Whether dodging sharks or sprinting through lava, hottie triathlete Lokelani McMichael takes everything in stride.
This feature originally appeared in Complex's November/December 2002 Issue.
Lokelani McMicahel is a tad confused. "Little boys look at me and are inspired," she says, baffled. McMichael no doubt, inspires grown boys as well, although often for completely different reasons. From either perspective she's something to behold: In addition to her unusual beauty (her mother is a native Hawaiin; her father is of Irish/English/French descent), the 25-year-old Hawaiin holds the record for youngest competitor in the Ironman Triathlon. Her first time out, at age 18, she beat her then training partner, ex-New England Patriots offensive lineman Darryl Haley, by several hours.
This October marked her seventh year tackling the punishing event, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run. "My motto is to play hard," says the effervescent McMichael. And play hard she does -- when not training for the grueling Ironman, she models, snowboards, surfs, and plays soccer. "I like sweat," jokes the dream girl, "as long as it's mine."
In person, McMichael exudes the kind of laissez faire attitude you'd expect from a Hawaiin native. She took up modeling, for example, not because it's glamorous, but because "it's a way to keep things going." She's equally laid-back about her musical preferences, which range from rap to rock to raggae. Even the meaning of her name evokes serenity: "Heavenly rose my precious flower lei." These qualities, combined with her poise while swimming with sharks, cycling in 60-mph crosswinds, and running through hot lava made her the ideal postergirl for Nike's new sphere athletic-wear line.
Though there's understandable speculation that her looks played part in the Nike contract, her iron-strong confidence makes her as attractive as her svelte physique. Still, Loke is coy when it comes to two subjects: her boyfriend, who is (what else?) an Olympic pole-vaulter, and her extracurricular activities, which she describes as "whatever I'm capable of handling." McMichael adds sheepishly, "I'm regimented, but I don't want to be a square." Don't worry, Loke, we think you're pretty well-rounded.
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Wendy Schecter. (HAIR AND MAKEUP) Donna Fumoso for Face Stockholm. FIRST, FOURTH, AND COVER IMAGES: Cotton bikini, leather belt, and leather wristband by Gary Graham. SECOND IMAGE: Fur jacket by Plein Sud / leather bikini by Leslie Siu / visor by Nike / leather knee pads by Elise Overland / curduroy boots with fur tails by Cesare Paciotti. SECOND IMAGE: Fur bikini by Lost Art / soccer sock as armband by Nike / bracelet by Erickson Beamon / shoes with fur tails by Cesare Paciotti. FIFTH IMAGE: Suede belted bathing suit by Leslie Siu / fur hat and fuscia knit socks with suede fringe by Christian Dior.