wendy kaye, the perfect patriot, is our salute to independence day
"I am so proud to be an American," says star-spangled blonde Wendy Kaye. And why not? The daughter of a U.S. Navy flier, the very first girl born at a spanking-new naval hospital in Memphis 19 years ago, Wendy celebrated her first Independence Day when she was 30 days old. It's still her favorite holiday. How star-spangled is she? Many patriots love the Fourth of July; Miss July takes her love of the red, white and blue a giant step further. "I do something special on the fourth of every month." She and her boyfriend celebrate their first date, the anniversary of their interdependence, on Independence Day. Wendy, who spent much of last winter in front of the TV in her apartment in Santa Barbara, California, chewed her glistening fingernails as she worried over news reports from the Persian Gulf. When victory came, she shot out of her chair like a Roman candle. "I do want to travel, to see how other cultures live," she says, "but one thing about me is never going to change. First and foremost, I'll always be an American." This month, we're proud to fulfill an all-American girl's dream by making Wendy Kaye Miss July 1991. "July. That's perfect. I love it," she says. If you're in Santa Barbara, watch for a car with streamers and sparklers. That'll be Wendy. Young Santa Barbarans are territorial. Everyone who's anyone hits the beach all summer, but if you're an underclasswoman at Santa Barbara High School, as Wendy was in 1987-1988, you stick to Hendry's Beach with the frosh and sophomores. That's why no one took note of Wendy Kaye for the longest time. "I was the shy girl at school," and shy sophomores don't dare set foot on East Beach, where the upper classes strut their stuff. "That's where the action was." Finally, two years ago, a shy girl stunned East Beach. A newly minted junior, Wendy took a deep breath and waded into the action. She appeared as if from nowhere, coming out of the Pacific in a fluorescent thong bikini. Santa Barbara High had a brand-new celeb. It wasn't long until a few of her new fans, paging through a copy of Playboy (the September 1989 issue, for you history buffs), said, "You could do this." Initially shocked, Wendy soon realized she was being flattered. Two summers later, here she is, proof of the high standards set at East Beach. "A lightning bolt came down," says Wendy, snapping her fingers, "and God said, 'Do something different with your life, something you'll enjoy.' This is it!"
Photography by Stephen Wayda, Arny Freytag