brush up on your smile and say hello to a dental hygienist turned starlet
I have had two careers already. I can't wait to see what comes next," says Nikki Schieler. Whatever her future holds, it's bound to be as golden as Miss September herself, a former dental assistant who has plenty to smile about.
A sizzling modeling career brought acting offers, which led the Norwalk, California native to Hollywood's doorstep. (Maybe you saw her on Beverly Hills 90210 or The Young and the Restless.) And on the Fourth of July, actor Ian Ziering of 90210 fame carried Nikki over the threshold. "It was love at first sight," she says. "We keep each other laughing, and I think that's the sexiest thing of all."
Five years ago, Nikki had a life-changing chat with a psychic, who read tea leaves to tell her future. Miss September was then an assistant dental hygienist in suburban Brea, California, about 30 miles outside Los Angeles. "I didn't mind working with teeth. In fact, I liked my job," she says. "But I couldn't help thinking there was something more for me." The fortune-teller agreed. "She told me, 'I see you on magazine covers. I see you on TV.'" Spurred by this vision and by countless friends who said she was prettier than any fashion model, Nikki embarked on career number two. Soon she was a premiere swimsuit model.
The down-in-the-mouth girl from Brea made string bikini fans come unstrung in calendars and catalogs shot on location in Hawaii and Tahiti. "I never met a swimsuit I didn't like," she says. Indeed, Nikki is to beaches what Tiger Woods is to the links. Everyone comments on her blonde, high-cheekboned perfection, a result of her Norwegian and Native American heritage. "I'm a Norwindian," she says. And now a Ziering, too. She and Ian cocoon in their Los Angeles retreat. Nikki says she wants to have kids and do some serious acting, "not necessarily in that order."
The last time Nikki ate Chinese food, her fortune cookie read, "Your dream of happiness will soon come true." She and Ian taped that slip of paper to a photo of Nikki in their home in the hills not far from the HOLLYWOOD sign. She spent her last prenuptial days auditioning for film roles, shooting magazine covers and overcoming her fear of posing nude for Playboy. "The secret is to striptease," she says. "I had never posed nude, but hasn't every woman tried a striptease for her man? I had a pretty good idea of how to do that." In a flash she was posing sans suit. Nikki says she enjoyed it so much she wouldn't mind doing it again. "Whatever comes next, it's going to be an adventure. I'm ready."
Photography by Arny Freytag