Heather Christensen was voted Playboy's Lingerie Model of the Year for 2001. She was also my first feature interview for Stance (and ever for that matter). If you search hard enough online, you'll find some lovely photos of her "modeling" lingerie.
Much like with my Rachel Perry feature, I had the idea to have Heather advise the Stance audience on how to score with hot chicks like herself and a few pointers for the ladies in the audience who might want to start skateboarding. However, the advice column got the axe, but I have included it here.
By Rob Brink
Stance January 2002
The cover was black, with a big silver bunny on it…
I was around seven or eight years old when I reached the minimum height to make a grab at the magazines sitting on the hallway closet shelf in my old New Jersey home. I plucked one from the piles, but before I had a chance to open it I heard my mom: “Bobby! What are you doing up there?” I quickly placed the magazine back and acted like I wasn't up to high jinks. I yearned to get my little mitts on those inaccessible periodicals. Days later, Mom told me she was going to the store. I watched her drive away and bolted up to the closet only to find the shelf an empty void—the magazines were gone. Mom had foiled my plan.
Seventeen years later, Mom wasn't thrilled when I told her I was lucky enough to have interviewed Heather Christensen, Playboy's 2001 Lingerie Model of the Year. When I showed my dad Heather's layout, he acted disinterested—like he doesn't have a penis, and never had a few years' worth of Playboy stacked in our old hallway closet.
Despite my parents' lack of enthusiasm, Heather Christensen is a dream combination—a Playboy model who rides a skateboard. Actually, I should say, a skateboarder who models for Playboy. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where she began skating four years ago. Out of pure boredom, she packed up and moved to Tampa, Florida when she was twenty. Although sick with a stomach virus on a Friday afternoon, Heather was kind enough to answer my questions.
What got you started in skateboarding?
Actually, my ex-boyfriend. His friends all skated, and I used to go with them to the skatepark in Cleveland every now and then. I thought, “Ya know, I'm pretty athletic and I am not really scared of things. I should try this—it would give me something to do in the wintertime because it's so cold.” So I went to the skatepark every day by myself. Then one day I learned to drop in on this little mini ramp at Changa World Skatepark, and I got so excited I just kept going and learning other little things.
What kind of board do you ride and what terrain do you like to skate?
An old-school board that's bigger and heavier, with risers and big wheels. I skate vert a lot—I like ramps. I don't skate street very well at all. I like skating pools. If we find a pool, we'll go and clean it out and skate it.
What was your worst slam?
Oh god, at Skatopia in Ohio I fell on this metal ramp and broke my arm in half. My watch basically held my arm together. My friends had to drive me an hour and a half to the hospital--I was screaming the whole way. I had to have surgery. I was like the Hellraiser guy--they took these giant pins and drilled them into my bone and they were all sticking out through the skin. It was like that for six weeks. Then my boyfriend dumped me. It was the worst thing ever.
Does Playboy airbrush out your scars?
Yeah, they do. They airbrushed all the scars off my arm from when I broke it. Then they do my knees, my freckles—they airbrush quite a bit. Anyone who sees me in real life knows I don't look like that.
Learn any new tricks lately?
The last trick I learned was axle stalls on mini. But I need someone to push me to step up my skating. Anthony [Furlong] doesn't skate with me--we go off and do our own separate things. He gets frustrated because I don't listen to him. I'm too stubborn.
Anthony took you to Woodward right?
Yeah, all these little kids would come up to me and freak out and be like, “You're Anthony Furlong's girlfriend? Can you steal us his underwear? We'll do anything if you can get us some stuff.”
Is there anything specific about skateboarders that's more attractive than the average guy on the street?
I think so. I hate to say it, but I tried dating other guys who weren't skaters, and they're just not the same. At least you know guys who skate can fix things because they know how to use a wrench. And they have some brains, because you have to be smart and creative to learn how to skate and think of lines and stuff. So usually they're smart and they are handy around the house [laughs].
So what were you doing before Playboy?
When I turned eighteen my family didn't have any money for college. I was determined to go to school. My friend and I were in study hall one day and we saw an article in the newspaper “Dancers—Five-Hundred Dollars Nightly.” We were like “Five hundred dollars!” So I started working in a topless strip club--it was a lot of fun. Then one day a scout from Playboy came in and found me. I didn't even want to be in there [Playboy]. I was just thinking “Money for school.” I can have a career out of it if I want to, but its like, “Do I finish school like I want to, or take advantage of these other opportunities while they last?” It's a tough decision.
You're studying to be a Veterinarian?
I feel it's what I'm supposed to do—I love animals, and I care about the planet. I want to go into reptiles—Anthony and I have a reptile house with turtles, snakes, lizards, and frogs.
Any other hobbies?
I have a ‘68 Mustang that I'm restoring. I've been working on that and putting money into it.
I can't even change my own oil. My dad does it for me.
Heather's Advice Column
What specific things do you look for in a man? What turns you off about guys?
They have to be really down to earth, really calm, and not getting all riled up about everyday life. I like someone who can handle their stress, chill out, and realize that there is more to life than getting stressed over traffic or money. Turn offs? The meatheads. I hate that. I can't stand a guy spending so much time in front of the mirror. I don't like guys that primp a lot. No primping!
Say a guy wants to talk to you. How does he get your attention?
I hate to say it but if a guy does something really stupid in public. Like funny stupid. If he makes everyone laugh or makes an ass of himself—like a clown. I think it is funny—just because they don't care what everyone thinks. That gets my attention.
Now that skating is getting bigger and more girls are getting involved (finally) do you have any advice for girl skaters?
Don't get discouraged if you don't find other girls to skate with. Eventually you will find someone and they will probably end up being one of your best friends. I finally found two girls that skated and they are my closest friends now. Just keep skating if it makes you happy. Don't get scared if the guys are whizzing by you at 100mph. Chances are they will let you skate, so just charge it.
It is good now, there are more girl companies like pads and shoes. There is more stuff that fits us. So it is better. We have more opportunities now than ever.
Lots of girls complain about how they had a rough time dating a skater. Any advice for girls who are trying to cope with a skate-addicted boyfriend?
Yeah that is because they can't handle the fact that their boyfriend skates and pays attention to their skateboard and not them. You have to at least find someone who understands. Girls should skate a little bit, at least try it. If you don't want to skate, enjoy it for what else it has to offer. Even if you don't skate, the people are good people and you make a lot of friends. Don't get frustrated over it.