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Kelly Rohrbach

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The Violet Files

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The actress and model shares her passion for golf and the secret to a flawless beachy mane.

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You may recognize her from the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and as heir to Pamela Anderson’s cultural touchstone role in the upcoming Baywatch remake, but actress and model Kelly Rohrbach is more than just a beach babe.

Born in Connecticut—about as far from Zuma Beach as you can get—Rohrbach was a golfer in college before becoming smitten with acting. (First she was scouted by Ivan Bart, president of IMG Models, through her manager. She quickly landed Sports Illustrated before making the jump onto the big screen.)

Her first feature couldn’t be much splashier: Seth Gordon’s hotly anticipated movie adaptation of Baywatch, which opens next May. Rohrbach will play C.J. Parker, Pamela Anderson’s starring role in the original early ’90s TV series. That said, she’ll be giving the character a 2017 makeover. “Everyone has a memory of Baywatch, so obviously there’s pressure to live up to that,” Rohrbach explains. “The cast and I wanted to deliver something that was really fresh and new. It’s a little bit of a spoof on the TV show.” As for dream roles, “I like stories that aren’t perfect,” she says, citing Jason Reitman and Alexander Payne as two of her favorite directors. “Life isn’t so perfect, and I like characters that are more complex.”

After shooting for four months in Savannah, Georgia, for Baywatch, the actress and model is back in Los Angeles, where she chatted with The Violet Files about her beach beauty routine and summer skincare essentials. Spoiler: Like her surf-patrolling forebear, Rohrbach prefers a one-piece. Read on for more of the actress’ picks.


A conversation with model and actress Kelly Rohrbach.

  • 01

    VIOLET GREY: Mantra for this summer?

    KELLY ROHRBACH: Simplicity.

  • 02

    VG: Summer flings are best experienced in ________.

    KR: Sundresses.

  • 03

    VG: Best summer vacation ever taken?

    KR: Living in the Hamptons with my friends the summer after we graduated from high school. We all got odd jobs—scooping ice cream, mowing lawns, babysitting. We would finish work by early afternoon and spend the rest of the day on the beach.

  • 04

    VG: The perfect summer outfit consists of ________.

    KR: A sundress and sandals—easy and breezy.

  • 05

    VG: Favorite summer film?

    KR: Dazed and Confused.

  • 06

    VG: Ideal summer workout?

    KR: Hiking in Malibu, then heading straight to the beach and jumping in the ocean.

  • 07

    VG: Every summer I ________.

    KR: Golf a lot with my dad. My favorite place to play is the Winged Foot Golf Club in New York. I played college golf at Georgetown, but it’s always been a big part of my life. My dad actually taught me, so it’s fun to spend time with him and I enjoy being outdoors.

  • 08

    VG: Where is your favorite beach?

    KR: Malibu! I love the backdrop of the mountains.

  • 09

    VG: Beach beauty essentials?

    KR: A tube of Chantecaille Sunscreen (I apply on the face, chest, and hands; I should reapply, but I do love a good tan!) and a big beach blanket that I keep in my car year-round—one of the perks of living in California!

  • 10

    VG: Secrets to great beach hair?

    KR: Swim in the ocean, let it air-dry, and then add a little dry shampoo before heading off to dinner!

  • 11

    VG: Umbrella, hat, or sun chasing?

    KR: Hat, especially the straw ones from Calypso.

  • 12

    VG: Bikini or one-piece?

    KR: One-piece! I like Via Rio or Solid and Striped.

  • 13

    VG: Beach companion?

    KR: My beach companion is always a book. I really like biographies. Currently I’m reading Elia Kazan: A Life, which is about his career as a filmmaker.

  • 14

    VG: iPhone playlist or the sounds of the ocean?

    KR: Sounds of the ocean.

  • 15

    VG: Hydration plan: water, coconut water, juice, or rosé?

    KR: Water.

  • 16

    VG: Ideal beach picnic?

    KR: Anything from the Malibu Kitchen at the Malibu Country Mart. New York–style deli sandwiches are my favorite.

  • 16

    VG: Beach beauty icon?

    KR: Elle Macpherson is my beauty icon. She just seems effortlessly beautiful and like she’s living life fully, which I respect.

  • 17

    VG: What’s your after-sun skincare routine?