OUR KIND OF SPIRIT
miss may moves quietly at high speed
Between several sips of ice water at a chic Chicago watering hole, Lynn Thomas works intensely on herlatest artistic endeavor -- building a house of sugar packets. As a studio art major at a college near New York City, Miss May is more accustomed to working in a medium of sheet lead when she sculpts. But Lynn is a resourceful soul. "I'm going to start living after I get out of school," she says, explaining how she handles the challenge of an accelerated course load that will enable her to graduate in three years. "I'm future-oriented -- driven, in a sense." She also conveys an air of mystery. This may partly be because of her alluring features, but it also may have to do with being, by her own admission, "very shy." Put these seemingly disparate qualities together, and it seems apt that her name in Vietnamese, Linh, translates as "spirit or intuition."
Lynn's parents met in Saigon, where her father was stationed during the Vietnam war, and settled near Virginia Beach. They divorced when Lynn was five, and her mother raised her and her older sister while working as a manicurist. "I call her a nail technician," Lynn says, "because she's really an artist." (The first time she practiced her art on Lynn was for Lynn's Playmate shoot.)
Lynn speaks of her mother with reverence. "My mom has had her share of tragedies. I don't know all the details -- she speaks of her life in Vietnam in short interludes. I'd love to go there with her someday. We've gotten really close since I went away to school. She kept a tight rein on us growing up, but she's becoming more modern in her views."
Despite her rigorous academic itinerary, Lynn hasn't mapped her postgraduation plans. She might go to grad school or enlist in Americorps. "I want it to be something interesting, different. Something I can learn from. So much of life is run by fear. You should live through things rather than be afraid of them." But lest you think Lynn is all seriousness, we should mention that she loves to shoot pool, ride motorcycles and jet-ski at night. "I have a daredevil side. I lack the naturally occurring euphoria chemical in my brain. I have to seek thrills to activate it." Lynn, seek and you shall find.
Photography by Pompeo Posar, Richard Fegley