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Associate editor Jule Campbell plans each shot for our annual swimsuit issue with extraordinary care, but there are occasional surprises. This year it was marines and sailors. Campbell and photographer Paolo Curto were posing Carol Alt with her back to the Caribbean off Aruba's Palm Beach when Campbell happened to notice three inflatable boats "circling like moths." Campbell beckoned them to shore. Curto kept clicking, and the unsuspecting Alt suddenly found herself "attacked" by a squad of Dutch marines (above).

Plans for the picture immediately below called for Kathy Ireland, Kim Alexis and Jean Pelton to pose on a dismasted sailboard, with a French frigate in Bonaire's Kralendijk harbor as background. As if on cue, the ship's company lined the rail, but one sailor, apparently feeling no pain, jumped fully clothed into the water and joined the models. This sort of thing doesn't faze three-year swimsuit issue veteran Alexis, but it gave newcomers Ireland and Pelton, both 20-year-old Californians, a start.

Pelton was discovered while working in a Santa Monica bathing suit store in 1982. Ireland, a hiker and skier, got into modeling when her mother, who felt she was too much of a tomboy, enrolled her in a course when she was 17 "to learn how to walk and apply toenail polish and all that," Kathy Ireland says. "I wasn't very interested in any of it."

The shot on pages 64 and 65 required a bit of oil spread on the water to enhance Kelly Emberg's silvery reflection, plus a three-inch mound of sand beneath her hips. Preparing for the shoot (below), Campbell tries to reduce Emberg's elevation, as Cai-Cai Cicilia, a guide from the Bonaire Tourist Bureau, and photographer Curto look on.

Born in Yugoslavia, Curto grew up in Italy, lives in Sardinia, recently had a one-man show of paintings in Marseilles and met his French wife (and assistant) Catherine in Indonesia. Cosmopolitan he may be, but no more so than cover girl Paulina Porizkova, 18, who was born in Czechoslovakia and has lived in Sweden, France and the U.S. Porizkova is extremely nearsighted—"like a bat," she says cheerfully—but her myopia came in handy during a 4 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. shift. The crew arrived at Aruba's Colorado Point just before sunup, and Campbell was gratified to note that Porizkova, accustomed to functioning with little in the way of visual aid, had applied her makeup at 30 mph in the van in the pitch dark. The cover picture was taken only moments later. "I knew where the circles under my eyes were," she explained, "and I did my mascara when we stopped for a traffic light."


Dutch marines stage a surprise landing.


The French navy boards our board, and Campbell attends here to the bottom line.