Not that I really have a problem with short men. It's usually not the tall women who have an issue with the short man. It's the other way around; the men have the problem with it. I think they are just generally nervous around taller women. They feel less masculine or something. They are intimidated. It's not their fault. Society says that men need to be bigger and stronger, and they must protect their women and so on.

So if you could change one thing, you'd be shorter?

Nah. If I could only change one thing, I probably choose my butt or my thighs. Who wouldn't, though, right? Mine have been around awhile. I wouldn't mind sprucing them up a little bit. I'm happy to be 5'10, though, because I think at some point, you actually have to limit the male pool. Limit the ones interested in you! (Laughing) You know what I mean? There are so many guys out there that being tall helps cut them down.

6. Which one of today's hunks gets you going?

Umm, I like Keanu Reeves. I don't go for the Colin Farrells who are disloyal and party around and go out with every other girl they see and get one pregnant while they're dating another. I just don't understand that. That's such a turn-off. To me, what makes a man sexy is the ability to commit. Commitment and a sense of humor, that is sexy.

Alexei Yashin
Alt says she's not puck bunny, she just loves Alexei's sense of humor.
Does (your boyfriend, NY Islander) Alexei Yashin have a good sense of humor?

Oh absolutely. People wouldn't look at Alexei and think that he is a funny guy because he is so dedicated to his sport, and he's so serious all the time. But with me, he is hysterical. He makes me laugh all the time! He is so cute; he says the funniest things. I guess he just has to be comfortable around you before he can do that. Alexei is the sexiest guy I know.

6a. What's with you and hockey players? What is it about them?

Oh boy. I might get myself into a lot of trouble here, but I gotta say it -- hockey players have an amazing butt. But I do also have to add that it's not like I am all about hockey players. It wasn't like that; it's just a matter of who you run into. I had never even been to a hockey game before I met my ex-husband [NY Ranger Ronny Greschner].

I think what I like about hockey players is that they are very disciplined. They work out all the time. They take great care of themselves and their bodies. They are so dedicated and I like that. I like that passion. I think that's what it is; the passion -- that's what's so attractive. Whatever a man does, as long as he is dedicated to it and has a real passion for it, that is what makes them sexy.

So there is no underlying hockey fetish?

I'm not like some puck bunny, no. I grew up on Long Island. I didn't even know the Islanders existed. I mean, the only guy I ever went to see at Nassau Coliseum was Bob Dylan.

7. The media gave you the nickname "The Face." If you could go by any body part, which would you have chosen?

Elle MacPherson
There's a reason Elle MacPherson is called "The Body."
I think "The Face" is pretty cool! Elle MacPherson is "The Body." I can't compete with that, but when you think about all the beautiful women out there, to be the one they call "The Face" is still pretty special. And the media did it. It wasn't like I went around calling myself "The Face." Although I did have a boyfriend who called me Face all the time. It was cute.

Mmm ... that's still a little weird.

No! It was funny. I thought it was cute.

Playboy called you "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World." How did that feel?

I was incredulous! I thought for sure the person was kidding when they told me. I mean, it was Playboy ... Playboy! They shoot the most beautiful women in the world! It was unreal! Playboy!! And, what's more, I hadn't even worked with them yet. We had talked about maybe doing a spread someday, but at that point, I had nothing to talk about, I was nobody.

I have a new book [about raw food] coming out in a few months. That just might be the perfect time to do something for Playboy, if they asked me.

Pardon me, but I think I'm missing the raw food-Playboy connection.

They go hand in hand when you think about it. The raw food movement is really all about maintaining a great body. I swear by it.

8. So, you don't cook your food? Do you own a stove?

I don't cook anything. Yeah, I have [a stove]. I just never use it. I don't cook food in it. I used to put my cutting board on it and cut my raw, unpasteurized cheese. Food should be raw, just the way God intended it!

Don't you ever just want to warm it up a little? Leave it in the sun or in your car by accident or something?

Well, it's not like it has to be freezing cold. It could be room temperature. Actually, I can have soups that are warm. As long as it's not over 118 degrees, it's alright. You'd be surprised at how warm 118 degrees is. That's all you need.

Nothing cooked over 118, ever?? C'mon, that's impossible.

Well, I don't cook anything. Sometimes I eat cooked food if I'm out somewhere, and I really can't avoid it. And ... I love popcorn at hockey games. So, every once in awhile, I'll pop a lot of enzymes, and go for the popcorn at the arena. You know, between modeling and acting, I've tried a lot of crazy diets, but this raw food living just feels so good. I can't say enough about it.

9. What's the first thing that comes to your mind when I say "Snakehead Terror"?

Oh man. That's my new movie. I know, I know. (Laughing) When I got the script I was like, "Oh my God! Why are they calling it that?" But then I realized that there is actually a fish called the snakehead, and then it made a little more sense to me. It's based on a true story, you know.

There are really people living in snakehead terror out there?

Carol Alt
In her new sci-fi TV movie, Alt handles the horror and those dastardly snakeheads.
Yes! I'm serious. OK, this is what happened. There was a guy who went to Malaysia where snakeheads are a delicacy. So he smuggled two of them back into the States -- alive. He didn't know anything about these fish. He just thought that they look wild, and it would be really cool to have them, show them off, whatever.

Wait, they're a delicacy? Like, they eat snakeheads in Malaysia?

Yeah.

Would you eat them?

No way.

Even if they weren't cooked?

I wouldn't eat snakeheads no matter what you did to them. They are ugly looking things. The name suits them. Anyway, so this guy takes these fish back here. He throws them into his tank thinking he's going to be this great topic of conversation with his cool new fish he smuggled. But what happens is these fish ate everything in his tank. They are vicious. So then, he didn't know what to do.

Finally, he just took them out of his tank and threw them into the Maryland water system. But they survived. They mated and mated and they ate everything in there, and they keep multiplying because they have no natural predators. The only predators snakeheads have in Malaysia are people. And, the other thing about them is they are like alligators. They can actually walk on land for at least a few hours before they dry out. So when they ate everything in the water, they would come out on the land and eat what they could find like small animals and dogs and things.

Dogs?!

Yes. I'm serious. This is a true story. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. So we went with that in our movie. I mean, the real story is already so far-fetched that we just kept going a little farther. I mean, it's SciFi. People who watch SciFi will love this kind of thing. I never got into this stuff, but I thought, hey, I'll try it.

Carol Alt
Good thing ocean shots like this came before Alt's snakehead experience.
The first time I read it I thought it was a little silly and kinda gory, but Bruce Boxleitner was the star, and he has a huge fan base in that genre. I knew if I was going to do this, I just had to do it with Bruce. So I did, and I'm glad I did because I had a lot of fun. It's scary to think that this could actually happen. It did happen. These things are nasty! They are like piranha. I was scared to death.

Aren't you glad you did this movie AFTER you did all of those swimsuit shoots?

(Laughs) Yes. Now, I'd definitely check twice before I hop in the water!

10. If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would you choose?

Anybody at all?

Anybody. Living or dead. Actors, hockey players, whoever you want. Pick three.

Well, in that case, I only want one person -- Jesus Christ. Oh yeah. He would know everything. If you could sit down with Jesus, you wouldn't need anybody else. He could answer all of your questions. Instead of Einstein and Louis Pasteur and Madame Curry, you could just have Jesus and he could answer for all of them. I would love to see a friend of mine who passed away a few years back, but first and foremost, I think it would be very interesting to spend one afternoon with Jesus. Can you even imagine? That would change your life.