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miss december is spain's hottest export since salsa
A wicked squall bursts across South Beach, Miami's mecca for models, and it's headed straight for Samantha Torres. "Doesn't that figure," says Miss December, eyeing the approaching storm. "I wear sheer white, and it pours." The rain is now seconds away from drenching her teeny halter top and microskirt and rendering them all but transparent. Shrugging off a suggestion that she take cover, Samantha presses on, as fast as her three-inch platform shoes will allow. As if startled by the audacity of this 22-year-old blonde, the storm suddenly turns to a drizzle. Still dry, Samantha continues her march up Ocean Drive, finally settling in for cappuccino at trendy Caffe Milano. "You have to seize the moment," she says, laughing at her luck with the weather.
That philosophy drives almost everything Samantha does. Take the way she fell into modeling. Two years ago, as a goof, some friends entered her in a beauty contest on Ibiza, the Spanish island where Samantha grew up. She won that pageant and went on to be crowned Miss Spain and then become one of Europe's hottest models. "I do well as a model," she concedes, "but I think of it only as a stepping-stone to acting, which is my true love. I don't have a master plan, but I know what I want to do: become a sexy, sensual actress like Kim Basinger in 9 ½ Weeks."
Samantha has never been shy about getting what she wants. Some of her first words as a child were a command to the family cook: "Harold, beans on toast." It's still a favorite meal. As a toddler, she once commandeered a lift in a hotel and wouldn't give up the controls until the staff gave her chocolates. Samantha speaks English like a native Brit, having spent three years at a boarding school in London. The accent vanishes when she speaks Spanish or Ibicenco, the dialect of Ibiza.
Now that she keeps an apartment in Miami, Samantha rarely gets back home, but it's definitely where her heart is. "It's magical. I water-ski, swim, scuba dive, play squash, ride my horse to the beach. I never sit still. And Spanish men are so special because they're strong and never boring."
Samantha admits some men are put off by her independence and stubborn streak, but she's not about to change. "I'm happy with who I am, how I look and what I'm doing. This is me, like it or lump it."
-- Tom Wotherspoon
Photography by Stephen Wayda, Arny Freytag