miss august, whose surname means "love," has a passion for life
"Femininity has nothing to do with what you wear or don't wear," says Gianna Amore. "It's a state of mind." Femininity comes as naturally to Miss August as does the lust for life she inherited from her Mediterranean ancestors. She grew up in a "super-Italian" household, taking femininity lessons from six older sisters. "I was the baby, the li'l prize." When her sisters took her aside to explain the nuts and bolts of the birds and the bees, she recalls, "I cried. It seemed awful."' Gianna recovered. She soon learned to like being looked at by men, many of whom think of birds, bees, nuts and bolts the moment they see her. "I blossomed," she says. Gianna chafed at the discipline demanded of students at her Narragansett, Rhode Island, Catholic junior high. "They had a lot of silly rules. Having fun was wrong. I once got suspended for wearing the wrong-color pants." After high school, she fled south to Florida, where the climate better suited her Italian blood. She tended bar in a jai-alai frontón by night and played on the beach by day but soon felt "stifled. I didn't want to spend my life as a bartender." A modeling firm offered a seven-day trip to the West Coast. On the first day, she gawked. "They put me up at the Century Plaza, where the Reagans stay," she recalls. In no time, Gianna loved L.A. "I was born to be an actress," she says, sitting at a Sidewalk table, watching the stream of Benzes and BMWs on Sunset Boulevard, "and now's my chance." She appears in Universal's Screwball Hotel ("A painless but overly familiar sex comedy" -- Variety), typecast as a beach beauty, and hopes subsequent roles will feature her inner talents. A beach beauty who writes poetry while listening to classical music, Gianna is ready to blossom as an actress. No Streep yet but a starlet on the rise, she signs autographs for sharp-eyed speculators. Savvy Angeleno autograph hunters obviously recognize a good thing when they see one. "My sister Bethany is five years older than I am," Gianna says. "When we were kids, I was her secretary. I had to go up and talk to the boys she wanted to go out with." Gianna, her sisters' "li'l prize," has graduated from secretary to sex symbol. Less than a year ago, new in town, she showed up at Playboy's West Coast offices in search of a modeling assignment. "I never thought of myself as a Playmate of the Month - Playmates are gorgeous, she says. "But while I was signing in at the front desk, [photographer] Kim Mizuno took one look and said, `You should be a Playmate.' I guess he was right." Bethany's old boyfriends will most definitely be impressed.