If They Could See Her Now
miss november, a descendant of that adams family, has big plans
"I had a teacher who once told me 'C plus B equals A.' Meaning: 'If you conceive and believe, you will achieve.'" Meet Stephanie Adams of Jersey City, New Jersey, superachiever -- not to mention fashion model, artist, clothing designer and, of particular note this election month, a relative of the second and sixth presidents of the United States. "Yup, I'm blood-related to John and John Quincy Adams," Stephanie says with a shrug, quickly adding that her aunt Bootsy has the paperwork to back up the claim of presidential lineage. "Family lore has it that John had a couple of girlfriends and, well, you know. . . ." Then she breaks into a laugh. But the celebrated ancestry of the Adams family is just one aspect of Stephanie's already remarkable life. At 22, she's headed for the big time and shows no sign of slowing down. "There are so many things I want to do," says the part-West Indian, part-Irish, part-Cherokee, completely gorgeous model. "I want to be on the cover of every magazine -- the female equivalent of Michael Jackson. This is where I belong." When Stephanie was small, her folks were always on the road -- Dad is in public relations for Harrah's casinos -- so she was raised by her aunts Pearl and Joyce, both former models, in Orange, New Jersey. It was the aunts who gave her the modeling bug. "Joyce was the Wella hair girl in the Sixties," says Stephanie. "I've posed in front of the camera since I was in diapers." Stephanie attended Catholic school from kindergarten through high school, dabbling mostly in art (the nuns actually put her sketches of nudes on display), clothing design (her fantasy label: Einahpets -- or Stephanie spelled backward) and interior design. "When I was eight, my reading material was "House Beautiful," "Architectural Digest" and "Vogue." I decorated my dollhouses and crocheted blankets for my dolls. I took it all very seriously." By the time she reached the tenth grade, Stephanie hit new heights -- five foot eight, to be exact -- and that's when she decided to become a model. "I was sixteen and I realized that I really could do it." Charm school was the first order of business. Stephanie took classes in everything from speech to make-up to behavior. That year, she booked her first gig, the video for George Benson's "Masquerade." "I played the love interest of a Mafia guy who winds up getting killed," she recalls. Next, it was off to college at nearby Fairleigh Dickinson University, where Stephanie landed degrees in business management and marketing "so I could market myself as a model and manage the money I made." After graduation, the jobs began to roll in: a stint on "The Cosby Show" ("I danced at one of Theo Huxtable's parties"), a string of rap videos on MTV and ads for Sprite and Clairol. Her newfound success also brought her into contact with some of New York's rich and famous, including Donald Trump ("He approached me at a loft party and began with, 'You look familiar . . .'"), Eddie Murphy ("My girlfriends and I met him at the China Club and we all went back to his house in Jersey. He was a perfect gentleman"), New York Mets outfielder Daryl Boston ("We've always been buddies") and Dolph Lundgren ("We met at Grace Jones's birthday party"). Last spring, Stephanie wandered into Playboy's Chicago offices on a lingerie photo assignment. Our photographer took one look at her and whisked her off to meet Senior Photo Editor Michael Ann Sullivan. Within two weeks, John Adams' great-great-etc.-granddaughter became a Playmate. In other words, C plus B equals A -- or, in this case, A-plus.
Photography by Richard Fegley