This story appears in the July/August 2017 issue of Playboy. Subscribe

Beauty at once formidable and approachable: Few women are in possession of such incongruous appeal, and Dana Taylor is most definitely one of them. An all-American beauty with a wide smile, she harks back to the heyday of supermodels—those leggy bombshells who exuded sensuality and strength all at once. Distracting physicality aside, the Chicago native is as warm and good-natured as her grin suggests. She’s also a woman who doesn’t mess with hesitation. “I moved to New York right away. I graduated from high school early, and the next day I jumped on an airplane,” she says. “I think it was the day I turned 18. I’d scouted it, and mentally I was like, ‘I’m going there. Nobody is stopping me.’ ”

Maybe her resolve stems from an athletic childhood. Dana, who loves wakeboarding and basketball, was a competitive ice skater for 11 years. “My mom got me a pair of skates at a garage sale, and I jumped on the ice and just did it. It’s been a part of my life for my whole life.”

The former runway model moves quickly, so it goes without saying she requires a high-octane man. “I’m a doer,” she says. “I’m a wild girl, a free spirit. I’m outgoing, so when I meet a guy, he has to be able to keep up with me. If we can connect and he can go along with me, that’s great.”

She’ll also go after you, if you’re what she wants. “I used to think Whole Foods was the best place to scout guys,” she admits, laughing. “My roommate and I would stand in the chip aisle and ask guys, ‘What’s the difference between blue corn chips and regular chips?’ to strike up a conversation.” From aisle to isle, Dana gives the impression that she’s going to do what she wants, despite what anyone else thinks. “When I have a plan in place, I never back down.”

Click to see outtakes from Dana’s Playmate pictorial.


DANA TAYLOR

AGE: 24 | BIRTHPLACE: Chicago, Illinois | CURRENT CITY: New York, New York

TAKE A SWIPE
Dating apps all seem to be based on looks alone—you swipe right or left depending on whether you like someone’s appearance. But you’d better have good lines in your Tinder profile if I’m going to swipe right. You have to catch my attention with something.

FATHER FIGURE
When I found out I was shooting for playboy, I was home in Chicago, visiting my family. I ran downstairs and told my dad first. You’d think that would be weird, but he’s a photographer, so we were both like, “Hell, yeah!” He always joked that he would support me even if I posed for playboy on the top of the Empire State Building.

LIKE A SURGEON
I was actually interested in becoming a plastic surgeon. I wanted to make people feel good about themselves. I’m happy I didn’t pursue that, because it’s a hell of a lot of school. But blood doesn’t bother me; it fascinates me. The human body presents so many unanswerable questions!

BODY LANGUAGE
Your body is your body. I’m Lithuanian American, and in my family you would never be ashamed of your body. It has never really been an issue. Like, what is nudity? Is there much difference between a man’s body and a woman’s body? No. Embrace it as you want.

FACT-CHECKER
I love to look up random facts and then quote them out of the blue to my friends. They’ll be like, “How did you know that?” I love knowing weird little details, like the fact that a flamingo can swallow only if its head is upside down. Or that a cloud can weigh more than a million pounds.

WHERE TO NEXT?
Thailand is definitely on my radar. I also want to go to an exotic petting zoo and hold a monkey—that’s at the top of my list. I need to have a monkey in my life. I also want to swing through the forest on a zip line. But I’m down for anything. I just want to see where life takes me.

WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A GUY
Looks aren’t that important. I have a track record of dating nerdy guys; being a little nerdy is hot, even if you look like a nerd. I don’t mind glasses—I don’t mind any of that. Personality is number one. If you don’t know what you’re talking about and can’t hold a conversation, there’s no way I’ll be into you.

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To see her nude pictorial, purchase the magazine here.