gators and swampland and panthers, oh my. miss february loves her native habitat.
Suzanne Stokes is taking it all in. The Sears Tower. Bustling commuters. Drafty weather. The group of tipsy revelers downing beers at an outdoor café. It's Friday evening in Chicago, and if the 20-year-old Florida native has learned anything during her tour, it's that she's not in the Everglades anymore. Add to Suzanne's journey the overzealous valets at Michael Jordan's tony restaurant, One Sixtyblue, who throw elbows in a race to open her car door, and her green eyes widen. "This city's so fast-paced," she says, laughing. Suzanne, who was born in Naples, Florida, is certainly new to urban momentum, but she's no stranger to wildlife. Her parents own an alligator farm and an airboat and tram company that gives tours of Florida's exotic environs.
Q: You grew up around ostriches, hogs, deer, birds, panthers and alligators. Were you ever afraid of the animals?
A: No. We used to put baby alligators in the bathtub and feed them. I remember giving bottles to baby raccoons and baby panthers. They were so cute.
Q: What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?
A: I'm not sure, but I think crocodiles can jump. As I got older, I didn't really hang out on the alligator farm. I was more interested in hanging out with my friends.
Q: What's the downside to having only 250 kids in your high school?
A: Everyone knew everything about everyone else. Plus, there weren't many guys to choose from. I had a lot of nice friends, though. There was always something crazy going on: driving to Naples or Marco Island, partying on the beach and in the woods, lying naked in the sun, stuff like that. There are 10,000 islands in the Everglades, so there were lots of neat places to go.
Q: Were you a rebel?
A: Well, I was driving sooner than I should have been. I moved out of my parents' house when I was 15, and my older boyfriend and I moved in together. I grew up fast.
Q: Have you ever skinny-dipped in a swamp?
A: No, I stick to pools. The dreadful thing about swampland is the mosquitoes. You get big red welts.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to be an actor?
A: I was young. You know how your teachers ask what you want to be when you grow up? From day one, I said an actor and a model. I was always posing and putting on puppet shows in the backseat of the car.
Q: What was your first paying gig?
A: As a child, I modeled for a Naples newspaper. My coolest acting gig so far has been a stint on the TV show Mortal Kombat. I had 12 lines. I even did a kissing scene.
Q: Last year you participated in the Hawaiian Tropic competition. What did you do to distinguish yourself from the other contestants?
A: I knew I had a softer, sweeter look, so I played that up.
Q: What's the best thing about being a woman?
A: The power you have over men, the ability to seduce men. As long as you know how to use it, you can get almost anything you want.
Q: Tell us a deep, dark secret.
A: I look innocent, but when I'm having sex I'm far from that. Actually, I can be wild and crazy or I can be romantic, depending on my mood.
Q: What's the riskiest place that you've done it?
A: On the beach. A guy walked by us and made eye contact with me, but we just kept going. I thought it was funny. By the time we were finished I had sand burns on my back. It's always fun to do it in the dressing room of a store. I haven't done it in an airplane yet, but that sounds like a blast.