What's Japanese-American and English?
miss june's composite beauty blends the best of east and west
Lieko English, a 23-year-old native of Okinawa, is an engaging embodiment of friendly East-West relations: Her parentage is Japanese and American, and her unique beauty was formally recognized when, at 18, she won the Miss Okinawa title that took her to Miami Beach, home of the Miss Universe contest. "I enjoyed meeting all the other girls," Lieko (pronounced Le-a-ko) says of that experience, "but I didn't like being watched all the time. An official was with me constantly." Back home after the pageant, she worked as a fashion model but soon realized that, because of the nature of most businesses in Okinawa -- a proliferation of small retail stores that cater to tourists and Servicemen -- long-term opportunities were limited. So, recalling the diversity and affluence she had witnessed in Miami, Lieko made plans to settle in the U.S., where, she reasoned, her chances of a successful career might be far greater. She first spent a month vacationing with an aunt in Hawaii; then, after being counseled by youthful acquaintances there who knew the States, she selected agreeably warm and socially vibrant Atlanta for her first mainland home. Upon arrival, Lieko postponed the uncertain throes of a fresh modeling venture and looked for steady work, finding it as a Bunny in the Atlanta Playboy Club. Although her stay was pleasant, and included an appearance in last August's Bunnies of 1970 feature, she missed her family and left after 12 months for an extended return trip to Okinawa. Thinking about it now, Lieko has one outstanding memory of the reunion. "I loved speaking my native Japanese again, because I have to think about each word I say in English." After four months, Lieko flew back to Atlanta and, almost concurrently, was invited to Chicago for her Playmate gatefold shooting. She quickly became fond of Playboy's home city -- even its blustery winter -- and is presently making plans to move north, where, at least for the first few months after resettling, she'll use her Bunny background and work in the Chicago Club. It's too soon to say whether she'll decide to remain there; but it's certain that, as long as Lieko favors this part of the world over her native land, the U.S. will enjoy a very favorable balance of trade.
Photography by Pompeo Posar