Why the Pirelli Calendar Models Aren't Nude

by Antoinette Bueno 10:51 AM PST, November 28, 2012
Playing Why the Pirelli Calendar Models Aren't Nude

The 2013 Pirelli Calendar shot by famed photographer Steve McCurry is making headlines for actually being more modest this year, departing from the traditional nude photographs seen in previous Pirelli Calendars, and opting to show the models clothed.

ET's Chris Jacobs spoke to McCurry himself, where he explained his controversial decision.

"I wanted to focus on them [the models] as real people. I wanted to highlight their work," he said. "I mean, they're gorgeous, they're beautiful ... I wanted to pick models that were doing something on their own -- building schools, working with the environment -- to me that was the focus of the calendar. Nudity I thought would distract from that. I didn't want it to be about their bodies. I wanted it to be about their elegance, their beauty, their personality, what they were doing, and the photograph then is more real -- real people."

Video: Stars Pose for the Ultimate Pin-Up Calendar

The prestigious Pirelli Calendar, which has featured the A-list likes of Cindy Crawford, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen and Sophia Loren in past editions, has become a huge honor for both the chosen photographer as well as the models, and this year features such philanthropic models as a very pregnant Adriana Lima, Petra Nemcova, Karlie Kloss and Kyleigh Kuhn. Kuhn is recognized for her foundation The Roots of Peace, which rebuilds schools and community facilities in war-torn countries.

"The Pirelli calendar is known to find the most beautiful women, the most beautiful places, and the top talent in photography and they set the industry standard time and time again," Kuhn told ET. "It's a legacy. In the U.S. it's not quite as well known, [but] abroad it's huge. It's kind of the top of the top for any sort of fashion-type publication."

Related: Kate Moss Denies Drug & Anorexia Claims

Kuhn also shared her excitement at being shot by McCurry, who's famous for his "Afghan Girl" photo which caused an international sensation when it appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985.

"Steve is fantastic to shoot with. His photos come from the heart and he's trying to capture the spirit of each girl," she said. "It's been such an amazing opportunity to work with someone who did such an iconic photo -- the photo of the Afghan girl that has been a source of inspiration for me ever since I first saw it. It's interesting because since I mesh both my humanitarian work and my modeling work, when photographers would tell me to give more intensity with my eyes, my mind would immediately go to that photo. So now it's just so amazing that I have a photo myself shot by the same photographer."

Check out the video to see red carpet footage from the 2013 Pirelli Calendar's big launch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (where the calendar was shot), and to hear what it was like for McCurry shooting in Rio.