this scandinavian beauty made sure her cinderella story came true
"The world thinks everyone in Sweden is tall and blonde," says Victoria Silvstedt, who is grandly both. At six feet plus in high heels, Miss Sweden 1993 is blondeness perfected, the tallest and fairest of all. Growing up in the village of Bollnas near the Arctic Circle, Victoria had two goals: "I wanted to live in Paris and to be in the American Playboy," she says. Miss December accomplished both goals this year. At 22, she has an apartment near the Arc de Triomphe. "I adore Paris. Frenchmen love to date models, so a girl can always have dinner for free. Of course, some guys think that means they can take you to bed," she says. "But it's not always so." Victoria models all over Europe and occasionally in Asia, where she is seen as the ultimate blonde, the one to call when your product's sales need a boost. Impulse buyers love her. But Victoria says, "I was doing well but wasn't where I wanted to be" -- meaning she wasn't well known in her favorite country. "The whole world watches America. Even if we have to wait a year, we see all the American movies and wear all the American clothes. Even before I got to Paris I knew I wanted to make it in America." This month the village girl whose teen rivals derided her ambitions officially becomes victorious.
"I want to make my boyfriend proud and my enemies jealous," Victoria says. What better reasons to be a Playmate? Her Parisian boyfriend knew nothing of her plans. "I just told him I had a job to do," she says. "Then he called the number I left him. They answered, 'Hello, Playboy Mansion,' and he said, 'Aha!' He was mad. But I think he'll like the pictures." As a world traveler, she gets weary of being away from her mate. "Too much telephone sex. I'm always seeing cute guys when I'm on my own -- it's frustrating! But who knows what might happen? I'm not married yet, am I?" she asks, smiling. Life wasn't always so full of good opportunities. In tiny Bollnäs, "most girls get jobs or go away to the university. A few go to Stockholm, but most stay in the village." Victoria entered the Miss Sweden pageant, which she won. Next came modeling jobs worldwide, and one day this blonde tower of Scandinavian design appeared at our Los Angeles offices. She said that she was ready to be a Playmate. We considered it for about one second before saying Ja.
-- Ralph Marino
Photography by Arny Freytag