January 06, 2010 02:00 PM

Russell James

Victoria’s Secret has a long history of turning models into supermodels — and Angels! — and their latest pick for greatness is Lindsay Ellingson, who graces the cover of their new 2010 SWIM catalogue in nothing but a daring “topless” bikini. The California girl felt at home on her shoot on the beach on gorgeous Necker Island, calling it “really an experience of a lifetime!” Lindsay explains, “It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. We shot the cover in the evening during sunset. It was really a magical setting.” Having already walked the runway for designers such as John Galliano, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, you might think the beauty might be jaded, but she tells PEOPLE that she is thrilled to be chosen for the cover, saying “Being chosen for the cover is one of the most exciting things that has happened in my career. Being a Victoria’s Secret model means so much to me. The greatest thing about being a VS model is that I get to be myself and show who I am.” And as for showing off her own sensational form, she tells PEOPLE that she was totally comfortable in her sexy suit, with or without the top on! “So, on the cover I’m wearing a “topless” bikini with a removable bandeau [pictured on]. We shot it both ways, with and without the bandeau. I felt great in it and my hair covered me when I shot topless so I wasn’t uncomfortable at all.” She elaborates, “I actually got so comfortable I was dancing around on the beach — of course, with the bandeau. I would wear it if I was back on Necker Island on my own private beach!” The 2010 Victoria’s Secret SWIM catalogue hits mailboxes this week. –Melissa Liebling-Goldberg

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