February 08, 2017 11:56 AM
Emmanuelle Hauguel/SI

By now you’ve probably seen the remarkable photos of Christie Brinkley posing for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue at 63 alongside her daughters Alexa Ray Joel, 31, and Sailor Brinkley Cook, 18. (The pics completely blew up the internet.) And the supermodel’s daughters were quick to share body-positive messages on social media and with PEOPLE following their bikini modeling debut. Now, Alexa is spilling stories from the set and revealing the modeling secrets her mom shared with her.

In a new interview for New Beauty, the singer-songwriter says she never imagined herself posing in a bathing suit (her bikini is by Sky!), but her mother encouraged her throughout the entire process. “Mom is like my little pocket of sunshine,” Alexa says.  “I always say she’s the ‘sun to my moon.’ Mom was so unconditionally loving and encouraging about it all.”

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In addition to passing down her iconic good looks, Brinkley also passed down her legendary modeling know-how. “We were picking out swimwear together in the fittings before the shoot, and she was showing me how to pose to angle my body in a way that accentuates the curves,” Alexa explains. “For instance, she taught me that if you angle your body sideways and jut one leg out, it instantly emphasizes an hourglass figure.

Brinkley’s moves are so legendary that Alexa actually got star-struck on set. “Watching her [Brinkley] on set is positively surreal, just because of her tireless vivaciousness and ‘joie de vivre;’ she never stops moving, and she literally sparkles into the camera,” she says. “She’s always thinking ahead and doing another pose, just when you think she’s given every possible type of look she could give.”

But one of Joel’s favorite aspects from the shoot was the fact that each member of her family showed off her own individuality. “We’re all so intensely different and distinct from one another, yet we all have very strong personalities, and I think that really came through in the photos and videos. Mom’s like the classic, timeless, golden, all-American bombshell. Sailor’s the young, spunky, sassy, bold, perfect little sporty model. And my style sensibility is more ‘La Dolce Vita’-meets-a mermaid-meets-vintage-bohemian. (Or at least, that’s what I’m going for — one can try, right?) We each have something distinctly unique to bring to the table and, as a family, that’s something we’re all for celebrating.”

Dying to see the whole issue? The magazine hits newsstands Feb. 15.

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