ON YOUR MARKS
get set: miss may is a woman on the go
Shae Marks is one beautiful collection of contradictions. This becomes clear the moment I open the door to greet her. Based on her photo and the conversations we've had on the phone, I fully expect to find a tall, bold woman. Instead, I discover a polite waif clad in faded jeans, a sweatshirt and sneakers, carrying an armload of books. I think for a second that some schoolgirl has accidentally knocked on my door. But when she speaks, I realize that this is the same person. Oh, and those aren't books. "These are albums of my photo shoot in Los Angeles," she says offhandedly, and plops them onto a table.
The contradictions continue to reveal themselves: Although Shae delivers cars from auctions to a wholesale lot for a living, she got lost on the way to the interview. She weighs just over a hundred pounds, but she eats a meal -- including a fried cheese appetizer -- fit for a hungry man. Clearly, she was born to be in front of the camera, yet she hopes one day to work behind it. The biggest contradiction of all? Shae Marks says of herself, "I am very insecure." She says this staring me straight in the eye with all of the assuredness of the queen of England. The incongruity of these things doesn't immediately occur to Shae. But when I point it out, she explains each seeming conflict. Of course she can have no sense of direction and still earn money driving. "We drive in packs, and I'm always in the middle. I was always a passenger before I took the job, and I didn't have to pay much attention." As for the high-fat food cooked in oil, well, she doesn't really have to think about it: "I work out all the time."
But those are just the little things. I'm more concerned with how she could dismiss the possibility of putting her looks to good use in her career. "Well, I'm thinking about going into broadcasting," she says. "But I'd also like to do camera work or maybe screenwriting." And this is how the conversation goes. What you hear between Shae's frequent bouts of laughter are the words of an ambitious 21-year-old, one who still looks at the world as if she were a child, one who sees possibilities everywhere she looks.
She won't commit to one specific goal, because, Shae says, gesturing in the air, "I have to see where this opportunity with Playboy leads me. I can't make my next decision until I see where this goes."
Still, Shae spends plenty of time exploring her options. "I play this computer game," she offers as further explanation. "It consists of a series of choices that take you on a quest. It relates to my life because I have so many decisions to make and I'm in the process of choosing different paths."
I steer her back to the confidence question. "Well," she says, laughing, "I'm real self-confident one-on-one. But if I'm in a place where I don't know people, I won't look at them and I don't talk. At parties I sit on the back porch."
We finish our conversation and I ask her to drop me off at a restaurant. Watching her eat all that food has made me hungry. We hop into her sports car and she revs the engine. We spend the next 20 minutes lost but not worried. I get the idea that for Shae Marks, the journey is more fun than the destination.
-- Spike Gillespie
Photography by Arny Freytag