miss december, on the waterfront
Just think of me as one of the guys," says 21-year-old Playmate Elisa Bridges. Her statement is greeted with skepticism. Look at the evidence.
"No, I'm serious," she insists. "I have some good female friends, but I prefer the company of men. I may have been born in Miami, but I grew up near Dallas. Maybe that's why I love to do guy things. You know, jet ski, hang out at the beach, shoot some pool, have a few beers at the marina."
After 14 years living in Flower Mound, Texas (that's right, Flower Mound), Elisa still has plenty of the Lone Star in her. But she never got much of an opportunity to bask on Texas' beautiful Gulf shoreline. So, after graduating from Marcus High in Flower Mound, she packed up her diploma and headed off for Florida's Gold Coast. "I have this thing about water," Elisa says. "I love the way it feels on my body. I love the way it glitters in the sun. It's always moving, like something alive. I can't stand to be away from the water."
Thanks to her globe-trotting parents (her father works as an architect for oil companies and her mother is a travel agent), she has spent her share of days in such faraway places as Yemen and Spain. She was quite willing to chase her relatives around the world. "I treasure my family," she says. "My parents have been married forever. That's the kind of stability I want to have when I get married. I have an older brother and a younger sister, and we're all very close. We laugh like crazy when we're together. When I told my brother I was going to appear in Playboy, he gave me this stricken look and said, 'My dream of meeting a Playmate finally comes true, and it turns out to be my sister. Damn!' We care a lot for one another. I think that's why they respect my need for independence."
These days, Elisa's drive for self-sufficiency includes a beach apartment of her own and a burgeoning new career in modeling and acting. Her next exotic vacation destination is the south of France. Until then, she has plans to buy her own boat. "I really like the idea of piloting a boat," she says. "In fact, I want to get my captain's license. I'd love to be able to see dolphins every day."
We drove this willful beauty all over Miami in maritime pursuits. The first stop was the Coast Guard, where a lieutenant handed her an applicaton, then blushed as he informed her that a physical was required. "Hey, I'm in great shape!" Elisa chided. Our next stop was for a six pack - "Don't you love beer on a hot day?" - then it was off to a marina, where the dockhands broke into spontaneous applause upon her arrival. Elisa just grinned. "I don't think I'll have any trouble finding a crew!"
-- Randy Wayne White
Photography by Richard Fegley