miss october crawled out of her shell in college -- and we're delighted she did.
Out on the town in Hollywood or at parties at the Playboy Mansion, Jodi Ann Paterson hears the question a lot. She'll be talking to someone, going on about the joys of camping or the importance of character or the value of a strong work ethic, and they'll look at her strangely and ask, "You're not from around here, are you?" She's not. She was born in Balikpapan, Indonesia, the second child of an Indonesian mother and an American father. Her parents later moved to Oregon, where Jodi Ann attended school, won beauty pageants (including Miss Oregon Teen USA 1994), became a spokesperson for the state's DARE program and a motivational speaker for teens and later attended the University of Oregon and Oregon State (she received a bachelor's degree in speech communications from OSU). Throw in summer jobs every year from the time she was 12, stellar grades and an extracurricular slate that would exhaust most students (at OSU it included the debate team, the school newspaper and the campus television station) and you have a young woman with a powerful drive to succeed.
Q: What brought you to Playboy?
A: I'd never been to Los Angeles, and I flew down to visit my best friend from college. She picked me up at the airport and said, "The Playboy bus is in Century City, and I want you to hop on it." She really pressured me, so I finally told her, "I'll do it if you swear you won't tell anybody in Oregon about it."
Q: But now everyone's going to know. Will they be surprised?
A: My friends from college, no. My friends from high school, yes. I don't think I crawled out of my shell until college.
Q: Had you done any modeling before?
A: I did some swimsuit stuff connected with the beauty pageants. I'd been studying to be a news reporter and I'd worked for the local CBS station, and I knew that if I were to appear in Playboy, it would mean that my career would take a different path.
Q: Why did you do it?
A: Well, it kills me to see people have opportunities and not take advantage of them. Playboy was a great opportunity.
Q: How did your parents react?
A: I didn't tell them until I started posing for the Centerfold. They supported my decision. They knew I wouldn't do something if I had a bad feeling about it. I think they were worried that I might want to get implants or something, but I would never even consider that. I wouldn't even get fake fingernails for the photos. I did streak my hair [laughs]. But everything else is natural, 100 percent me.
Q: Were your parents always protective?
A: Oh, yeah. They were completely against the beauty pageants I did. They were afraid I might start valuing appearance over brains. My father always told me, "It's easy to be attractive -- all it takes is a little work and some luck. But it takes effort to be knowledgeable, and to be a good person." I ended up winning the first pageant that I entered, which was a huge shock to everyone. That's when I fell in love with public speaking.
Q: Which you'll do plenty of as a Playmate.
A: Yes, I see it more as a public relations job than as a modeling job. I'm representing the magazine and the organization -- I'm representing Playboy itself.
Photography by Arny Freytag