I don't need to explain this format to anybody who reads Playboy, because everybody who reads Playboy reads it for the articles, and the articles always include the Playboy Interview. That feature is one of the longest-standing traditions in magazine publishing. So the only logical thing to do for a column about this month's cover girl -- Akron's Angie Everhart -- is turn it into a Q-and-A.
If we follow the Playboy format, first we've gotta give you a bunch of boring biographical stuff, which they always print in italics. Most of us skip right over that part and go to the Q-and-A. Feel free to do that now, because if you know who Angie is, you already know she went to Firestone High, class of '87, where she didn't make the cheerleading squad as a senior and went to the games in a big chicken costume, and then she turned into a world-famous 5-foot-10 supermodel who did things like Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, and then she went on Leno and Letterman, and then she got engaged to Sylvester Stallone, and then she got married to George Hamilton's son, Ashley, and then she got divorced, and then she reached the pinnacle of her career when she was interviewed by Stan Piatt on WNIR (100.1-FM) and now, at the creepy old age of 30, she has quit modeling for acting and getting naked.
But right near the end of the italic part, the magazine always describes the setting for the interview. So I'll tell you that Ms. Everhart and I spent several meaningful minutes together in her palatial suite on the 14th floor of the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland, where she greeted me, half-dressed, with a big, sloppy kiss. OK, maybe it wasn't exactly that way. Maybe she was wearing a black sweater and slacks and flashed me a thin, forced smile.
ABJ: I heard you flirting with Howard Stern on the radio last week. Does this mean it's over between you and Stan Piatt?
Everhart: Oh, poor Stan. I called him today, but unfortunately, he was already off the air.
ABJ: The way I've heard the story, you begged Piatt to run away with you years ago, but he refused. He said he still had important work to do in Akron and that, as a matter of fact, he really didn't care for redheads. You were devastated. Is that accurate?
Everhart: Yeah. Exactly. Poor Stan. He's always been really sweet to me on the air. I don't know exactly the first time I was on his show. I just remember my brother telling me, "There are these people who talk about you, Angie. We should call." That was the beginning of it.
ABJ: Have you actually gone on a date with Howard Stern?
Everhart: Not yet. Hopefully, I will. He's a lotta fun. He's really smart and actually very nice.
ABJ: Tell your father to quit picking on me. Just because I ridiculed the fancy new "Taj Mahal" plazas on the Ohio Turnpike, he didn't have to write a nasty letter to the editor.
Everhart: Oooooh! You know what? I know who you are! I remember him writing that letter! (Big laugh.)
ABJ: He spent 20 years with ODOT and now he's a consultant, right?
Everhart: He's retired now and works on selected things here in Ohio. He's the smartest guy I know. And I'm not any bit biased.
ABJ: What's the biggest single project he ever worked on.
Everhart: The Ohio Turnpike! My dad had more to do with the Ohio Turnpike than any other engineer in the area!
ABJ: No wonder he's so touchy. But, hey, at least I never got naked in a national magazine.
Everhart: My parents are proud of me. They have their likes and dislikes. There's one photo in Playboy they don't like. I'm sure they could do without the shower picture. Because I am their little girl. They're Mom and Dad. And they're absolutely allowed to have their opinions, and I respect their opinions, and we talk about it. So it's OK.
ABJ: Did you know there's some sort of creature crawling around on your lower back in those pictures?
Everhart: It's not a creature. It's an angel. She has a sword. She's my guardian angel. She's got my back.
ABJ: There's another tattoo on your leg. Did you get them done at the same time?
Everhart: No. They're all different. Different periods of my life. There's a dagger on one side and shamrock on the other.
ABJ: I've got one word for you: Cher.
ABJ: She was trying to get hers removed, right? Don't you think that somewhere down the line, you might decide this wasn't such a great idea?
Everhart: No. I don't have that many. I have three tattoos, and they're in places where you don't see them -- unless I show them to you. They're part of who I am. They're not part of a design. My tattoos all mean something to me. Who knows? Maybe when I'm 80, I'll hate them and want them lasered off. But I'll probably want a lot of things lasered off when I'm 80. (Laughs.)
ABJ: One of the huge news stories in Akron last year involved (Playmate of the Year) Heather Kozar, another naked lady from Akron. They were gonna have her throw out the first pitch at an Aeros game, but their phone lines melted down and they canceled it. Does that kind of commotion surprise you?
Everhart: There's always going to be some kind of controversy over Playboy. There's always going to be somebody who doesn't like what I'm doing or what Heather Kozar is doing or what Howard Stern is doing or what Hugh Hefner is doing or what President Clinton is doing or anybody on the planet -- something you're doing.
ABJ: Like your dad.
Everhart: People make choices in their life. I didn't know about Heather!
ABJ: They got 100 phone calls from angry fans.
Everhart: I'm proud of the Playboy pictures. I'm proud to have my face on the cover. I think it's beautiful. I think the pictures are nice. I think they're tasteful. I still left something up to the imagination. If somebody would cancel a job of mine just because of pictures I had done in my career -- there's a lot worse things I could do, and it's their loss. Just because she did that, it doesn't make her a bad person at all. I think that's a problem with what America is all about. They're afraid of nudity, but yet they'll put blood and guts on television shows where people are getting killed all over the place. What's wrong with everybody? We were born naked. If she looks good, she can show it. It's her prerogative. And mine.
ABJ: Amen. But you didn't always think that way. I quote from the Akron Beacon Journal of Jan. 20, 1993, when you told Jewell Cardwell: "I will never do a nude. I promised my grandmother that I wouldn't."
Everhart: That just shows you never say never. You know, if you had asked me even a year ago, I probably would have said no. It definitely was a frame of mind for me. I called my grandmother before I did it. She's one of those people who would have called in and said, "I don't want her throwing the baseball." (Laughs.) She might have been one of those 100.
ABJ: Do you have veto power over what pictures they use?
Everhart: Definitely. I had to have control.
ABJ: If you're a superstar, you can get away with that, eh? By the way, what's the difference between a supermodel and a plain ol' regular model?
Everhart: The paycheck.
ABJ: What gets you to the point where you can make $10,000 a day?
Everhart: A lot of work. A lot of determination. Something special about you. A lot of luck. Drive. There's a lot of pretty girls out there who don't make it to the top. You have to be in the right place at the right time. I was lucky. I had something different -- I'm a redhead. I got to kind of slide in without any competition.
ABJ: OK, one last question. Is it going to be Stan Piatt or Howard Stern? Make up your mind!
Everhart: I'll go Howard. (Big laugh.)
ABJ: Stan will be crushed. Can I tell him you still love him?
Everhart: Yeah, of course. That would be like dating my brother or something, you know? That would be awful. When you've known somebody so long, it's a whole different thing.
ABJ: Well, gotta go. There's a lot more supermodels waiting for me. Ciao.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org