fire up the barbie, boys, and say g'day to playmate shannon long
Shannon Long is your basic girl next door, if next door is 12,000 miles away. She comes from the little town of Surfers Paradise, on the eastern coast of Australia, about an hour from Brisbane. The guys there are big, and loud, in a yobbo way, still calling girls sheilas and drinking their Castlemaine XXXX beer. "Don't let the ads fool you," Shannon advises. "We have regional loyalties. Foster's is the beer to drink in New South Wales. Victoria Bitter is the Melbourne brew. In Queensland, we drink 4X. If you don't, everyone gives you heat." Shannon is explaining Australia as she sits in a Chicago hotel room eating -- what else -- a Vegemite sandwich. "I've had it on toast almost every day of my life. The first time I came to the United States to test for the centerfold, I didn't bring any. Never again."
Shannon attended a school where the curriculum included certain frontier essentials. "We had to raise two chickens and pluck them for our final exam. I got Mom to swap a pinched duck -- a dressed chicken -- I couldn't kill pets."
We asked Shannon her opinion of the "Crocodile" Dundee movies. "He got the guys right. I grew up with four brothers, listening to them exaggerate. A few ripples on the ocean became great surf, a small catch became a super fish, a scratch became a fight with a full-blown crocodile. But mostly, he got the laid-back atmosphere. You work a few months, you take off for a few months for a little adventure. It's such a young country, there's such a freshness, no one is eager to settle down into one job, one house, one life. You have to enjoy the freshness." Enjoy hers.
Photography by Richard Fegley, Stephen Wayda