The quest for sexy


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Lieschen Botes by Steve Tanchel

What makes a hot swimsuit? A killer cozzie? I work in the industry and it’s my job to choose costumes for sexy women to wear.

At men’s lifestyle magazine FHM, we do glamour shoots with South Africa’s most beautiful swimsuit models. I’m the editor, so I spend a lot of time on shoots furtively observing models from over the photographer’s shoulder. Basically lurking about trying not to get in anybody’s way, and endeavouring not to eat too many of the catered chicken pieces.

Then, the snapper will say, “I think we’ve got it!”

The first shot in the bag, the model will retreat to the styling room, where she will don a gown and check her BlackBerry. Maybe have a quiet chicken wing and have a cigarette.

Then there’ll be some faffing with the hair and make-up. I’ll knock politely and go, “Is it alright if I come in?”

In the styling room there is usually a rail with all the outfits we’re planning to shoot. As tastefully as possible, one sets about browsing the garments, looking for something that catches the eye. Something you reckon would look good on the young lady in question.

And what will? Well, I do have a few rough guidelines, when it comes to choosing a costume that’ll look hot.

Firstly, see what it looks like on! It’s impossible to tell if a scrap of rumpled material on a hanger is going to fit a model properly. Have her try it on. A cozzie that fits is sexier than one that doesn’t.

Plain and sheer will always look better than a busy print. A complicated fabric design distracts the eye and makes it harder to discern, say, the curve of a lady’s left boob.

Small cozzies will look better than big. Because skin is sexier than fabric.

Monokinis are a mission. A one-piece swimsuit gets a massive bulge in the front when the lady sits down. Only a front-on pose will look half decent. Go the bikini route rather.

Sheer is better than matte. To bounce the lighting off the lady’s curves and emphasise the, er, “moulding”, as they call it.

Some costumes look better from the front. Some better from the back. Give every side a chance to shine. Some bottoms can be worn back to front.

Details, details. A little blingy metal here, or a cowrie shell there, makes the whole garment look a little more upscale, a bit more expensive, basically.

The Brazilians make the most amazing cozzies. Dunno what it is about them. But they do. Especially the bums. Brazilians are all about bums.

And finally, a model will always look better in a swimsuit she likes than one she hates. “How do you feel in that one?” is a useful question to ask.

“Okay,” is what I say at that point. “Let’s shoot that.” And I slink back into the background and let the photographer do his thing.

I’ve been a maid, a deckhand, a gardener, a painter and a shop assistant. I can confirm that this job is better than all of those.

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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