jacqueline sheen is a sales rep and scuba diver who water-skis barefoot. no wonder they call her
Jacqueline Sheen -- Jackson to her friends -- is about to go water-skiing, barefoot, on the crystal-blue inlet that is her back yard, a finger of water off Clearwater Harbor on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Jackson learned to ski barefoot from the best, she says -- a man named Cooke -- "Pronounced Cookie. If you're going to write about my barefooting, he should get the credit." Just what does it take to glide across the water on her heels? For starters, she begins by grabbing the tow rope while floating on her stomach and pushing to her feet when the boat picks up enough speed. "One of the most important things about barefooting is that you have to go fast -- the faster the better." That comes naturally to Jackson, who, since 1985, has made the fast track her home. That was the year she began selling condos for a living in Oklahoma, having moved there from her native Texas. One year later, she took a job with a sporting-goods manufacturer and within five days was nurturing an account worth some $150,000 to the firm. Since 1988, she has been prospecting for more customers in Florida. "I took one look at Clearwater, fell in love with the beach and decided to move. That's all it took." These days, her life is a veritable balancing act, with a Things To Do pad that looks like the Manhattan Yellow Pages. In addition to Jackson the saleswoman, there's Jackson the scuba diver ("I'm now certified"), Jackson the family girl ("I'm back in Texas at least once a month") and now Jackson the Playmate. "I was in California on business and decided to give Playboy a call. By the next morning, I was already doing my test shots." Enough of this talk stuff: Jackson wants to show us how she skis sans slats. Shouting to us over the rumbling engine of a sleek Baja speedboat, Jackson tells us, "What I love about barefoot skiing is the freedom! It's the most exhilarating feeling!" Suddenly she's interrupted by the roar of the boat's engine; the Baja lurches forward and tears off. Jackson hangs tight to the rope, cutting through the wake like some supercharged mermaid. A few quick twists of the body and she's up -- zipping across the water and laughing back at a dock-bound admirer.
Photography by Stephen Wayda