IF YOU KNEW SUZI
you'd recognize miss january as an all-american girl
Bundled in sweaters, snow crunching beneath her boots, Suzi Simpson trekked onto Alaska's Colony Glacier with a small army of attendants in her wake. While the photo crew framed this month's northern exposures, Suzi gazed at the Chugach Mountains in the distance and let memories roll past like ice floes in a swift current. Cross-country skiing through the woods. Racing snowmobiles across frozen fields. Harnessing her pet Samoyed dogs to a sleigh for a mush down snowed-in suburban streets. The last time Suzi saw the Great North, she was 11 years old and tomboy tough. Her father, a career Navy man, was stationed in the Aleutian Islands, which meant a summer of midnight sun for his itinerant clan. The oldest of four children, Suzi learned her first lessons in independence early -- how to go along and get along but keep her self-image intact. "Some military children have a terrible time adjusting to a life that's maybe not the norm. They become really introverted people," she says. "I always figured that you make your own way in the world, and you might as well make it a good one." Born in a military hospital in Greece at the height of the Vietnam war (her father, stationed on a gunboat in the South China Sea, scooted over to Athens to attend the birth), Suzi made her way through schools in Maine, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona and Virginia before settling in southern California to do what young blonde beauties do out there -- model and act. The erstwhile tomboy, now a femme fatale, spends her work week in the city at auditions and photo shoots, then kicks back on weekends in a little seaside town far from the maddening smog. Last summer, after a two-year romance, she walked down the aisle with a Marine just days after he returned from war in the Persian Gulf. En route to their Hawaiian honeymoon, they joined the mile-high club. "I had to talk him into having sex on the airplane," Suzi says, with a laugh that's two parts carnal and one part shy. "I thought, Here's this guy who has lived a much wilder life then I have -- he was president of his fraternity, he sowed his little wild oats all over the place. And I've always wanted just one person to be wild with. I guess that's the difference between a hormonal young man and a woman. The funny thing is, it turns out I'm the more playful and uninhibited one. I figure if you love someone, the two of you can do anything you want with each other."
Photography by David Mecey, Stephen Wayda