This story appears in the January/February 2018 issue of Playboy. Subscribe

A delicate tattoo of a feather decorates Kayla Garvin’s left forearm. It represents freedom, she explains, and it’s a reminder to keep life from getting too heavy or pinning her down. Judging by Kayla’s nomadic roots and the fluidity with which she moves between passions, it’s the perfect emblem for our first Playmate of 2018.

Born in Eugene, Oregon, a college town she describes as “hippie-like,” the middle child of three siblings says her family frequently re-located. “When I was seven we moved to Vegas for a year and then to Colorado,” Kayla says. “Everybody asks, ‘Are you from a military family?’ No. My mom is gypsy-like and just wants to move around.” As a result, Kayla is nothing if not adaptable. “I’m up for anything…within reason.”

That innate flexibility came in handy when she shifted the course of her career. “I always knew I wanted to be artistic in some way,” she says. “In college I majored in psychology with a minor in art; I was going to go to grad school to get a master’s in art therapy.” She never planned on modeling, but when she had the opportunity, she took it. Despite the career change, Kayla remains an artist at heart. “Lately I’ve been creating a lot of abstract art. It’s freeing because it doesn’t have to be perfect. I can just let it all out.”

Kayla’s angelic appearance is evidence that looks aren’t always deceiving. Lacking in pretense, she exudes warmth and positivity. She’s a natural people-pleaser: “the one who’s always trying to put things together, to make everyone happy and to make sure everything’s good.” But when it comes to men, she’s no shrinking violet. “You have to be in a good place yourself in order to be in a healthy relationship,” she says. “Focus on yourself first.”

Clearly, this free spirit can’t be bound by anyone or anything—even the siren call of technology. “I’ll often remind myself to put down my phone for a couple of hours,” she says. “That’s healthy. I need me time.” We could use a little Kayla time too.


KAYLA GARVIN

BIRTHPLACE: Eugene, Oregon | CURRENT CITY: Los Angeles, California

CREATE AND CAPTURE
I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I was a little kid. And photography has been a huge part of my life too. Lately I’ve been concentrating on landscape photography. Because of that, I would really like to travel to New Zealand. It looks so beautiful in pictures, and I think I could get some amazing photographs there. It’s at the top of my list.

LOVE YOURSELF
Confidence is something that can be within a person naturally, but it’s also something that can be learned. We all struggle with our self-image. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to accept who I am and to embrace my inner and outer beauty and to just go with it. You shouldn’t take what others say too seriously, and you should always be true to yourself.

HIGH SPIRITS
My preferred drink when I go out? I like tequila. Give me any drink with tequila and I’m good. Give me a few drinks, and I’ll be busting out my dance moves! But I’ll pass on karaoke.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE
I hate going to the gym. If I’m going to work out, I want to do something enjoyable like riding my bike or going on a hike. I don’t have a strict workout regimen. I just listen to my body and do everything in moderation.

TIME OUT
I think my biggest fear is not living my life to the fullest, then getting older and looking back and thinking, What did I do? I want to make sure I don’t look back with major regrets. Sometimes you get so caught up in the mundane everyday things, you forget to slow down. Life is short. You have to relax and enjoy it.

SWEET GUYS WANTED
When a guy makes you feel like you’re special and the only woman in the world who matters, it’s a big turn-on. Just be in the moment, sweet, loving and considerate.

SOCIAL SKILLS
People get way too absorbed in social media instead of enjoying what’s right in front of them. Sometimes I think they visit places just to post photos of themselves there. I’ll be in these beautiful environments and see everybody with their cell phones out, taking selfies! It’s like they’re not even experiencing it. Sure, take a picture, but more important, take in what’s in front of your face.

INSTAGRAM

To see her nude pictorial, purchase the digital January/February 2018 issue here.