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Posted Wed, March 31, 2010 12:43pm EDT

EXCLUSIVE! Hilary Rhoda Spills: I'm Finally Showing My Sexy Side!

See what else the gorgeous model had to say!

Hilary Rhoda may be a beautiful model, but the face of Estee Lauder who has been featured in everything from Dolce & Gabbana campaigns to the Victoria’s Secret catalog is more than just a pretty face! The starlet, who is co-hosting AER 2010 with Kerry Rhodes in NYC on Apr. 1– a fashion event for The Tesla Group to benefit CancerCare– tells about her charity work, what it’s really like working on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, (it is as sexy and fun as it seems!), how she manages to keep her skin so flawless, fesses up about her most embarrassing moment, and even spills about where she sees herself in five years (don’t rule out an acting career)! See what else she shared.

In your career so far, is there a shoot or campaign that sticks out as most memorable or your favorite, and if so why?
One of my all-time favorites was a shoot I did with Steven Meisel for which I was on the cover of Italian Vogue. It was a story that was shot on Hollywood back lots and a private plane that was chic, but very edgy. It was such a fun shoot to do and I loved the way the pictures came out.

What was it like being in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue?
Sports Illustrated is such a fun magazine to be a part of. It’s probably the first time I have shown my sexy side since I started modeling.

That shoot is such a dream for so many models. Is it as fun and sexy as it seems?
Yes! I always feel sexy in the bathing suits and the hair and makeup is always natural. The crew makes me feel comfortable and I feel like I can really just have fun and let loose. Also I get to shoot in the most exotic places in the world, last year we went to India which was phenomenal.

As the face of [Estee] Lauder, you do a lot of close-up shots. How do you prepare for those, and what is your skin care regimen like?
Taking care of my skin is so important for my job. Constantly traveling to different climates and the heavy makeup changes at shoots can wreak havoc on my skin if I am not careful!

I wash my face morning and night and follow with Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex to repair and hydrate- this is the one product that I cannot live without. I also like to give my skin break when I am not working so I don’t wear a lot of makeup and love to go to the spa for a steam. I am a stickler about removing my makeup at night and of course my mom taught me from a young age to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! I am loving the new Estée Lauder Hydrationist Moisturizers. I was just in Hong Kong and after the long flight a surge of moisture was just what my skin needed!

What advice would you give a girl who wants to break into modeling?
It’s all about good management. I am so lucky to have my mother who is my manager guide me through my career and help make the best decisions for me. Secondly, never give up and do not let one person’s rejection reflect on anything else.

What was your most embarrassing runway or “working model” moment?
I had to go in for a fitting with Zac Posen a few years ago at like 4 am the night before his show and I was wearing these wide leg pants and seeing if I could walk. So I am walking across the showroom and everyone’s watching, and I just face planted right away. They tried to fix the pants and I tried again… face plant again. This happened a few times before we got it right and thank god it didn’t happen in the show.

What’s your favorite perk of the job?
(Shooting at amazing locations) and visiting gorgeous places that I would never likely get go to if I didn’t have this job.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Acting or being an entrepreneur…or maybe both.

When you aren’t modeling, you like to…
Hang out with friends, go see concerts and Broadway shows, and shop of course!

You’re naturally athletic, do you think that helps you when it comes to modeling?
I took ballet for eleven years and that really helps when posing (and getting the perfect shot). Ballet also helped my posture and with elongating my body. Being naturally athletic, I have a lot of energy and am not hesitant to do crazy things such as hanging from a helicopter or jumping around for hours while at a photo shoot!

Have you ever gotten star struck?
Working with Karl Lagerfeld for the first time was pretty cool because he looks exactly like all the pictures you’ve seen of him. He is such a sweetheart though and I’ve worked with him many times. Every time I’d see him he’d give me presents to take home for me and my mom, which was pretty special.

What’s your must-have for spring?
Rag & Bone light wash ankle skinny jeans.

Do you like modeling for clothing or beauty brands better?
Obviously, I always love shooting for Estee Lauder because I’ve been with the brand for four years now and it’s always the same people on the shoots. It’s a comfortable atmosphere and we’re creating great pictures. It’s also very fun for me to play with expressions on my face since that’s usually all you see in the ads.

Tell us a little bit about AER 2010, the fashion event you are hosting for The Tesla Group to benefit CancerCare.
This event was right up my alley because it mixes charity with fashion. There is going to be a fashion show put on by Laila Azhar, and will be co-hosted by Kerry Rhodes and myself. I think it’s going to be a very successful night and will raise a lot of money for a good cause! I’m so happy to be involved and hope I can raise awareness of this important issue and get more people to attend every year.

What made you decide to get involved, is this a cause you feel more passionate about above others?
I am involved with several other charities but this was something that stuck out to me. I like it because it not only helps people with lung cancer, but it helps the families of those people who are suffering.

Do you already have an outfit for AER? How did you choose it?
Not yet, it will probably be a last minute decision. But you can expect that it will be bright and colorful!

-Katrina Mitzeliotis

To see more of Hilary’s sexy swimsuit shots, check out Sports Illustrated!