The votes are in! To celebrate her victory, PMOY 2018Nina Daniele breathes new life into that ageless Playboy sprite, the Femlin
Ever since her April 2017 Playmate pictorial, Nina Daniele has been a constant source of light and life throughout the Playboy galaxy, popping up everywhere from our Hidden Arcade parties to the streets of Hollywood, where she was seen last December wheatpasting Playboy posters in her Bunny outfit. Nina’s traffic-stopping charm, infectious laugh and unmistakable grit—the latter honed over a lifetime in the Bronx—make her an exceptionally qualified Playmate of the Year. ¶ While organizing her PMOY interview, we realized two things: First, few other Playmates spent their earliest years in the Bronx. Second, and much more important, Nina is the first PMOY since the passing of Hugh Hefner, and we needed to connect her with a Playmate who knew him well and could channel a bit of his singular wisdom and warmth. It didn’t take long to think of Joyce Nizzari, a fellow Bronx native whose December 1958 Playmate pictorial kicked off a half-century personal and professional relationship with Hef. So we got Joyce and Nina together to swap Playmate stories and compare their definitions of true sexiness. As you’ll see, it’s a match made in heaven.
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“I’m good at working under pressure.” Shauna Sexton isn’t referring to posing nude in front of the photographer’s lens. The 22-year-old is a full-time veterinary technician, pulling 12-hour shifts at an emergency clinic that specializes in small-breed animals. “I started in this field when I was about 16,” she says. “After my first experience in surgery, I realized fast-paced work under pressure is for me. Whatever requires me to move quickly and freely is intriguing. I love surgery more than anything.” Saving animals’ lives is her primary passion; modeling comes in a hard second. “I don’t classify myself as a model. It’s so cliché nowadays for people to say, ‘I’m a model.’ Modeling is my plan B. If it takes off, I’ll be stoked.” Whatever she does, Shauna approaches it wholeheartedly, whether she’s working out (she gets up at five A.M. every day to hit the gym), taking her Labrador-bloodhound mix, Otis, to the beach (“even when it’s freezing”), or simply enjoying a meal. “I eat like an NFL linebacker,” she deadpans. “You can throw tacos in front of me along with a McDonald’s cheeseburger, and I will destroy it all.” For Shauna, a former Navy kid who grew up within spitting distance of Chesapeake Bay, it’s all about striking a balance and being true to her curious and independent nature: “I’m a pretty realistic human being.” She is also “very much single,” as she puts it, and while she appreciates a man who cares about his body, maintenance of the mind is equally important. “I want someone who’s able to compromise but doesn’t sell himself short,” she says. “I appreciate people who are the truest forms of themselves and brutally honest about who they are.” Just don’t ask the spontaneous Shauna where she’ll be in a few years. “As long as I continue to grow as a person, I’ll be where I need to be.
Parisian goddess Elisa Meliani graces a Sicilian hillside castello
Equal parts introspective and exuberant, Cassandra Dawn projects the power to adapt to any situation. Maybe that’s because she established her independence early. “I didn’t have an easy life growing up,” says the southern California native. “I was on my own at a really young age and working full-time at 16. Not because I had to; it was purely by choice.” Or perhaps it’s a result of her professional background: Cassandra, who owes her arresting looks to her Filipino and Bangladeshi heritage, didn’t get serious about modeling until 2014. “I used to be an art dealer,” she explains. “I feel my life has gone backward! Very early on I had a super-serious career with a lot of responsibilities. I’d look out from the gallery in Beverly Hills and miss being a kid.”