miss de vasquez is half spanish, half cajun and completely captivating
When Devin Reneé DeVasquez first visited Chicago, in September 1983, people who saw her asked, "Who is that pretty young girl?" Now they ask, "Who is that beautiful young woman?" We seldom get to watch a Playmate grow up, but our relationship with Miss June goes back several years. In 1981, while she was a sophomore majoring in accounting and marketing at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Playboy Contributing Photographer David Chan scouted the campus for our "Girls of the Southeastern Conference" feature and Devin decided to apply. What prompted her? "Funny you should ask," she says with a laugh. "I had given a talk on nudity for my freshman speech class. It was at 7:30 a.m.; I woke a lot of people up with that speech. Basically, I view beauty as a gift, like having a good singing voice or the ability to dance. When I tried out, I had never even seen Playboy, but I knew what it was. A friend and I just wanted to see who else was trying out. The next thing I knew, I was in the magazine." The rest is the kind of history that happens only down South. One of the other girls who posed -- fully clothed -- was kicked out of her sorority; another was evicted from her building. As for Devin: "I lost a student job with the state revenue department. I asked the person who fired me, 'What does this have to do with my job?' What hypocrites! How can they buy the magazine, then have the nerve to criticize?" Devin, of course, landed on her feet. After all, she'd been living on her own since she was 16. "I never wanted to be taken care of. I have my own American Express card. I'm a grown-up person."
After the "Girls of the S.E.C." pictorial, Devin reviewed her priorities. "I realized I was trying to do too much. I had been holding down two jobs and going to school. I'd come home from work exhausted, and I was neglecting my studies. So I decided to go out and make enough money to finish college without having to worry about the rent." She began modeling, appearing in local TV commercials in Baton Rouge and in showrooms for Danskin in Dallas. In the fall of 1982, she landed a nonspeaking extra's role in "Dixie: Changing Habits," a made-for-TV movie starring Suzanne Pleshette and Cloris Leachman. One day, she decided to visit Chicago, to see if the big city offered more opportunity. She called David Chan, packed her bags and arrived with $50 in her pocket.
"When I showed up, I was paralyzed with a sort of shyness. If people stared at me, I wouldn't take it as a compliment. I would wonder if I had food hanging from my mouth." The people, of course, were staring for a more obvious reason. Devin's exotic blend of Spanish and Cajun tends to hook people by the eyeballs. (Her smile, however, is all-American. "People don't ask me if I speak English," she laughs.) "The attention was kind of disconcerting. People kept asking me if I was Jenny on 'All My Children.' Others thought I looked like Jennifer Beals or a dark Farrah Fawcett. Guys kept coming up to me and saying, 'You look just like Apollonia.' These days, I just want someone to come up to me and say, 'You look like Devin DeVasquez.' "
Nowadays, Devin exudes confidence and poise. She is working for Elite, one of the top agencies in the world. "I know what I want out of life," she says. "You can put me into any situation and I'll adjust. I've discovered that what you give out is what you get back. I've been striving to be a better model, a better friend, a better lover, and the results are starting to come back to me." She tells of a current relationship. He and she show up at parties together and exchange looks but not words, leaving other people to wonder what's passing between them. Sometimes she wears his clothes. They save their talking for late hours, over the phone, from two to four in the morning, from points across the country. The rest of the day, she is strictly business. She rises around 8:30, exercises and showers, then calls the modeling agency to check in. She spends the day visiting photographers or working on assignments. When she goes home, she cooks, reads, watches TV, exercises and writes poetry. Most of her poems are about love. "I'm a romantic," Devin admits. "I love to be loved and I'm very loyal, both in friendship and romance." She also has a great sense of humor. On a photo session in the bayou country, a seminude Devin was poling a small boat though what she desperately feared were alligator-infested waters ("I can't swim!") when she rounded a bend and came upon about 30 good ol' boys in a duck hunting camp. "Two of the guys were asleep when I floated by and I just want to let them know that it really happened -- a crew from Playboy was photographing a girl without clothes on, and they missed it."
What are her plans for the future? Travel, for one thing. "I never knew my real father. My mother and stepfather moved around the country a lot -- from California to Detroit. I struck out on my own at 16. Now I'd like to visit Madrid -- my father's birthplace -- and discover something about my roots." Other plans? "I would like to treat myself to a real vacation. Maybe Venice." She and her American Express card are ready to go, so get the name right, hotel clerks and mâitre d's: It's Devin Reneé DeVasquez. You'll be seeing a lot of her.
Photography by Richard Fegley