Sara Sampaio: ‘Opportunity To Brag Whole Year About It’

It may be a cold day where you are, but Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Sara Sampaio heated things up with an in-studio appearance on CBS Sports Radio on Friday.

“How you doing, girl?” the always-charming Brian Jones asked the 23-year-old Portugal native.

Sampaio was doing quite well, especially after being named SI swimsuit Rookie of the Year.

Do you get a trophy for that?

“I don’t know,” Sampaio said on Gio and Jones. “Well, if I do, I haven’t gotten mine yet.”

More money?

“Oh, I wish,” Sampaio said, laughing.

Well then what do you get for winning such a prestigious honor?

“It gives you the opportunity to brag the whole year about it,” she said.

Hey, nothing wrong with that – as long as the other girls don’t get too jealous.

“No, it’s just a funny competition,” Sampaio said. “To be honest, we’re just really happy to be in the magazine. It doesn’t really matter who wins or not.”

The SI swimsuit issue is notorious for taking its models to some of the most exotic places in the world. Sampaio? Sampaio had her shoot on Route 66.

Route 66? Really?

“I got to see America,” she said excitedly. “Like the real America. It was pretty awesome. It was actually one of the things I’ve always wanted to do my whole life. I’m not from here. I’m from Portugal. We see all these movies about America, so we get this idea (of what it’s like). So I’ve always wanted to just go in a car and cross America and stop in random places.”

Some of which, Sampaio said, were safer than others.

“There were some interesting (stops),” she explained. “We stopped at this little biker (shop in this) little town, and the photographer, Ben, he was like, ‘It’d be so cool if we (could) take a picture.’ And then we were looking around and we were like, ‘Maybe it’s not a good idea to have three girls in bathing suits (here).’ This place was actually really, really dangerous. (So we said), ‘Let’s get out of here.’”

Why? Bikers are nice!

“It was during happy hour,” Sampaio said, laughing. “We were just not sure.”

Sampaio was one of seven rookies vying for “Rookie of the Year” honors. Sampaio’s next goal is to one day appear on the cover of the magazine, but that depends on numerous factors.

In other words, being Rookie of the Year doesn’t guarantee anything.

“It’s always one of the goals, being on the cover,” she said. “Being Rookie of the Year, because it’s voted by the public, probably would be a good sign (of what could happen in the future). But at the end of the day, it’s the best picture – what the editors decide is the best picture of the year. And every girl in the magazine, even the rookies, have a chance to get the cover.”

You can watch a behind-the-scenes special on the making of the swimsuit issue on Sunday, Feb. 15, on the Travel Channel at 9 p.m. ET.

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