For the former X-Men star, stripping down to get a full-body paint job was like being "back in the saddle"

By Lanford Beard
Updated April 28, 2015 10:00 AM
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Kevin Lynch/GSN

Rebecca Romijn is no stranger to a clothing-free photo shoot.

“The craziest thing about being painted,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively, “is that you really don’t feel naked. You feel very, very covered up.”

So, when the opportunity presented itself to strip down and brush up for a video spot teasing the second season of GSN’s body-painting reality competition Skin Wars, which she hosts, Romijn happily offered to transform into living art.

“For me, it was kind of like back in the saddle again,” says Romijn, whose starring role as Mystique in four X-Men movies meant she was covered in little more than blue paint for over a decade.

“I think we did [the paint for the teaser] in five or six hours,” she says, which was on par with her X-Men experiences.

However, says Romijn, “When I was the first model ever painted for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, that took 12 hours.”

“After we completed the first season of Skin Wars, and our very talented painters … were doing these amazing, full head-to-toe, front-and-back body paintings in sometimes four hours, I was like, ‘Why was it never like that when I was getting painted?’ ” she says with a laugh. “They’ve obviously developed a much faster process now, and I wanted to experience it.”

While Romijn says she was “a very willing canvas,” the biggest challenge in deciding on the concept for season 2’s art was “to figure out some way to paint me where I’d still be recognizable.”

Season 1 winner Natalie Fletcher managed to achieve the feat, executing a tigress concept that incorporates Romijn and a handful of models (see how many you can spot).

As for the upcoming season, it’s only natural that Romijn says her “favorite challenges are the camouflage challenges.”

From playing tricks on the eye atop a buffet table to making people disappear into the Pacific Ocean, Romijn says Skin Wars is “like body-painting boot camp for these painters. It’s so intense for them, and they start coming up with these ideas to save time. It’s so fun to be part of their process.”

Unfortunately, that process won’t be making its way into any upcoming sartorial plans for the former House of Style host: “I’m a 42-year-old mother who nursed twins,” says Romijn. “You’re not going to be seeing me on any red carpets in nothing but body paint any time soon. That ship has sort of sailed for me.”

Skin Wars premieres June 10 at 9 p.m. ET on GSN.

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