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Stephanie Starts Over
miss october has a sweet tooth for change
CINCINNATI NATIVE Stephanie Heinrich has slipped into her new life at Los Angeles' Playboy Mansion like she would slip into a comfy pair of pajamas. "It's like a college dorm," she explains. "I'm friends with all the girls, but there's' always one who you kick it with the most. My new golden retriever, Beamer, lives with me at the Mansion and I love going swimming with him, but he's afraid of the monkeys and chases the big African cranes." The 21-year-old aspiring actor was a teacher's aide in high school and studied criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati before taking time off to fulfill her teenage fantasy of posing for Playboy, first in October 2000's Girls of Conference USA and then as Playboy.com's first Cyber Girl of the Month. "If I go back to finish school someday, I'd like to work my way up to being a homicide detective," she says. "I also think drugs are a big problem today, especially with younger kids. I've always wanted to see if I could fix that somehow. I would just like to help get one drug dealer off the street."
Stephanie recently went on Hef's excellent European vacation, and says it was love at first sight. "I don't know how to explain him -- he's so not the average guy," she says. "He is constantly working on the magazine or his scrapbook - always going, going, going. It's unbelievable." Although Stephanie enjoys traveling at Hef speed, anyone who meets Miss October finds her remarkably grounded. "I never forget where I came from," she says. "After I moved to Los Angeles, a lot of people back home said, 'I'm surprised -- you haven't changed at all.' Sometimes it's hard to find someone who cares enough to listen to your problems, but that's how I am. You might have to go back someday, so why change into something you're not? I'm totally down-to-earth."
Photography by Stephen Wayda