"I was trying to kiss him and be friendly, but he wasn’t into me at all,” recalls Lisalla Montenegro Wilson of her Valentine’s Day date from hell two years ago. So what kind of guy spurns the advances of a 5'9" Brazilian supermodel—one with a figure flawless enough for Victoria’s Secret, a face worthy of Maybelline, and a smile straight out of our dreams? Turns out: the kind with feathers. “We were doing a shoot in Brazil with a huge parrot,” she says, “and he bit me! I screamed: ‘Get this thing out of my hand!’ ” Not to worry. Since then, the 26-year-old has stepped up her relationships, landing a dude with no (visible) feathers, a left arm like a lightning bolt, and a $77.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: pitcher C.J. Wilson. I catch up with Lisalla in a quiet café downstairs at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel. She’s straight from the gym, dressed in skintight black yoga pants and a blue baby tee.
After checking out your Instagram and Twitter, I have one question: Three-hour daily workouts? Seriously?
I have an amazing trainer, and she’s always pushing me to go further. We amuse ourselves by coming up with these really funny names for exercises—dirty names. Some of the other trainers will come over and be like, “Yeah, I was going to use this equipment,” and we’re like, “You do this? This is for girls only!” And he’s like, “What?” We say, “Forget it, dude. It’s an inside joke.” So, yeah. We keep it dirty.
You’re from Brazil, and C.J. is American. So how’s his Portuguese?
It’s pretty cool. He mixes the Portuguese words he knows with Spanish, which for us is easy. He was talking to my dad, explaining how hitting a baseball works and explaining the pitch, and I’m like, I’m gonna marry this guy. Someone taking the time to explain their profession to your family? In their language? I mean, that’s effort. That won a lot of points.
Did you follow baseball in Brazil?
I wish. Before we actually met, I didn’t know what pitcher meant. I had a lot to learn. I remember the first time I watched a game on TV, I was like, Wow, this is like something in Chinese. There’s so many rules, so many details! I thought it was the hardest thing. Now I’m obsessed. I read the articles, I talk about it, I get mad. I curse sometimes. It’s like soccer: You get into it, and it becomes your passion. It’s my life, and I love it. I couldn’t see myself without baseball now.
You’ve modeled for Lexus, and C.J. is a gearhead. Is it rubbing off on you?
We have a lot of car books in our house, we watch a lot of races, and it’s one of the main things we record on TV. C.J. knows all the rules and racers. He even makes the noises! I’m not really into specific details. I’m more into the feel of the car.
Would you say you’re a fast driver?
When I’m driving with someone, I’m more cautious because it’s another life with me. But then when I’m by myself, I’m like, Let’s do it! YOLO! Kind of like, how you guys call it? Speed demon.
Do you play the supermodel card when you get pulled over?
They don’t really care. I haven’t tried the squishing-the-boobs thing yet! [laughs] Maybe that’ll work for me next time. I got a speeding ticket one time in Texas. I was late for my flight—not that that’s really an excuse—and then I got lost going a zillion times around the airport and couldn’t figure out exactly where to exit. The Dallas airport is crazy big. And the cop was hidden. I was going, like, 90. The speed limit was, I don’t know—55?
Your hometown is a place in the middle of Brazil called Goiânia. What’s it like?
Lots of nature. We have cowboys, farms, waterfalls, a lot of colorful clothes, great food. I lose my mind when I go back to Brazil. I cheat on my diet every day. It’s really hard to eat healthy in Brazil. C.J. was like, “This is weird. I thought Brazilians were healthy.” I was like, “No, babe—look at their butts.” Look, but don’t really look!
Do you and C.J. have any weird things in common?
We both are crazy about certain things—like when you go to sleep in a hotel room, if a little light comes through the window, both of us freak out. The light of a watch bothers me. I need to cover it up with a piece of clothing. He’s the same way as me. We literally put our shoes up to the window to close it up tight. We use the pillows, some of our clothes. We use everything that we have. We push towels under the doors. Freak couple!
I also know from your Twitter that you’re emotionally invested in Game of Thrones.
Maybe too much. When they aired the “red wedding” scene a couple of seasons ago, I actually cried. I was so mad, I couldn’t sleep for two nights. I tweeted that I hate the show. As soon as you get attached to someone, they kill them—and it’s like, What?! How dare you guys! Who wrote this shit? No!
But clearly you’re going to watch the next season.
Absolutely. I’m obsessed. C.J. is obsessed now, too, so we’re going to watch Season 5 together. I love the dragons. I was like, “Can I get a dragon tattoo on my back?” I’m still thinking about it.
What was it like watching the World Cup from California?
When Brazil was scoring, I was jumping on my couch. My puppy was jumping on the couch. I would run crazily around the house. And then C.J. was upstairs in his office, and I would go up there and just yell, “Yeahhhhh!” and I would kiss him and go back downstairs. I don’t have that many Brazilian friends in L.A., so I was just partying by myself.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I’m into love songs. I’m all about the ’80s. I like U2, Journey. “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” is my jam. You can’t ever change that. Every time it comes on, I’m singing out loud—in the car, the shower—everywhere. I love karaoke. It’s fun. But honestly, I’m not great at it. Everybody who hears me singing would agree that’s definitely one thing I need to get better at. I could never make money singing.
How do people react when you sing?
“Please don’t do that again.” It’d be nice to sing cool. But everybody in my life— even my father-in-law—tells me, “Please don’t do that again.” He’s like, “Liz, I’m glad you’re a model.”
Photos by Ian Daly