Go Away With … Julie Henderson


Photo credit: Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
January 26, 2010

Julie Henderson loves the beach, whether she’s on vacation or shooting a layout for Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue.
“I’m such a sunshine, beach and water type of girl,” says the 23-year-old model. She’s making her fourth appearance in the magazine this year. “I’ll always take a beach over somewhere else.”

Born in Texas and now a resident of New York, Henderson has been collecting mementos from her travels to document her trips.

“I like to look back and see where I’ve been,” she says. “I’m starting a little collection of the world in my apartment.”
The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue hits stores on Feb. 9.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I’m still hunting for my favorite, but at the moment I’m loving St. Barts more and more. It’s not too far away, has amazing beaches and they speak French. It’s also very romantic. I also love visiting Europe. You get a cultural experience. You’re also removed from your world and comfort zone when you’re in Europe. Rome has so much history. You can stand on something and know that it’s been there for thousands of years. Paris is romantic and the overall feel of the city is unique. Barcelona is a cool city that’s young and fun.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I have a few favorite weekend getaways. It all depends on what I’m in the mood for, but one for sure is Las Vegas. Vegas is fun because it’s really an adult playground. You can go to amazing shows, great restaurants, gamble, shop or just walk down the strip. It’s like you’re a little kid again with all the lights. Other favorites include Houston, because it’s home and I can hang out with my family and my friends. It’s my place to do nothing and relax. The Hamptons is a great getaway because it’s close to New York City, so it’s an easy weekend trip. You can go to the beach or have lunch in the cute towns. It’s a nice breath of fresh air from the city.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A. I feel like I live in hotels, so sometimes they all run together. One hotel that was amazing was Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa (www.altoatacama.com) in Chile where I stayed while shooting Sports Illustrated. It also had a really amazing restaurant. I recently had a trip to Philadelphia and went to this amazing restaurant named La Croix (www.lacroixrestaurant.com). But at the end of the day, nothing compares to a good home-cooked meal.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I must have a good book, my iPod and my BlackBerry. I have to keep in touch with my friends and family. I’ve been into the whole “Twilight” saga, so those books have been great for traveling. On my iPod I love to have upbeat music to keep me going. My music selection is motivating for me. It gets me going in the morning or gets me to the gym. Lady Gaga is one of my favorites, or soulful stuff that can calm you down at night like Norah Jones and Priscilla Ahn. A guilty pleasure I have is on every trip to the airport I stock up on gossip magazines and leave them behind on the plane for the next person to read. It’s the only time I get to indulge and read them.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Paris, Tokyo, Rome, London and, of course, New York City. I like all of them because they are so drastically different — Tokyo seems like such a different world, Paris is so romantic and historical and New York is so fast-paced.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I always look up the weather so I know what to pack. I want to know what type of currency they use and usually what they are known for.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. The Maldives or Thailand. I’ve heard they have some of the most beautiful beaches, with the most beautiful water you’ve ever seen. I also want to visit places that offer different types of experiences and would like to visit India, or do a safari in Africa.

Q. What is your best and worst vacation memory?
A. My worst is a few years ago. I was in Mendoza, Argentina with a friend on Halloween and he completely freaked me out by putting “Cujo” on. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. For the best, every moment can feel like the best when you’re in good company, exploring a new place and learning more about the world.

Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?
A. Try not to wear a lot of jewelry and clothes that make you stand out. Don’t carry a huge map or everyone will know you’re not from around there. Do your best to adapt to the location.

(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer.)

© 2010 JAE-HA KIM


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