Written by Matthew Berritt. The Imperial Suite is bustling. It’s one of two magnificent penthouses at Sofitel Los Angeles. Timothy White, iconic photographer, and his team of assistants are setting up the first shot while Devorah Rose, our editor-in-chief, is being shown plans for the day’s shoot, and yours truly — ubiquitous Bluetooth in ear — ensures that no detail is overlooked as we await the arrival of our cover model. A call comes straight to my cell phone from the front desk, “Ms. Sims has arrived and she’s heading up to you now.” I thank the dutiful front desk manager and ask, “Anything I should know?” She tells me “Yes, Molly’s gorgeous!” I chuckle, “Thank you again.”
The doorbell rings and two production assistants simultaneously open the suite’s double doors. Our star looks in at what awaits her beyond the foyer, “Hi, I’m Molly.” Her expression speaks volumes; her next sentence speaks even more, “Wow. Is all this for me?” She is humble beyond expectations. The five-time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue perennial made waves several years ago for wearing a diamond-studded bikini, designed by Susan Rosen, worth $30 million. She walks over to the hair and makeup station, sits down, and starts chatting up the glam squad like they are family. Molly exudes the effortless grace and ease that have come to define her “California girl” image. Many don’t realize that what they are actually witnessing is this Kentucky native’s laid back southern charm.
Molly was born in Murray, Ky, to Jim and Dottie Sims. Following her graduation from high school, she attended the prestigious Vanderbilt University with hopes of pursuing a law career. Two years into college, Molly submitted a few photographs of herself to a modeling agency at the suggestion of her roommate. When Sims received interest from NEXT Models, she dropped out of college to pursue modeling. Although Molly has appeared in numerous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues and has a multi-year contract with CoverGirl, she is arguably most famous for her role as Delinda Deline for all five seasons of NBC’s “Las Vegas.” Molly is now moving faster than ever and shows no signs of slowing down.
This is all the more amazing when you realize that Molly is now a proud mother to her 1-year-old son Brooks. Her charitable endeavors, nearly all of which relate to children, exemplify her innate maternal instincts. Molly is a global ambassador for Population Services International’s Five & Alive program (which addresses health crises affecting children under the age of 5, and their families) as well as an ambassador for Operation Smile.
On set, our July cover star powers through look after look. We start with a shot of her lying on Sofitel’s signature SoBed, admiring the suite’s unparalleled views of the Hollywood Hills. Celebrated photographer Timothy White then sets up the second shot in the hallway of the hotel’s penthouse floor. The hotel hallway, a seemingly unlikely backdrop, given the dizzying array of spectacular spaces at Sofitel Los Angeles, produces a killer shot. While watching Molly work, we quickly learn why Molly Sims is, well, Molly Sims. In fact, during our next shot — in the breezeway overlooking the hotel’s dramatic lobby laden with peony-filled crystal vases and ultra-modern chandelier made of individually bubbled bulbs — Molly spends nearly the entire time on the phone with her lawyer. This is of no consequence to our brilliant photographer or Devorah. Molly, encouraged by Timothy, models through the call! My jaw drops as this scenario produces some of the most exquisite shots of the day. Once again, I am in awe.
We progress to Riviera 31, the hotel’s decadently glamorous new lounge. Timothy White and his fleet of assistants have set up in a quiet corner of Riviera’s back room. Molly moves into position and we all gather around to watch as magic is made, but a childlike grin comes across our model’s face and she excitedly calls for her iPhone. We are now a bit behind schedule. In fact, we were supposed to have wrapped 30 minutes ago and this is not even our last shot. Phone in hand, she says, “OK, everyone get in tight. Tighter! I’m posting you all on Instagram.” Suddenly, we are the models and Molly’s the photographer.
The final shot of the day is set up in the hotel’s new French Mediterranean restaurant, Esterel. Molly takes her place at a table overlooking the waterfall in the intimate courtyard. With a glass of chardonnay in front of her, she transports us to the South of France. It’s as if we are in Cannes during the Film Festival and have spotted Molly taking in a rare moment of solitude. Well, this moment went as quickly as it came. Timothy signals to me and Molly’s powerhouse Hollywood publicist, Gary Mantoosh, to join her at the table. More comfortable behind the camera, we humbly oblige, but Molly’s warm and infectious personality quickly puts us at ease. Molly stands, chardonnay in hand, and we have our final image. Electricity courses through the air as Devorah calls out, “That’s a wrap. Thank you everyone!”
Molly heads back to the Imperial Suite, where she changes back into her jeans and loose-fitting patterned blouse. The team waits for her in the lobby. When she arrives in the lobby, she thanks each person who worked on the shoot. Displaying the same easy grace and modest elegance as when she arrived, Molly heads to the front doors, but before she leaves, she turns back, gives one last luminescent smile and a spirited wave. We wave back and Molly proceeds to the driveway, into her car and heads down Beverly Boulevard.
To call the shoot a success is an understatement. To say that the production team is thrilled is putting it lightly. Above all else, to describe Molly Sims as congenial is insufficient. Molly is positively enchanting. Molly’s professionalism and delightfulness will no doubt lead to a bright future with even greater things to come.
Follow Molly Sims on Twitter & Instagram @MollyBSims