"Sailor Brinkley-Cook" sounds more like the name of the person who makes meals for soldiers on an aircraft carrier than that of a model, but this 19-year-old beauty may be the next supermodel you can’t escape for a decade. She certainly has the right DNA.
Sailor is the daughter of Christie Brinkley, who made her fame as the “girl next door” model in the early and mid-1980s. Brinkley became a household name for starring in Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” video, married The Piano Man shortly thereafter, and became known as the hottie in the red car from the original National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Of course, all of that was well before Sailor was born. Brinkley had long divorced Billy Joel by that time and had started fading from the public. Supermodels have just so long a shelf life, and you can only host so many infomercials, so she started collecting husbands, and Sailor’s dad, Peter, was her fourth. That marriage ended very badly, with allegations of mental and physical abuse.
Despite the friction in her childhood caused by her parents, thankfully, she got her mother’s DNA when it came to what she looked like. Intrigued by her mother’s career in modeling, she followed in her footsteps. In early 2017, she appeared with her mother and half-sister Alexa in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Yeah, it was a gimmick to have the family there, but apparently, she scored some points because Sailor was invited back solo to shoot for the 2018 issue. But aside from being Christie Brinkley’s daughter, who is she? That’s what we’re here for. Here are 15 Get-To-Know-Ya Photos of SI’s Newest Swimsuit Model, Sailor Brinkley-Cook.
15 She had no idea she was a trailblazer
There are those people who set out to be the first at something that statistically and realistically seems impossible. It’s an uphill climb, and they scratch and claw every step of the way. Then, there are those who achieve those kinds of goals and have to have it pointed out to them after the fact. Sailor Brinkley-Cook was one such woman who had no idea she’d accomplished one of those crazy first-time moments when she was informed that she and Christie Brinkley were the first mother-daughter combination to ever appear in their own solo photos for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. How’d she find out? She read about it on the Internet. When SI asked her about the unique honor, she said: "I didn’t realize until I saw that as a headline on the website yesterday. And I was like ‘Wait. Wow. That’s pretty sick.’”
14 Are her clothes staying on?
One of the things that set apart Christie Brinkley from almost every other model of her -- or any -- time is that she never did an artistic nude photo shoot, she never posed for a men’s magazine, and she never showed it all in a movie. We can think of only very few models who can claim a career of staying covered, and now that we’re into the second generation, we have to wonder: will it be “like mother, like daughter”? Sailor has been very coy about the question, but she's expressed the fact she thought it was cool that her mother was on a cover of Playboy in 1984. Christie didn’t appear nude, actually wearing more clothes than in most of her bikini shoots at the time. Her mother was a superstar at the time, and Sailor’s not quite there yet. Could posing in the quintessential men’s magazine help her career? And if she went further than Christie in exposure, would her mother approve?
13 What she's going to become known for
It seems like when someone crosses over into the realm of being a supermodel, she becomes known for a specific body part of hers more than for her others. For some, it’s legs, face, or chest. We’re going to put in an early vote that Sailor Brinkley-Cook’s best asset (read that last word slowly) is her rear end. She seems to be well aware of this, considering how many buttless bathing suits she's posted of herself in online. Her mom came from an era where few wore thongs, but Sailor seems to be completely embracing the style. It’s kind of interesting that Christie Brinkley came from a time when supermodels had curves, then we went two decades with very thin women, and now, we’re circling back. It’d be nice to see Sailor walking in your direction on the beach, but we also wouldn’t be too upset if she just kept going so we could watch her walk by.
12 School is the most important thing until SI comes calling
Sailor Brinkley-Cook was making a bit of a name for herself in the modeling world and was obviously immediately high profile being the offspring of Christie Brinkley. But like most 18-year-olds, she made the decision to go off to college in the fall of 2016. She chose the Parsons School of Design in New York City, which would allow her to still be a part-time model. She wasn’t going to learn about creating fancy clothes, though. She decided to study photography because she always found it fascinating how the photographers captured such amazing pics. Despite giving a few interviews that fall where she pushed a school-first agenda, let’s just say that she wasn't the most dedicated student when a super high-profile gig like SI’s swimsuit issue came along.
11 About the first name
Yeah, we know about Apple, Blue Ivy, and North West, so it’s probably not too surprising that a celebrity would name her child "Sailor," but what was Christie Brinkley thinking? Was she a fan of the anime character Sailor Moon? Did she want her child to have giant eyes? Thankfully, Sailor has gone on the record saying that she loves her name and has never had an issue with it even if somebody made fun of her when she was young. The story that she tells is that her mother loved sailing and her parents found out that Christie was pregnant when the two were vacationing in Hawaii. She says having a story about her name is more than most people can claim, which is true. But it leaves us wondering: if she'd been a boy, would his name have been Sailor, too? One of the advantages to choosing to name your kid something very unique is you don’t have to pick boy or girl names.
10 She's had body issues in the past
It’s interesting that people are so fast to blame fashion magazines and the modeling industry for contributing to females hating their bodies and developing eating disorders. While Sailor hasn’t had issues that have risen to that level, she does admit that when she was younger, she fell into traps of believing what a girl should or shouldn't look like and act like. Sailor describes herself as a tomboy who didn’t dress like you’d figure the typical supermodel would. She would rather wear comfortable clothes than fancy ones, and when she reached a crossroad where she felt like the other girls were starting to be more feminine with their attire, Sailor was conflicted. She says that she's struggled with eating and body dysmorphia but didn’t go so far as to say she had a problem.
9 Her mom told her she’d be a SI swimsuit model
There’s a very cute video online of the moment Sailor Brinkley-Cook discovered she was going to be in the next Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The magazine decided to let Sailor’s mom, Christie Brinkley, tell her. Brinkley appeared unannounced at IMG, Sailor’s modeling agency in New York. When Sailor saw her mother, she was surprised and had no idea she’d see her that day. Christie broke the good news, and the duo broke into tears and shared hugs. Sailor’s mother not only was in the SI Swimsuit Issue multiple times but also graced the cover three years in a row from 1979 to 1981. Christie made sure Sailor didn’t think that was going to help her cause, telling her daughter, "You're on your own now. You're out of my sandy footprints, and you are on your own."
8 She’s already got a good Instagram game
We’re living in a time when even the least attractive young women can’t help but take photos of themselves all day and post them to social media, so it's not surprising that second-generation supermodel Sailor Brinkley-Cook is already a master of Instagram and hasn’t reached the age of 20. Sailor has 101,000 followers who've seen nearly 2,100 posts as of this writing. She’s fairly adept at mixing it up, showing some of her best modeling shots, a lot of behind-the-scenes pics from her shoots, the typical young-person-with-a-social-conscience pleas for whatever cause is hip at the moment, plenty of pictures from when she was a kid and simply hanging out with her friends as an average person. It’s easy to present yourself any way you want when you’re in charge, but it seems clear to us that Sailor is a pretty cool lady who's probably cool to hang out with.
7 It would be understandable if she had daddy issues
While it’s clear that Sailor Brinkley-Cook comes from good stock on her mom’s side of the gene pool, her dad, Peter Cook, was also a decent-looking guy. You have to be both decent-looking and successful to land a woman like Christie Brinkley and keep her for 12 years, so he was doing something right, but according to an article from 2014 in the New York Post, he was also doing a lot wrong. He was caught cheating on Christie with a teenager (of legal age) and was alleged to have had an Internet p--n addiction that cost up to $3,000 a month. How do you ever spend that much money on Internet p--n? The kicker of the whole thing is that when Barbara Walters caught up with Peter for answers, he blamed Christie, saying she didn’t pay enough attention to him and that drove him into the arms of a younger woman.
6 She made her best friend because of her parents’ divorce
Sailor Brinkley-Cook was in second grade when her mother and father split up in a nasty public dispute. The little girl was sent to counseling but was still having issues, so she went to an after-school peer group that was jokingly called “Banana Splits” because she said all they’d do was make ice cream sundaes. Sailor wasn’t a wallflower, but it was somewhat out of character for her one day when she completely lost it and started throwing a temper tantrum over the divorce. A quiet little girl, she hadn’t talked to anyone before a girl came over and calmed her down, relating stories of her own parents’ break-up. The girl, Emma Scott, quickly became Sailor’s best friend, and the two were joined at the hip from that point forward. Last summer, Sailor posted on her Instagram a montage of photos of the two to celebrate Emma’s 20th birthday.
5 She got all sorts of feels when she met Zac Efron
While she probably has steadily feasted on a diet of meeting famous people her entire life, it’s understandable when she was 13 that she got a little weak in the knees meeting her teen crush at the time, Zac Efron. She was vacationing with her family around Christmas in the Caribbean and was invited with her mother to a get-together at Bruce Willis’s house. She pulled her mother aside and made her understand she didn’t want Efron to know she was a fangirl, and her mother agreed to keep it under wraps. A few days later, she was at a New Year’s Eve party, and Efron made an appearance. Sailor made sure someone snapped a photo, which she said was her profile picture on Facebook for the rest of the year.
4 She was a typical teenager... except she wasn’t
Sailor Brinkley-Cook started modeling around the age of 14, but it wasn’t for a high-end designer as you might think. It was for shopping mall staple Claire’s. Her mother has always made an effort to try to keep Sailor’s life as simple as possible, but when your parents are the most famous supermodel of the 1980s and a successful businessman, how normal is your life really going to be? She grew up in Sag Harbor, smack dab in the Hamptons, which plays host to the rich & famous every summer. Sailor has said the rest of the year was pretty quiet there, and while she did like raiding her mom’s closet to play dress-up when she was young, her closet wasn’t full of the trendiest clothes. Oh, and she was 15 the first time she appeared in Vogue -- so yeah, typical teenager.
3 David Bowie wouldn’t have had a kid without her
OK, so that’s a bit of a leading headline. Christie Brinkley was good friends with Iman from her modeling days in the 1980s. Iman and her husband, David Bowie, were having trouble conceiving a child in the late 1990s. In Somalia, where Iman is from, there's a belief that if you're having trouble getting pregnant, the cure is to simply hold a baby all day long. Christie Brinkley to the rescue! She gladly handed over infant Sailor for Iman to hold for the day, and after seven years, the beautiful supermodel finally got pregnant. Unfortunately for Alexandria, Iman and Bowie’s daughter, she won’t get to grow up with a father, as the musical genius died in early 2016. Brinkley’s first husband was musical legend Billy Joel, who is the dad of Sailor’s half-sister, Alexa Ray.
2 Compare her to her mother, but only if you’re going to be nice
By all accounts, Sailor and her mother, former supermodel Christie Brinkley, have an above-average relationship. The two are probably extra close for both having to deal with Sailor’s cad of a father and the fact they both entered the fashion industry at young ages. But it’s Sailor’s choice of career that has caused some backlash on the Internet, especially when people compare her to her mother. She went on Instagram in early 2017 to silence her detractors, saying, "Believe it or not, I am my own person with my own beliefs and own thoughts and my own face! But being constantly compared to her 50+ years of success at only 18 years old? And being told I could never amount to what she was and what she looks like? Doesn't feel great. I'm just a person figuring out what I want to do and what makes me happy. And pleaseeeee, stop trolling me." Her mother needs to teach her that silence is golden when it comes to Internet trolls.
1 Don’t criticize her butt
We mentioned earlier that our favorite part of Sailor Brinkley-Cook, which is liberally shared on her Instagram page, is her rear end. You can go check it out on your own time, but take our word: it’s nice and healthy. Apparently, not everybody had the same affinity for her backside that we do, but she wasn’t about to take it silently when somebody complained to Instagram about a photo she had posted in a one-piece black bathing suit. Her response was to have some fun with Photoshop, so she cut out a picture of her butt and copied it about 15 times, then scattered those mini-butts all over the original photo and reposted it, saying, “Apparently, Instagram isn't the biggest fan of my little bum, and i have been deleted and reported.” The ban didn’t last very long. If this is the way to see more of her backside, we’re going to start complaining all the time!
Sources: SI.com, Maxim.com, HelloMagazine.com, TeenVogue.com