Riekenberg, who was discovered while eating pizza in Hamburg, did her SI shoot in Wyoming, a state that reminded her of her childhood home. Afterward, she had no qualms sharing the sizzling snaps with her boyfriend’s family.
Riekenberg spoke to Fox News about seeing her SI photos for the first time, how she stays in shape all year, her guilty food pleasures and the fellow German model she gets compared to.
Fox News: How does it feel to be part of SI Swimsuit’s 2020 issue?
Kim Riekenberg: Well, it's such an exciting moment for me because I'm a rookie. I'm new to this family, but as I said in so many interviews before already, it felt like a family from the first moment. Even when I walked into [editor] MJ Day’s office for the casting, I was so welcomed, and we had such a lovely talk.
It was very different from a typical casting. And I just left the building with such a good feeling, and the journey just continued like that. So I'm very glad that I had this opportunity to finally shoot for them. And I take it in my heart, and can't wait for more
Fox News: How were you discovered as a model?
Riekenberg: It’s a little bit cliché because I was in Hamburg for a shopping tour. I grew up in a very small town, so during school holidays, I would go to Hamburg for a shopping tour. And then we just had lunch, me and my friends.
And then my [future] booker came over. She asked me how tall I was and if I would be interested to come to the agency after lunch. And me holding the pizza, what do you expect, what do you say? I just said yes and actually went there. And from there on, my journey continued.
Fox News: What was it like growing up in a small town?
Riekenberg: I was in the woods all the time. I [caught] frogs and just played with dirt across all the fields where the cows are. And well, sometimes, you stepped in some s—t as well [laughs]. I was just a nature child. I was very creative with my friends. We didn’t have cell phones and we didn’t have social media, so we had to be a little bit more creative. … But I really loved it.
Fox News: For your SI Swimsuit shoot, you went to Wyoming. What was it like?
Riekenberg: Well, I never really traveled far into the country in America until that day, so it was very exciting going there. I just heard so many great stories [about Wyoming], and I was very curious how it was going to look. We went in the fall, which is the perfect season of the year. There are so many beautiful colors surrounding you. The trees were green, but up in the mountains, there was snow already. It felt like I was surrounded by a living painting. It all felt so unreal.
We had these little tiny houses for ourselves. It was a very old ranch that they rebuilt. I felt like I was in a fairy tale or movie. It was so different from what I have experienced before. But it was very cold! So knowing you have to shoot in a bikini the next day, you have to mentally prepare [laughs]. But I was so excited about this shoot that I honestly forgot how cold it was. And the team would throw me a blanket every time a shot was done.
Once I was done, I just jumped into a warm van that they had heated up for me. The whole experience was so lovely. Knowing that I was a rookie, there was a sense of excitement in the air. And I just knew my life changed that day as a model. It’s another step in my career. But it was all just so beautiful.
Fox News: What was going through your mind when you saw your photos for the first time?
Riekenberg: My boyfriend was actually next to me. That day, the launch day, was when the family of my boyfriend was here. I just saw it randomly on my phone that they finally posted my first picture. I was just so excited. I was like 'Yay!' I just showed it around. I almost cried, but I was able to hold it back for a little bit. But it was so exciting. And I couldn’t fall asleep that night because I was so excited to finally see it.
I remember showing them [my photo] in a bikini. I was like, 'Hi, that’s me.' [laughs]. But I think they were kind of proud, too. And we all cheered after that. It was a beautiful moment. It was actually nice to share it with someone especially since we couldn’t celebrate as an SI family this year. … But there will be a time when we can all see each other again soon.
Fox News: How did you physically prepare for your shoot?
Riekenberg: It’s funny because I actually didn’t have so much time to prepare. I only had 10 days to prepare because my spot was the last one and I got the confirmation so spontaneously before the shoot. So all I could do is eat a little bit more healthy and go to my Pilates class, as I always do.
But I kind of appreciate that I didn’t have so much time to prepare because it was like, take it as it comes. Be who you are. Don’t change anything about yourself. MJ liked me the way I was. I felt even more confident just being myself. I tried to shine the best that I could.
Fox News: It seems like Pilates is very popular among SI Swimsuit models.
Riekenberg: I always do Pilates wherever I am. I always find myself a studio, because that’s the one [workout routine] I like. And I think it shapes your body very well.
And you don’t have to do it every day because it’s intense. At my studio, they just say, 'Go two to three times, but no more.' Because then if you continue doing it, it will knock you out. We still need a lot of energy to do our shoots and jobs and travel. You have to find the balance.
Fox News: What’s on your plate for cheat day?
Riekenberg: It’s something salty, which would be pizza or pasta. And then it would be something sweet after, because there’s always a spot for dessert, I think. And it will be something creamy and chocolaty --everything I can get.
Fox News: Germany is known for its chocolate.
Riekenberg: I’m [lucky] over here [laughs]. But actually, Germans love Italian food, so we have a lot of Italian places here. And I have so say, I love Italian, too. So lucky me, we have so many.
Fox News: Have you been compared to Claudia Schiffer?
Riekenberg: A few people are telling me this, but actually at the moment, I get compared with Heidi Klum so much because she was 25 when she got the cover for SI. So in Germany, this is the thing that is the topic at the moment. It’s funny, you always get compared in this industry.