may playmate gina goldberg is a lively nomad who's about to put down some roots
"Let's talk about the future," says Gina Goldberg, nee Virenius. "My past has just been too depressing." Born in the seaport of Turku -- Finland's third largest city -- she was raised by her grandparents. "It was an unhappy childhood" is all Gina cares to offer on that subject. At 16, she moved to Helsinki to seek her fortune -- but wasn't thrilled by the job she landed as a supermarket clerk. "I lasted about six months," she says, "and then moved on to Stockholm." There -- and subsequently in several other European cities -- she dished up Big Macs at McDonald's. She lived in Hamburg, Munich, Athens -- where she joined a Swedish dance company -- London and Paris, where she became an au pair girl for an American family and studied at the Sorbonne. At the end of six months, the family she was working for went back to the States. "Since I'd heard so many good things about America, I decided to go there myself. It was summer and New York was hot and rainy," she says, "and I was all alone. I decided I needed some sunshine, so I took a Greyhound from New York to L.A. What a trip! I spent nearly a week on the bus." Arriving in downtown Los Angeles, she went directly to Hollywood, expecting glitter and stardust. What she found was a creep following her down the boulevard. "I was really scared, so I jumped into the first cab I saw, which turned out to be a lucky break, because the driver was very nice and helped me locate a place to stay." Her luck continued to improve. She found her own place, made friends, got married (briefly) and signed with a talent agent. "He booked me as an extra in a few films -- just minor stuff, like playing a Vegas showgirl in the upcoming movie Jayne Mansfield, an American Tragedy -- and I put together a modeling composite." Then a friend with an eye for beauty got her an appointment at Playboy's Studio West, with the results you see here. Gina would like to become an actress, but unlike many star-struck beauties, she is sensibly pursuing a plan B. "I can't go back to McDonald's anymore. I need to do something creative. So if acting doesn't work out, I'd like to start my own business, perhaps a boutique or a beauty salon. I'm going to study business administration, just in case I need something to fall back on." That, we suspect, is the attitude that has kept this high-spirited nomad landing on her feet.
Photography by Arny Freytag