to kim morris, growing up was worth waiting for
The nails on one hand were a definite pink; those on the other leaned toward coral. Kim Morris said it was a test to see which she liked better. The different colors didn't matter much then; it was just an informal lunch. But they would the next day, when she would have to put hands and body on the line for a modeling job. Then, you can rest assured, Kim's nails would be perfect. Experimentation is part of her life: Try this, try that, see what works. At 27, she's loping along, confident and comfortable. A few years ago, she didn't know where she might be headed. "I was an orthodontist's assistant, working in Hawaii. Two of my girlfriends had gone to audition for a job billed as 'partially nude.' It was for the Crazy Horse Revue from Paris, playing in Hawaii. I said, 'Are you crazy? I could never do that.' But I went and saw the show; it was fabulous. They projected slides over the women, all seventeen of them. So it was tasteful -- it was like hidden seductiveness -- and it came off really well. I said, 'I want to be up there.' And I went, took off my clothes, and they said, 'You're hired.' I danced for two years."
After one has been in the Crazy Horse Revue, one doesn't return to orthodontics. Kim had had a taste of show business and liked it. Los Angeles, with its modeling and music-video action, seemed like the place to be. So she hopped a plane. Not long after she landed, she connected with Playboy.
While it was immediately apparent that Kim was Playmate material, we had to put her on ice until an open month could be found. In the meantime, she joined Playboy Models.
The energy that doesn't get onto film sometimes comes out on canvas in Kim's acrylic, free-style paintings. Her favorite subject: the ocean.
"It was that never-ending cycle of waves and tides that drew me to the ocean. It's always there, going out and coming in. I think I was a fish at one time or another." We suggested a swan as suitably aquatic and more attractive, but Kim countered with ugly duckling.
"I was a late bloomer, putting it bluntly. I wore a pixy haircut, and I was always very short. People called me Jim for years. I thought that I was never going to grow up. Finally my junior and senior years in high school, I started filling out. I thought, This is wonderful. I hope I don't get too cocky."
Not a chance. Cockiness isn't a part of Kim's make-up. She's quiet, she observes, then she moves.
"I'm a listener," Kim offered. "I can observe and listen and pretty much figure out where people are coming from -- usually from the first couple of things they say or the way they move, their body language." Then she laughed. "I sat and listened for years and years until I bloomed!"
But things were still far from rosy when we talked. Kim's love life, for one, just wasn't working out. She worried she might just have to call it quits.
"I hate to be alone, yeah. But I just want that . . . heart-stopping . . . ." Kim searched for a way to say it. "There's someone out there. I don't think I've ever really been in love. I've loved. I love the guy I live with now. But I' m not in love with him. I've done this now -- this will be my third time that I've had to move out and say, 'I'm sorry it didn't work.' And I can't do that anymore. I've decided I'm going to live with friends and not have a relationship -- at least, not a live-in one.
What do I want? I want someone who's more dominant than I, someone who's going to say, 'Kim, grow up!' Or at least put me back down to earth."
Photography by Ken Marcus, Stephen Wayda