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Swimsuit regrets

Kaitlynn Riely | Monday, February 16, 2009

Four or five times a week, I used to sit next to a future Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition model.

Freshman year and for parts of sophomore year during high school, I sat in homeroom next to a girl with long brown hair and very blue eyes. She was tall, her legs long. She powdered her face while the teacher read announcements out loud.

Back then, she wore a Catholic school uniform. Now, she is sprawled across the pages of Sports Illustrated and on the Internet, pictured wearing skimpy bathing suits, lying on warm beaches.

We lead very different lives. It’s been a long time since I was outside (1) lying on the ground (2) not wearing pants and a coat (3) lying on the ground not wearing pants and a coat.

A friend of mine e-mailed me the link to our high school classmate’s Sports Illustrated spread a few days ago. It was my first time looking at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. It was her first time appearing in it.

It was a little uncomfortable looking at the pictures. Last time I saw her in person, she had a lot more clothes on.

But this isn’t the first time I’ve seen pictures of my famous classmate. On the second day I arrived in London to study abroad last year, I was walking down Oxford Street. It’s a very busy street in London, with many retail stores. I looked up and saw her looking down at me, from a billboard high above the street. She was modeling clothes for a popular British store.

“I went to high school with that girl,” I told the people I was walking with, pointing at the billboard. I’m sure they assumed it was the jetlag talking.

A few weeks later, I was walking around Harrods, a famous department store in London. I saw her face, looking back at me from ads surrounding a make-up stand.

Another time, I was home in Maryland, walking through a Rite Aid. I glanced at a rack of magazines, and there she was, on the cover of Vogue.

People have created Web sites about her, she has her own Wikipedia page and she is one of the world’s 15 top-earning super models.

I know you should not make friends purely for what they can do for you, but looking back at my days in homeroom, I wonder why I didn’t chat her up a little more.

Right now I’m sitting in the basement of South Dining Hall, pulling a shift at The Observer. I haven’t been outside in hours but I know the temperature is below freezing. I could be on a beach somewhere, hanging out with my best friend, sipping a fruity drink.

Learn from my mistakes: Make friends with ridiculously good-looking people.