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It may have been intended as a visual reminder that despite
their 12-inch height difference, former Secretary of Labor
Robert Reich and model Cheryl Tiegs see eye to eye on the
sweatshop issue. Last summer the 4'10" Reich invited the 5'10"
Tiegs to address the Fashion Industry Forum. At a press
conference with Tiegs, Reich stood on an apple crate to appear
her equal in stature. Tiegs, a pioneer of celebrity-endorsed
apparel, appreciated the gag, but, like Reich, she didn't
consider the subject they were addressing to be a laughing
matter. Since first agreeing to an apparel contract with Sears
in 1980, Tiegs has vigilantly monitored the production of her
signature lines. Referring to price-conscious consumers who
don't want to pay the price for clothing guaranteed to be
sweatshop free, she said, "They may have to accept that they'll
pay more than rock-bottom prices. They can't have their cake and
eat it too."

That sort of public advocacy was a rare gesture by Tiegs, who
these days usually casts herself as a work-at-home mom. With her
name attached to lines of hosiery, eyewear and watches, she is
financially secure. Recently divorced from third husband Anthony
Peck (son of Gregory), she is remodeling a California home that
she will share with the five-year-old man in her life, son Zack.
And, at 49, she still smolders in a bikini. "When I don a
swimsuit," says Tiegs, who did so in 10 SI swimsuit issues from
1970 until '95, "I still wear a bikini. It always feels so good."

Bikinis and Tiegs have long been a perfect fit. A 1978 poster of
her in a pink two-piece made her a widely studied subject in
college dorms across the nation. Three years earlier she had
pranced in the Cancun surf at dawn and come away with a cover
(above), even though only six frames were taken during that
shoot. "That shot looks warm and inviting, but the water was
cold, and it was too early," says Tiegs, who also graced our
cover in '70 and '83. "I've never been a morning person."

Until she became a mom. "Zack has definitely altered my sleep
schedule," says Tiegs. "I don't mind. He's the love of my life."
But Zack seems to have eyes for one of mom's younger colleagues.
"He absolutely has the biggest crush on Kathy Ireland," says
Tiegs. "By his bed is a picture of her that she signed, 'To
Sweet Zack, I adore you.'"

A lot of us feel the same way about Zack's mom.


COLOR PHOTO: WALTER IOOSS JR. [Sports Illustrated magazine cover featuring Cheryl Tiegs wearing bikini]