“It’s been like a Cinderella story,” says Allie Leggett. Indeed, her trajectory is the stuff of childhood fairy tales—and Playmate tradition. Born and raised in a small town in the middle of the Bible belt, Allie soon found herself scraping by as a student at Western Kentucky University. At 19, she competed for the title of Miss Kentucky in the hope of earning some scholarship money. We defy any of you to feign surprise when we tell you that she won.
Allie, though, was surprised: “I wasn’t your stereotypical pageant girl.” Perhaps it was her cosmopolitan leanings that distinguished her. In no time, she was scouted by a modeling agency. “I moved out to L.A. two months later, and I’ve been here ever since.”
The move seems natural now, but at the time it was far from a given. “Nobody really leaves a small town,” she says. “All my high school friends have babies and are married. That’s what you do in a small town. I kind of broke the mold. I always had the mind-set that I wanted to leave. Luckily, I had an out, so I took it and ran with it.”
Maybe it’s not surprising that, Southern roots aside, Allie exudes the California-girl persona. Sun-streaked blonde hair? Check. Easygoing attitude? Check. Intense love of the ocean? Double check. A tattoo of a wave graces the wrist of her right hand—a clean, sharply curving line symbolizing her bond with the sea. “I’m definitely a beach girl,” she says.
The youngest of five kids, Allie never thought she would be a model, but she thrives on the spontaneity of a job that requires travel at a moment’s notice. “The best thing about modeling is you never know what’s going to happen next. I just woke up one day and had a message: ‘Hey, do you want to go to Iceland to do this shoot?’ Absolutely incredible, and I never would have had the opportunity if I hadn’t stuck with it and thrown myself out there. Sometimes the best plans are no plans.”
As to what makes Allie feel sexy, her adoptive home once again looms large. “I feel sexy when I’m tan, strong and active—when it’s warm and sunny outside and I can jump in the ocean. There’s something about salt water on your skin and salty hair.” Spoken like a true California girl.
I have definitely worked on my Kentucky accent, which isn’t always grammatically correct. After I moved out of Kentucky, I still felt like a little country bumpkin and that people didn’t take me seriously. They’d hear a Southern accent and automatically look down on me. Then again, some people live up to that stereotype.
THE BEST MEDICINE
There’s a lot of power in making a girl laugh. There’s a saying: If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything. I don’t know about anything…but I stand by that.
THRILL OF THE HUNT
I’m a huge vintage shopper. If, one day, I could have a shop with all the little things I’ve collected along the way, I’d be happy. I’m not a mainstream-designer type of girl; I’m not a big material girl. I like to find something and know that Iactually dug for it.
YOU BETTER WORK
If you work on yourself, success will come to you. All you can do is focus on self-growth and figure out as much as you can on your own. Good jobs and other good things will follow.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT
I will splurge on things like food, fun and travel. I love going out to dinner, and to events and festivals. It’s all about the experience—trying new things and exploring different flavors. I used to bereally picky with food; now I’ll try just about anything.
You have to put yourself out there. Take a chance. Go out to a bar, even if you go by yourself. Take the risk. It’s usually worth it, and even if it’s not, you can still be proud of yourself for doing it. Sometimes you have to go to the party alone.
EASY COME, EASY GO
The funny thing about this world is that people come in and out of your life. I’ve learned to see the positives in that and not look at it as a bad thing. You learn something from everybody. Even about ex-boyfriends I hate, I think, Well, he taught me to love somebody better. You know what I mean?
MY KIND OF MAN
I’m more of an introvert. I like being with someone who has the kind of confidence that can’t be mistaken for entitlement. I like a smart guy who’s handsome, obviously, and tall. That’s not to say short guys don’t have a chance. They definitely do.