Putting On A Happy Face
this st. george is no drag, on the set or off
Sometimes, you get lucky. You get a beautiful package, open it and find something even more beautiful inside. It was that way for us when Cathy St. George showed up at our West Cost offices back in 1980. A free-lance make-up artist and a model, she came to us on a routine modeling call for a possible cover shot. During the interview, she mentioned that she also did make-up. She was hired on the spot -- to pose and to do her own make-up. The next day, she was called back -- this time to beautify another model -- and her career was launched. For the past two and a half years, Cathy has been entrusted with the most critical of duties associated with this publication: preparing our pictorial and centerfold stars for the camera. She has done make-up for several pictorials, hundreds of Playmate tests and at least 15 Playmates. And in August of last year, she finally got that cover. Cathy's credentials were very much in order. She had previously worked for such prestigious cosmetic firms as Estee Lauder and Max Factor. Playboy, though, was a change of pace. "It's a different sort of make-up from what I did before," she explains. "I used to work more with color; it was closer to high fashion. Playboy wants a girl to look natural, pretty much as she does in real life." The art of maquillage takes a good eye and a deft hand. Cathy developed hers early, winning an art contest at the age of seven and gaining entry to a school for gifted children to develop her talents. Perhaps prophetically, her later works on canvas were primarily nudes and portraits. Now, she says, "People tell me they feel as if I'm painting them like a canvas -- which is, in fact, the way I work."
Born in Virginia and raised in Southern California, Cathy has also lived in Rochester, New York, and Tampa, Florida. Now based in L.A., she brightens Playboy Studio West. That she would one day be the star of her own pictorial now seems inevitable. But not to Cathy. "I never felt I was pretty," she admits. "I always worked on my personality, because I thought that was the only thing that would get me anywhere." Cathy has exhibited no such lapse in judgment in her work at Playboy. On the contrary, she's known to be bright, engaging and a thorough professional. Still, her acceptance as a valued member of the team surprises her. "I find that photographers are asking me, 'Well, Cathy, what do you think of this?' They're asking my opinion, which is a good feeling, because then you know you're good at your job."
Cathy is also, thank you, able to take care of herself. We asked her about that picture in her layout in which she's taking a bead with a .357 Magnum almost as big as she is. She explained, "I'm learning how to shoot. I think a girl living alone -- even in a high-security building, as I do -- has to be careful. I'm opposed to violence of any kind, really, but I think that part of the problem with guns is ignorance. It's not that people are gun crazy but that they don't know what they're doing."
On any level, Cathy definitely knows what's she's doing. She lives a full, some would say glamorous, life, and she has the confidence of somebody who has found her niche -- plus enough looks and talent to take her anywhere. We're proud to call her one of our own.
Photography by Ken Marcus