IN 1996, Yu Tsai, who shot Cappadocia for this issue (page 92), traveled to Kenya with a student research team from Cal Poly-Pomona. A zoology and biology major, Yu did microhabitat research for eight weeks, which left him drained physically and emotionally. ("Eight hours motionless on top of a rock trying to escape an angry warthog will do that.") On returning to the U.S., he enrolled at the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena; thus began a career that has earned him acclaim in the graphic arts (Yu Tsai did the title sequence for The Sopranos) and photography (his portrait subjects include Sienna Miller and Anne Hathaway). But he has not abandoned the wild; he keeps more than 1,000 tortoises on his family's farm in Chino, Calif., including two aldabras (right) weighing more than 400 pounds each.
LAST AUGUST, two weeks before a shoot in a Middle Eastern country, the nation's tourism board canceled the deal due to a tense political climate. Baum, 24, quickly moved the entire operation to the Canary Islands (page 124). "People barely noticed the switch," says creative director Steven Hoffman. "Darcie's a closer: the Mariano Rivera of Swimsuit editors."
Robb Riley / Julie Deichman
AS CAMERAMAN for Chaos Films, Riley has been on every Swimsuit shoot for the last seven years, filming the footage used for the more than four hours of video that will air on SI.com. His producer, Deichman, doubles as his wife. "But everything runs so smoothly," says senior editor Christian Stone, "everyone forgets they're married."
Steven Hoffman / Suzanne Noli
FURTHER EVIDENCE of marital harmony is provided by Hoffman, SI's creative director since 1986, and Noli, his wife, with whom he codesigned this year's issue. They met six years ago at a design contest where they were both judges and, says Hoffman, "apparently judged ourselves right for each other." Hoffman has overseen the massive expansion of the Swimsuit franchise in the last decade. This, however, is the first time he's received editorial assistance from his wife, who has designed magazines and books for Condé Nast, HarperCollins and O and with whom he has just launched a company, Hoffman/Noli Design. "Steve has defined and redefined the Swimsuit Issue for 23 years," says Terry McDonell, editor of the Sports Illustrated Group, "and adding Suzanne to the team has only made it stronger."