It isn’t easy to fill Brooke Burke’s bikini. Just ask the nearly 10,000 women who auditioned to replace Burke as host of E!’s wildly successful raunch-around-the-globe travel series ”Wild On.” The winner: 25-year-old Paraguay-raised model Cindy Taylor, whose fine-tuned frame, beach-ready blond hair, and irrepressible enthusiasm in the face of calamity most impressed the show’s producers. Taylor, who has appeared on the covers of Shape, Ocean Drive, and Men’s Journal, lives in Miami with her husband (yep, that’s right, she’s married). She stopped her world travels long enough to share four lessons every new ”Wild On” host needs to learn.
Keep the creeps away. ”The sound guy and I use a sign when people approach and start to bother me. (I’m not going to tell you what it is because then everyone’s gonna know it.) For example, we were in Hawaii covering this concert, kind of like Woodstock, where people were getting muddy and drunk. I was interviewing this guy when suddenly he stopped talking and just grabbed me. That’s when I gave the sign, and everyone rushed in and took him away.”
Make friends with the waiters. ”We were having drinks at this Bangkok club, and somehow I got locked in the toilet stall at 2 a.m. [closing time]. It wasn’t a conventional toilet: It had a big wooden door with no space underneath to crawl out, and just a little space on top. I was screaming for someone to help me, but when they tried to open the door it was impossible. To get a locksmith at that time? It wasn’t going to happen. The waiters had to help me climb over the door.”
Stick to jumbo jets whenever possible. ”I’m not afraid of heights, but I’m a little afraid of airplanes. Then one day ‘Wild On’ took me skydiving in Hawaii. I got on this little plane and went up and was really confident that I was going to jump. But when I watched my producer and my cohost disappear into the air, I freaked. I started pushing everybody back [from the door] and took off all my gear. Then they got REALLY worried. It turns out [it’s even more dangerous] to take your gear off when you’re still in the air.”
Don’t let insects ruin the money shot. ”We have a doctor we visit before we go on any trip, especially to those destinations where we could run into health problems. But sometimes we go overboard taking precautions. In Taiwan, everyone was freaking out about dengue fever [which you get from mosquito bites]. They were all covering themselves with insect repellent and wearing sweats — even though it was hot, hot, hot. I wasn’t very concerned, because I grew up in Paraguay and I was exposed to it as a kid, but I never got it. Still, the crew forced me to put on sweats and a sweater. So, finally, when I got in front of the camera, I took the risk — I stripped down to a bikini.”