His old enemy Orlando Bloom may have been making headlines for his naked paddleboarding exploits with Katy Perry in Sardinia, so it was perhaps unsurprising that Justin Bieber retaliated by staging his own naked photos.
The message was pretty clear: Anything Orlando can do, I can do bigger.
By his side as he skinny-dipped in Hawaii was his new squeeze: model, swimwear designer, and social media star Sahara Ray, 23, who has been busily posting a series of idyllic snaps and video from their island getaway.
The winsome blonde has now become an object of worldwide attention.
In one video sequence, Bieber can be seen close up behind Ray in a pool. She opted to cover her face with a sunglass Snapchat filter, while in another sequence Ray is seen posing topless beside a waterfall before jumping in for a swim.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Ray exudes a devil-may-care insouciance from every image; Ray is the daughter of Aussie surfing legend Tony Ray, one of the first pros to make a full-time living off his board.
Sahara abandoned plans to follow in her father’s footsteps to become a surf pro when she was 16, opting instead for a life in fashion.
She’s believed to have moved into Bieber’s circle through her friendship with Bieber’s former tourmate Cody Simpson. She started dating Simpson after he broke up with Gigi Hadid, in 2015.
The 23-year-old model was born in Australia and took classes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and went on to create Sahara Ray Swimwear, which she often models in revealing pictures on her sassy Instagram account. She is a bona fide social-media star in her own right and has a million followers.
Sahara describes herself as a “workaholic”—but, lucky for her, when you are a swimwear designer and model for your own brand, your work mainly appears to consist of having titillating pictures taken of yourself in various states of undress in various tropical locations.
Ray is a well-known character in Hawaii, due to a peripatetic childhood with her father: “Every winter I would spend three months on the north shore of Hawaii with my dad. He was a professional surfer, so I used to travel all over the world with him while he was competing in the Pipe Masters and big wave competitions,” she has said.
In a recent interview with Australia’s Herald Sun, she said, “Australia is where I want to end up and I want to have kids here. It’s more chilled and relaxed and even on shoots, it’s more about quality than quantity.”