Call of the Wild
nature lover heather ryan boasts a pet ocelot, a brace of dobermans and a penchant for the untamed side of life
"He that goes to law holds a wolf by the ear," wrote a cynical Britisher of the 17th Century; but his imagery would only provoke laughter from honey-haired Heather Ryan, who is equally at ease pouring over volumes of legal history or sprinting through California's Chevy Chase Canyon at night, with an ocelot and a pair of Doberman pinschers as her escorts. "I have a passion for anything that's wild," declares the 20-year-old Kentucky native, who currently resides at her family's Glendale home, on the brink of the canyon: "It's pretty desolate out there, but we're lucky that we have no close neighbors, because the ocelot often screams at night. When Heather takes to the hills of an afternoon, she usually carries a book of the Kon-Tiki and Seven Pillars of Wisdom ilk. "I am," she says, "fascinated by adventure, and I suppose it pervades most of my tastes. I like actors like Paul Newman, Charlton Heston and Steve McQueen, because they usually portray men who are as untamed as my ocelot." And while Miss July prefers rugged outdoorsmen, she dotes only on dates who are also possessed of keen intellects. "My perfect man would be someone like Lawrence of Arabia -- without the hang-ups," she says. Heather will soon be entering her sophomore year at Glendale College, after which she expects to complete her undergraduate studies in law at UCLA. But Miss July -- who has worked for an insurance firm, an industrial supply company and is presently on the paryoll of the Jay Ross dress shop in Glendale -- dreams of modeling and is by no means committed to the advocate's vocation: "I'm really too emotional; and if I were a divorce-court lawyer, I'd always side with the men." When she's not using her spare time to figure our her future, Heather enjoys tussling in the canyon with the exotic pets ("It beats just sitting around, which is what 99 percent of American women do"), thereby keeping herself in exemplary shape (36 1/2-20-35). Speed-loving Heather admits to driving her 1966 Mustang faster on occasion than the law prescribes. She's a frequent visitor to Sacramento, where -- after visiting with her grandparents -- she takes in the motorcycle races ("I've logged a few miles myself, but the big bikes are just too much for me to control"). Though she hasn't had much exposure to the psychedelics-freedom-love movement currently the kick among West Coast youth, Heather recently witnessed a mass "love-in" at Elysian Park: "I'd never seen such a crew -- everybody walking about and presenting the most unlikely gifts, like fruits and flowers, to each other." Heather isn't fond of densely populated scenes, however, and prefers the open-air solitude of the desert -- where she occasionally motors to hunt rabbits and quail -- or the seashore at Palos Verdes or Laguna, where she delights in skindiving or just relaxing on the surf-soaked rocks. "Coastal rock formations turn me on somehow, and I feel at home when I'm surrounded by them." We agree; and our latest centerfold theme is, indeed, Heather on the rocks.
Photography by William Figge and Ed DeLong