miss may is a las vegas winner
As Tishara Lee Cousino strides through the Terrazza, a snazzy ristorante in Caesars Palace, heads turn as fast as oranges on a slot machine. Only she doesn't get it. "I see so many pretty girls in Las Vegas," protests the Vegas native, as if to say, What's one more? "It's just like Los Angeles -- they're everywhere." And if not in the flesh, then on the billboards that feature gigantic, nearly nude showgirls. A year ago, Tishara was a secretary with a lifetime of dance classes behind her. Then came a providential trip to Los Angeles and the Playboy photo studios, and, ever since, the leggy beauty has been modeling and pursuing studies in alternative medicine. With two canine roomies -- a sheltie, Orion, and a collie, Goldie -- she recently moved from her mother's house into her own apartment. Miss May attends several dance classes every week but says she has given up on an early dream to become a dancer in Splash, the Riviera Hotel's long-running topless dance revue, a show she first saw when she was 17.
Q: Wait a minute -- you saw a topless show at 17? What exactly was it like to grow up in Las Vegas?
A: Actually, I went to a private Lutheran school that emphasized Christian spirituality. I was a sports fanatic -- basketball, especially -- and a cheerleader, and I hung out with a huge group of girls. Some kids hung out on the Strip, but we didn't. In high school everyone would congregate at Wendy's on Friday nights. Then we would drive far into the desert and make a campfire. Someone would turn on a car radio. We'd just sit in the desert and drink. And that was fun!
Q: What do you do for fun now?
A: Dance, definitely!
Q: Are you looking for love or one of its substitutes?
A: Part of me wants to find my soul mate and fall in love. Another part just wants to -- wow! -- I want to date. I want to date different men and experience new things. I'm really torn. I guess I want that perfect story. I want to be in love. I want to be successful. I want it all.
Q: What do your friends say about you?
A: That I can be secretive. I haven't told anyone about being a Playmate -- except my mom.
Q: How did your mother react to the news?
A: She told me, "Go for it!"
Q: Do you have any rules to live by?
A: Do it now -- life is short. As far as a personal philosophy goes: No matter how old you get, you're still a child, you are still learning. I'm really into Deepak Chopra and the mind-body connection. I read a lot about herbs, nutrition and bodywork.
Q: How did you get into that?
A: A friend of mine got sick, so I started reading everything I could find about natural cures. Eventually my friend recovered, and I had found a passion. Suddenly I wanted to be a naturopathic doctor. Now I'm apprenticing with an accredited naturopath. It's a little bit like going to medical school.
Q: How did a future naturopath become a Playmate?
A: A pal invited me to L.A. We went shopping and stopped in the Guess store off Rodeo Drive. Paul Marciano introduced himself and asked if I'd ever modeled. I told him I wanted to model for Playboy. He knew the right people, and a week later I was doing a Playmate test. I cried when the limousine came to pick me up. I was touched that something so beautiful could happen to me. To this day I don't believe this is happening. Jesus loves me. The universe adores me completely. I'm 20 years old, and I'm thinking, This is a major event in a girl's life.
Photography by Arny Freytag