Mademoiselle From Avignon
may playmate maria mcbane is half irish, half french and all girl
Francophiles will be pleasantly surprised to learn that despite the unmistakably Celtic ring to her name, May Playmate Maria McBane is every bit as French as croissants and the cancan. Born in Avignon, in the heart of the French wine region of Provence, our 19-year-old May miss was reared in the traditions of the provincial petite francaise until the age of ten, when her family sold their small vineyard and came to America. As she recalls: "We settled in Detroit. My father had always had a certain flair for mechanical work, and he felt that the automobile industry offered the most opportunity for him to develop his talent. No one seemed to mind the change in customs except me. For one thing, I had been drinking wine since I was old enough to lift a glass, and topping off a hearty meal with milk seemed positively primitive at first. Another thing I missed was the community folk dancing. Back in Provence, any feast day or civic event was ample excuse for the whole town to get together and dance all day." Maria's penchant for things terpsichorean was farther enhanced during her high school days in Detroit, when she was asked to join a professional teenage folk-dancing troupe called the Tambouritzans and subsequently toured the country during a summer vacation. "When the group made its West Coast swing," says Maria, "I immediately fell in love with California. For a girl brought up in the sunny clime in France, California was just what the doctor ordered." Since her graduation from Detroit's Western High last June, Maria has been a confirmed resident of the Golden State, where she commutes daily from her apartment (furnished, naturally, in French Provincial) in suburban Glendale to her job as a Los Angeles dentist's assistant. Eschewing the possibility of a career as a professional danseuse, this month's bilingual beauty still keeps in shape (36-22-36) by taking weekly lessons in modern jazz and folk dancing. "I can't see myself making a living as a hoofer," she confides, "but I would like to take a crack at operating my own dancing school someday." On weekends, Maria heeds the call of la mer and heads for Newport harbor, where Saturday sailors can rent a sloop for the afternoon at a nominal fee ("I've already picked out an eighteen-foot day sailer to buy with the money I receive from my Playmate appearance"). After dark, she prefers a quiet repas with a guy who's "witty and has eyes only for me." Those who haven't already eyed the centerfold, regardez, tout de suite!
Photography by William DeLong and William Figge