Vendela is 44 today.
She’s always seemed a little out of place in the swimsuit issue. She’s gorgeous, obviously, but she’s got an icy, Hitchcockian blonde thing going on. She’d be more at home getting stalked by Jimmy Stewart than playing beach volleyball.So when 1993 found her posing in the gelid terrain of Alaska, it seemed her Scandinavian beauty had found a home.
It hadn’t, as it turned out. After enduring some arctic blasts from a helicopter, in one of the most bizarre shoots in SI history, she’d had enough—she walked off the set, “on strike,” earning the (facetious?) disapproval of Ashley Richardson:
“I hate being a professional supermodel. Because I have to do this sh— stuff.” (sotto voce) “Vendela’s not a very professional supermodel. Look at her. Running off, ‘I’m on strike!’”
Ashley stayed behind and brought the photographer’s vision to life: an Antarctic climatologist in a shiny, blue, long-sleeved leotard escapes from her kidnappers and flags down a passing helicopter for rescue. The fun starts at 1:44 here.