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'That Was Odd': Ronda Rousey Gets Real About the NSFW Details from Her Sports Illustrated Cover Shoot

Updated

The photo shoot behind Ronda Rousey‘s historic cover for this year’s Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue wasn’t as glamorous as it looked.

The UFC fighter had her “swimsuit” (inspired by a real-life one by Camilla) painted on, a process that took hours to prep. Her most memorable part of the two-day shoot? When the artists were at work on her body-turned-canvas, and what they had to get up-close-and-personal with.

Ronda Rousey Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition 2016
Frederic Pinet/Sports Illustrated

“The most memorable thing was me bent over on a table while someone took a little paintbrush and just colored circles around my butthole,” Rousey, 29, said. “And I was like, ‘I am not used to anything cold and wet being there.’ So it was really odd.”

While she said she didn’t feel naked, Rousey missed one supportive part of her life while taking part in the shoot.

“I’m standing there naked for 14 hours and shooting for all this time and at the end of the day, they’re like, ‘Do you want to eat? Do you want water? Do you want anything else?’ I’m like ‘No, I want a bra pronto. All other needs come later.’ ”

Uncomfortable shoots aside, Rousey also expressed her excitement and appreciation for this year’s three-cover issue.

“This is like a dream I forgot to have and ended up having anyway,” she said. “I love that all the covers are three different body types in their healthiest form.”

Rhonda Rousey Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition 2016
MJ Day/Sports Illustrated

When Rousey was growing up, being a girl with muscles wasn’t always easy.

“In high school, people would be asking me to flex and grabbing my arms to the point where I was wearing zip up hoodies to cover my arms, even if it was 90 degrees out,” Rousey said. “You shouldn’t be self conscious about being yourself. And there’s many different kinds of beauty and I’m glad it’s being shown.”

Rousey’s fellow cover stars include model Hailey Clauson and size-16 body activist Ashley Graham. And Rousey said Graham’s reaction to the reveal was perhaps the best part of the evening.

“I don’t know if I felt more special getting the cover or being able to sit there and personally witness Ashley Graham’s reaction,” Rousey said. “I was already slightly girl crush obsessed with her, and she just met every expectation and more. She is an amazing human being and it made me so happy to see her that happy.”

SI‘s swimsuit issue hits newsstands on Feb. 15.

What do you think of Rousey’s cover? Let us know below.

–Blake Bakkila