playmate louann fernald is a coed with a cause
Louann Fernald is proud of her Florida heritage. Her father worked in Satellite Beach, designing guidance systems for missiles. Now he raises oranges. She grew up in a house filled with good books a few blocks from one of the finest beaches in the world. Our Miss June is at home in the world of words and the world of pure physical activity. She divides her time at the University of Florida in Gainesville between studying and running. She almost never watches television. ("My life would have to be pretty boring to plug into the tube, wouldn't it?")
Louann considers herself a product of her environment, and when she sat down to talk about a story that would go with her gatefold, the thought of protecting that environment was on her mind. She recalls the rock-climber who scaled a skyscraper and, when the TV crews arrived, unfurled a banner asking the world to save the whales. "Ideally, I would like to do the same thing with the pictorial. You know, 'As long as I have your attention, I would like to say the following.'" While walking along the beach in Daytona, Louann delivers an impassioned plea to save Florida from pollution, unthinking tourists and corporate criminals. She points out the beer cans left, she's sure, by visitors from the North. She points to the surf. "It's beautiful today, isn't it? Well, some days I run on this beach and look at the surf, and it's orange. Tankers dump their oil offshore before coming into port and it turns the surf orange. Don't they realize that someone lives here? Small acts by small-minded people ruin the world for the rest of us." In a complicated fashion, becoming a Playmate may be just one step in Louann's campaign to save the beaches. "I was working my way through college when I saw an ad for The Great Playmate Hunt. I decided to give it a try. The money would pay for my senior year and, for once, I could concentrate on my studies without the hassles of holding down a waitressing job. I'm majoring in public relations. I've given some thought to working for a conservation group after I graduate. It's going to be hard. There is a prejudice against outspoken women. People write off what you say with a 'You're cute when you're angry' attitude. It's not cute. I really care about this issue. A lot of people think that now that I'm a Playmate, I'm going to run off to Hollywood and live happily ever after. Not on your life. My commitment is here."
Photography by Dwight Hooker