At 21, Heather Kozar, a self-described "spontaneous, silly and sophisticated" Ohio native, is ready for anything--from modeling to acting to re-belling against her strict upbringing. We met the down-to-earth angel in Chicago for a candid tête-à-tête.
Q: Is posing nude as easy as you make it look?
A: Sometimes I get a little cold. And it's nerve-racking. There's so much to think about--how to move, how to turn, what face to make. You practice in front of a mirror, but looking natural for the camera is harder. Fortunately, I worked with a great photographer who made me feel comfortable.
Q: Your mom is a born-again Christian. Will she flip when she sees these photos?
A: When I was little, my mom tried to instill strict morals and values in me-- that I should keep myself covered and that showing affection in public, even holding hands, was dirty. So, yes, she might flip, but she loves me unconditionally. It's not like I woke up one morning thinking, You know what? I'm going to disappoint my mother today. Nudity is art. It's an honor to be chosen out of thousands of women to pose for Playboy. If I hadn't done this, I'd be kicking myself ten years from now.
Q: We'd be kicking ourselves, too. So, what will you be doing in ten years?
A: Who knows? I live day to day. Every morning I wake up and thank God for giving me a bonus day. My dad died three years ago, and it taught me to appreciate life. You never know when it's going to end. As for my career, I'd like to try TV and movies, especially comedy and action.
Q: You'd make a great Baywatch babe.
A: [Laughs] Thanks. I'm willing to try everything once. I love the sun, so I think I could handle the lifeguard thing.
What is sexy? "It's a feeling you get, a certain mood," Heather says (riding in style to a New Year's party). "It's body language, voices. Some people are sexy and don't realize it. People tell me I'm sexy. Also, people have told me I'm not sexy. To them I was like, 'If you don't have anything nice to say....'"
Q: When men stare at your chest, how do you redirect their attention?
A: I'm humble. I don't strut my stuff. If someone is gawking at my chest, I try to get away from him as quickly as possible. I don't want to upset him, because he might think I'm a jerk.
Q: You dreaded high school. Why?
A: The kids were mean--I didn't feel like I had close friends. You respect what your peers have to say, so when they make fun of you it hurts. But I made it. I'm happier now than I've ever been.
Q: You showed them. Have you encountered any fair-weather friends lately?
A: Two guys who were rude to me in high school approached me recently and said, "You're so cool! We're so proud of you!" I was like, "What was I before, a schmuck?"
Q: You've been traveling a lot. Where would you like to go next?
A: Somewhere secluded, like the Caribbean, where I can walk around naked all day. That's how I lie out in the backyard.
Q: Has the mailman ever been caught peeking?
A: No! [Laughs] I live with my boyfriend and we have a security system and a big fence, so no one can see in. The mailman will just have to buy the magazine!
To get closer to Heather, you can call the Playboy Super Hotline. See page 197 for details.
Miss January rings in 1998 with a glass of bubbly (left) and her unique full-figured rendition of Auld Lang Syne (below). At right, the party girl contemplates her New Year's resolutions and catches her breath.
"Everyone should feel comfortable around me, because I try to be as laid-back as possible. I like not having a schedule, just to do whatever. When you have a schedule you have time slots. And that's no good, because I'm always late. On an ideal day, I would sleep late, relax in the sun, have some seafood and then head out for cocktails with friends. My life is good. I feel really lucky in a lot of ways."
Playmate Data Sheet
Name: Heather Kozar
Birth Date: 5-4-76
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio
Ambitions: To Continue to be happy, healthy and Successful.
Turn-Ons: Surprises, fun high-energy people and romantic evenings with my lover.
Turnoffs: Waiting in lines, unappreciative people, no sense of humor & tan lines.
I Wish I Had: a dollar everytime I'm asked "Are you related to Bernie Kosar?"
What Shakes Me Up: Cab rides in Manhattan and Commuter Flights.
My Weakness: Alaskan King Crab Legs at Shooters in Cleveland.
New Year's Resolution: To pamper myself and live each day to the fullest!