Several weeks ago, the staff here at Vegas Seven was summoned to a conference room for a meeting. The topic du jour: Who should be the cover model for our annual Summer Survival Guide issue?
Someone immediately threw out the name Arianny Celeste.
The reasons why the 26-year-old was our obvious cover choice are endless: She looks fantastic in a bikini; she’s a born-and-bred Las Vegan (she went to Eldorado High School); she’s a familiar face of the UFC (as an octagon girl); she’s appeared on the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy; and, um … have you seen her in a bikini?
And there’s more to Arianny Celeste than meets the eye. She’s an aspiring singer (she recently recorded her first song with the house group Manufactured Superstars), she was a fitness management and nutrition major at UNLV, and she’s not your typically unattainable model (seriously, guys, read on: You might actually have a shot!).
How does Arianny Celeste cool off on a hot day?
In California, I’d be by the beach in Santa Monica. In Vegas, I’d probably be at Marquee Dayclub or one of the less-crazier pools, like the Wynn, sipping on a cocktail, just relaxing. I love being out in the sun in the summer—it’s the best.
What was the most memorable summer vacation of your childhood?
When I was about 8 years old I went to Baja California with my family. We camped out on the beach for a week, and it was crazy. I probably would never do that now; I’m a girly girl. But it was definitely a fun experience as a kid.
What’s your best advice for someone trying to get into bikini shape ASAP?
Start focusing on your diet, because 85 percent of your bikini body comes from what you eat. I’d probably say stay away from carbs for at least a week, or at least try to only eat carbs in the morning—everyone needs carbs for energy, but you don’t have to have them in every meal. But there really is no shortcut. You have to make fitness and health a lifestyle, not a chore, if you want to be bikini-ready all the time. It’s not that easy!
Is it true that when you auditioned to become an octagon girl for UFC that you didn’t know anything about the sport?
Yeah. I saw a little bit on TV and was kind of interested, but kind of scared at the same time. But as soon as I went to my first live event, I was hooked. I became a fan, and I’m a huge fan now, obviously. Just seeing how dedicated these athletes are and how much it takes to do what they do—once you really educate yourself, you have so much respect for these guys. They’re the best athletes in the world.
Posing nude for Playboy: more nerve-racking, empowering or both?
Both. I was very, very nervous. I had waited for a long time and thought about it for years and years. I actually got an offer in 2008, but I just wasn’t ready mentally. But in 2010, I was ready, I felt like a woman, I felt proud of myself, so I just went for it. Knowing that not everyone can be in that magazine, let alone be on the cover, that was the empowering part. It was a dream for me.
There’s a shy guy at the end of the bar who wants to send you a drink. What should he order?
Something light and refreshing, maybe like a cucumber martini.
You were quoted in Maxim as saying you don’t really care about a man’s physical appearance and that you like computer nerds. Please tell all the everyday guys out there that you were quoted accurately!
Yeah, I was. I’m more attracted to a person’s mind than the way they look. I [like] honesty and integrity and personality—just be yourself.
What says “summer” to you?
Summer is pool parties, the beach, bikinis, just fun in the sun. It’s my favorite season of the year, for sure.
What’s your favorite summer treat?
Fresh fruit, like pineapple or watermelon. For something sweet, I’d go for a mango sorbet or something like that.
What’s the one beach destination you can’t wait to visit?
Hmm. I’ve never been to Fiji. I’ve never been to the Bahamas. I actually just had the pleasure of going Boracay Island in the Philippines for work, and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life. It was amazing. One of the top beaches in the world. So, pretty lucky! I’d love to go back someday.
Were you confident you’d get the UFC job when you auditioned?
No, I wasn’t. I walked in as this fresh-faced, young 21-year-old, knew nothing about the sport, competing against 35-40 other girls, and I was very shy—and still am very shy. But I just figured, well, ‘I’m going to UNLV full time and if I got the gig, this would be awesome because I could pay for more schooling.’ So I just went for it. And five years later, I’m still here!
Wait, you just said you’re still shy. Really?
Yeah. But with this job, I can’t be shy. When I put on my Arianny Celeste [persona], I’m the sexpot, I’m the vixen. But when I’m home, I’m really down to earth. I like to stay home, I like to chill, I hate wearing makeup. It’s like a completely different person.
I have my work mode, and I have my “me” mode. I like “me” better. But work mode—she works pretty well!
What’s the last great pick-up line you heard?
I really don’t know. I don’t get hit on that much. And if I do, it’s always normal ones, like, ‘Can I take you to dinner?’ I don’t think pick-up lines work, anyway. Being yourself and having a good personality are what draw me in.