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Monday, March 02, 2009

Pistons Automotion Dancer Chelsey Buhler Splashes into Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition 

Posted by James at 1:15 PM ET

By Patricia Montemurri
Detroit Free Press
ChelseyShe's not the cover girl of the vaunted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, but Oakland University student and Detroit Pistons Automotion dancer Chelsey Buhler holds her own on Page 160. Buhler, 21, was one of 10 women chosen from NBA dance squads to model in itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie bikinis in the annual issue, now on newsstands.

Page views: Since Buhler's profile was featured in SI -- and in 36 different poses on its Web site -- she's become a fan favorite at Pistons games. She also got 800 unsolicited requests, nearly all of them from strangers, to be friends on Facebook.

Curriculum Vitae: Buhler, an Ortonville-Brandon High graduate, is majoring in communications at Oakland University and is thinking of going to law school or getting an MBA. She was on the dance team for the WNBA Shock for two years before trying out for the Pistons squad three years ago.

Gotta dance: She took lessons -- ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop -- starting at age 3 at Creative Dance Center in Ortonville. "I used to obsess about learning a dance routine and knowing it. I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about a dance routine. It wasn't enough to do it in my head. I had to get up and dance around at 3 a.m."

Shoutout: At Pistons games, fans who recognize her shout out "Hey, Sports Illustrated."

Big Apple Photo Shoot: SI flew her out to New York City for three days in September. They gave her a bikini in the Pistons' red, white and blue colors. During the one-day photo shoot, she also posed with women from other dance teams, and shot a video.

Career opportunity or cheesecake?
Buhler says she doesn't view the exposure as being treated like a sex object.

"I think they did a good job of portraying us as professional dancers," she says. "This is something that every girl wants. You look at the girls in the Sports Illustrated edition and how pretty they are, and you never think you're going to be in it. And when you are, it's like a dream come true."
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Bottom line: Some 68 million people eyeballed the swimsuit issue last year, according to SI, and the Web site drew 8.2 million unique visitors. Buhler says she got a small fee plus expenses while in New York City.

"Nobody has said I'm their screen saver yet," she says. "But I've gotten at least 400 text messages saying I look great in the magazine."


[Automotion]

[Chelsey at SportsIllustrated.com]

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