To me, doing the Body Issue is bigger than looking at an athlete's body. It's more about the story we are telling of overcoming my fear of doing this. I had a fear of being naked in front of others and a fear of being judged. So to me, overcoming that is the biggest thing. Someone may look at me and think, "Why would you have insecurity?" Well, this is real life and I'm human, and these are the things that I deal with that many others might deal with.
When I was young, my belly button was an outie, and I never even wanted to take my shirt off when we were at the swimming pool or outside during water fights. The only people who went into the pool with their shirts on were the kids who were overweight -- and me. I knew that I was different. I knew from all the kids I had seen that nobody else had what I had. No one else had an outie. Even when I got to high school, I didn't want to do swimming class because I didn't want people to see my feet -- as an athlete, my feet were a little rougher -- and my belly button. I had my doctor write me a note to say that I couldn't do swimming, and the first day I sat down and watched everybody else and it just looked so fun. I eventually was like, "I've got to do it, I got to do it."
I was just never comfortable until about four years ago, when I started feeling comfortable with my body overall. As you go through life, you get more comfortable with yourself. It's like everything else with life -- you change, you grow. People might think it's simple, but for me it was hard to even feel comfortable walking around naked when it's just me and my wife. So the thought of doing it at a photo shoot in front of people [laughs] -- it was like, "No way ever."
In my underwear line, Naked, we have this thing called the "Naked Truth" -- and my naked truth, I always say, is me being my authentic self. That became a part of me doing this shoot. I'm like, "You know what, nothing is clearer than this, being my authentic self." Right here is just me baring it all. This is as authentic as it gets. I always joke when I'm with people, "I'm always naked now" [laughs]. I'm always naked in my everyday life. That's because I either have on Naked underwear or no clothes at all.
I don't even view my belly button now. I make jokes sometimes when I'm doing an interview or taking a photo and I'll say, "I'm making the outies cool." I'm representing for all the kids out there who have the outies.