If You Knew Susie
texan susie is nursing a new career and loving it
If the lady beside that 1953 Chevy pickup seems familiar, she probably is. You first saw Susie Owens as one of the nurses we featured in our November 1983 pictorial Women in White. She started working at 22 as a nurse in Oklahoma City hospitals, where in seven and a half years she went from delivery-room duty to cardiology and finally oncology -- cancer care. Her appearance in Playboy caught the eyes of the producers of an Oklahoma City television sports-talk show, who invited her to host a five-minute segment devoted to health and fitness for women and men. As she says, "I was ready to get out of the illness part of health care and into the wellness area," so the show was the perfect remedy. Her TV stint sparked an idea that came to fruition a year later, right after she returned from a trip to Los Angeles, where she'd noticed that a large number of personal trainers actually made a decent living.
She decided to start a fitness business, FemLine, which offers personalized fitness counseling for women in the Dallas area. She's currently offering a lecture series called "Females & Fitness" at a large Dallas health club, and she's negotiating to do a radio show. She's making it. But that's just her career. You also ought to know that she just recently became unattached and shares a house with her nine-year-old daughter, Shauna Darlene. One more thing you might like to know is how a 31-year-old nurse gets herself into this kind of physical condition: squash. Intense, sweaty hours of squash. "I hate aerobics," she says. Not one to stifle her opinions, Susie has them on a variety of topics, a few of which we'll share with you.
On the difference between being 21 and being 31: "When I was younger, I was silent, submissive and sexless, but I'm way past that phase. When you turn 31, you don't have time for bullshit." On nursing burnout: "A lot of nurses get out of it in five to seven years. That's why there's a nursing shortage. The wages are too low for the kind of grueling work we do." On staying in shape: "I'm not like the 18-year-olds who have it naturally. I've put a lot of work into this body. That's why I don't mind showing myself naked." On the illusions of spandex: "You see those girls working out in spandex outfits? Well, I've seen some of them come into the locker room and just explode out of them. I'm not like that. I never owned a spandex outfit and never will."
Photography by Arny Freytag, Pompeo Posar