we finally landed ex-flight attendant terri welles -- now we're walking on air
Good-looking girls don't have it easy. It's not so much that people try to take advantage of them; it's more that they're constantly being underestimated. Anyone who underestimates Terri Welles had better duck. She's a scrapper.
Take the time she was pulled over for speeding just after having entered a freeway in her home state of California. Terri was charged with doing 63 where only the double nickel was allowed.
Now, she didn't think she'd been on the freeway long enough for the officer to have measured her speed accurately. So just before her court date, she got into her car and checked the distance on her odometer from the on ramp where she'd started to the off ramp beside which she'd been pulled over. When her case came up, the patrolman testified he'd clocked her over a one-mile distance, but Terri produced homemade maps showing that it was only six tenths of a mile. Case dismissed. Had it not been a courtroom, Terri would have gotten a standing ovation. A move like that takes confidence, poise and intelligence. Terri just happens to have all three in abundance. Cynics, of course, would scoff at the idea that any girl who looks like Terri could lack self-confidence. But then, they didn't see her at the age of 14, when sheer boredom caused her to balloon to 180 pounds. "One day, I just rolled out of bed -- I mean, literally rolled. That's when I put the nix on eating."
Although it didn't seem so at the time, putting on the weight may have been best thing that could have happened to her. When you're a 180-pound 14-year old, you develop a quick wit and a sparkling personality or you just don't survive.
When the weight finally went away, her beauty surfaced and the wit remained. By her senior year in high school, modeling offers were coming in. But Terri wasn't quite ready for that life yet. First she did secretarial work in a loan office, where hard work soon got her promoted to escrow officer. "I was quite proud of myself for that," she says, "but eventually I felt too confined by it. Something inside me kept saying, 'Get out, get out!!'"
So she hopped on a plane; in fact, she hopped on a lot of planes. As a stewardess. First for PSA, then for United. And that's when we got lucky.
An old friend, who just happened to be the brother of Playmate Sondra Theodore, took Terri to visit Playboy Mansion West. Making a splash in that sea of beauty isn't easy, unless you're Terri Welles. She created a tidal wave of enthusiasm. Coincidentally, we were planning our pictorial on flight attendants at the time. Terri was asked -- or, rather, implored, cajoled and begged -- to be the cover girl for that issue. The lure of bright lights finally convinced her to take the big step into modeling. She relented, and her career was launched.
Terri was an immediate hit. Naturally, in the back of our mind, a centerfold was taking shape: her shape. Then, just before she was to leave for a modeling assignment in Japan, Terri agreed to a Playmate shooting. Wasting no time, we dispatched a photographer to follow her to the Orient. You're enjoying the results of the trip here.
What the camera couldn't record is the amazing effect Terri has on all who meet her. Blessed with a verve and easy good humor that are absolutely infectious, this bright, vivacious lady is obviously from a special mold. There's only one Terri Welles.
Photography by Richard Fegley