miss january, melissa holliday, is a playmate worth celebrating
If Melissa Holliday's personal drive were manifested in physical form, it would be a 90-car freight train roaring down the Continental Divide. She doesn't just dream about a career in showbiz; she's willing it into existence. As a kid, she pursued her goal in the best Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney, let's-put-on-a-show tradition, competing in every beauty contest she could find, playing stage roles in everything from "Annie" to something called "Capricious Pearls" and doing commercials for radio. When she got older, she signed on for entertainment duty at conventions and car shows, in which capacity she even performed before Lee Iacocca. Since then the pace has, if anything, increased. We had a heck of a time pinning down Miss January for an interview, what with backcountry photo sessions for Playboy sandwiched between trips to Los Angeles to audition for a role in a gangster movie and to cut a demo tape of country songs. From there it was on to New York to present the tape to music executives who may sign her to her first record contract. If you saw vapor trails in the skies over the Midwest this past fall, it was probably Melissa. Stealing a reprieve at her parents' modest ranch home in suburban Denver, she savors a rare relaxed moment and a cup of coffee. "It's been so hectic lately that sometimes I long for peace and quiet," she laments. "But I've wanted to be an entertainer for as long as I can remember. I started singing when I was old enough to talk." When she's not singing, she's coming up with new songs. "I get up in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, and songs are just running through my head. My music is my career, my fun, my escape." Her secondary escape is to the Rocky Mountains, which loom behind her house. "I like to be out in nature and I love animals. They don't lie to you. They don't argue with you." Melissa pointedly avoids making that claim about herself. "I'm hardheaded," she admits. Just call it a defense mechanism against the slings and arrows of the outrageous music industry, which has already promised her more than it has delivered. "I was brought up to defend myself and to stand up for what I believe. If I see something I don't think is right, I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut." Her dreams for when she hits it big include a ranch in Arizona or Aspen where she can have a corral full of horses and a family, too. She knows that her ideal rancher is out there, and she knows how she'll find him: it will be by the music, of course. "Music has a lot of magic to it. You can fall in love with someone just by listening to a song. Love is strange that way."
-- Steve Wilmsen
Photography by Richard Fegley