a glimpse of miss january will make you . . .
You don't need psychic powers to surmise that a girl with the offbeat name of Echo has parents who were products of the Sixties. But Echo Leta Johnson herself is very much a woman of the Nineties. Take the way our January centerfold -- who turns 19 this month -- chose to celebrate her 18th birthday. "My best girlfriend and I jumped into her convertible and drove straight through from Santa Fe to Las Vegas and had a blast gambling and going to floor shows every night, sleeping in late and then basking in the sun all afternoon. We blew our stash in three days, but the memory is worth every cent. We were like Thelma and Louise, only we didn't pack a pistol." Not that Echo needs one. Her good looks and her flat-out attitude toward life are lethal enough. Last June, just after graduating from Santa Fe High School (Echo was born, and now lives, in Austin, but she grew up in Ecuador - her father was a hat exporter there - and Santa Fe), Echo entered a local beauty pageant and was promptly crowned Miss Santa Fe. She caught the attention of a photographer shooting for Playboy Germany and suddenly was the toast of New Mexico. Although Echo's triumphs have accelerated the pace of her life, they don't sem to have turned her head. "People keep asking me why I don't go to Hollywood, but the starlet route has never appealed to me. I want more control over my life than that." Her intention is to move to Dallas - the apparel-mart capital of Texas - to attend SMU to earn a degree in fashion merchandising. "My dream is to someday own and run a hip, upscale clothing store, for men and women. My boyfriend, Alex, and my brother both have absolutely great builds, and I just love to dress them." They are also both naturally great dancers, she adds. "I love everything from the Texas two-step to dirty dancing and hip-hop. If a man can't dance and doesn't look good in his clothes, he'll never get mine off," she vows -- a promising threat if we've ever heard one.
Photography by Arny Freytag, Greg Gorman