if you distilled her personality you'd find it very spirited
IN THE WINE COUNTRY of northern California, 1974 must have been a vintage year-if not for wine, then certainly for Brande. That's Brande Roderick, who left the vineyards behind three years ago and is now looking to taste the fruits of an acting career in Los Angeles. You may have already seen Brande in the background on Babylon Five (she was an alien) or in Armageddon, in commercials for Dr Pepper, Snickers or the Duke Nuke'em video game -- or more recently in featured roles on such television shows as Beverly Hills 90210, Love Boat and Two Guys and a Girl. The roles are getting bigger, and so are her goals.
Q: Before your photo session, had you ever stomped grapes?
A: No. These days, they have machines for that. But when I was younger, my friends and I used to go to a vineyard near my house and steal grapes. My mom would say, "Are you sure you got those at the store?"
Q: Any other childhood memories?
A: Every birthday I had a big party with about ten other girls. During the day we'd have a pool party with cake and ice cream, and then we'd watch two or three of the scariest movies we could find. My dad would set up a big tent in the backyard, and we'd sleep out there. Then he'd sneak out and make scary noises or shake the tent, and we'd all run into the house. It was the same thing every year, and it was so much fun.
Q: So you're a horror movie buff?
A: Oh yeah. I know it sounds cheesy, but I'd love to be in a horror film. I like all movies. It was always my dream to be an actress.
Q: What made you decide to pursue that dream?
A: I never thought it was within my grasp, so I got my real estate license by the time I turned 18. But people weren't ready to buy a house from an 18-year-old girl. So when I was about 21, I thought, I really want to act. If I don't do it now, I'll never do it. So I moved to Los Angeles. At first I didn't have a car, didn't have a job. I was sleeping on people's couches.
Q: Do you get back to northern California often?
A: I go home probably five times a year. There's always something going on, because I'm at that age where all of my friends are getting married or having baby showers.
Q: Feeling left out?
A: No, I still have plenty of time. I want to get my career off the ground first. At 25, the clock started ticking a little bit, so I thought, I'd better get a puppy. That'll be good for another five or ten years.
Q: We hear you're organizing a Playmate softball team to raise money for charity.
A: Yeah, that's really exciting. Growing up, I was a tomboy. I remember arm-wrestling all the boys in my fifth-grade class, and winning. I still love playing sports. But I have a very feminine side, too.
Q: What do you hope the PLAYBOY experience does for you?
A: It's more something I'm doing for myself, something to cherish and remember. It's like a family. Playmates have a special bond that nobody can break, and I wanted to be a part of that so much.
Q: Do you feel like part of the family now?
A: Definitely. I had my last birthday party at the Mansion, and it was like going back to my childhood. I invited about 15 girls. We laid out hot dogs and hamburgers, chips, sodas and ice cream, and played volleyball, swam and shot people with water guns. Then we watched Austin Powers on the big screen.
Photography by Stephen Wayda