Our April Playmate is a walking contradiction. At 20 years old, Nereyda Bird says she’s very outgoing—but going out has never been her thing. She calls herself crazy but possesses a deep serenity beneath her effervescent exterior. And while she describes herself as goofy, the one adjective she’s reluctant to use might come as a surprise: “I never really felt connected to the word sexy. I think it’s a bit vulgar. I get that Nereyda is supposed to be some ‘sexy model,’ but it’s not about me feeling sexy; it’s just me feeling comfortable.”
Born in New York, Nereyda grew up in Philadelphia and currently resides in Miami. She has wasted no time in pursuing her professional aspirations: She began modeling at the age of 17, and she already co-owns a café with her mother—a casual spot in north Miami called Grab & Go. “It’s a cute little joint,” she says. “We serve authentic Dominican food. Most people say, ‘Don’t do business with family members because you’ll be too soft,’ but my mom and I are hardcore with each other.”
A yoga enthusiast, avid foodie and self-proclaimed tomboy, Nereyda is never idle. During her rare stretches of free time, you’re likely to find her cruising arts festivals or honing her baking skills. And rest assured, there’s nothing contradictory about her ambition: At the moment, she’s willing to put romance on the back burner as she discovers herself. “I’m single and I’m not ready to mingle,” she says. “I’m happy living. I feel very blessed right now.”
When it comes to relationships, either we’re in it together or it’s nothing. You really need a connection. When you realize that, dating is a whole lot easier.
I love a man who takes care of himself, who cares about his future. I want to know the kind of person he wants to be. I want him to be himself and to be ambitious, healthy and on my level—someone entertaining who makes me laugh.
My other passion, besides modeling, is drawing. If I weren’t modeling, I’d be making comic books. I grew up wanting to be Tank Girl.
I have two cats. One is all black; his name is Space. The other one I call Tuxedo. They’re my two sons. I got them off Craigslist. I also have a pit bull I rescued from a shelter and named Chipotle. That was my favorite food at the time!
Am I allowed to complain about the whole nudity taboo? I understand we’re in a weird society that can’t accept certain things, but there’s nothing wrong with the female body. We as women need to embrace ourselves. We can’t be scared of being naked. There’s nothing wrong with it.
MY PERFECT NIGHT
There’s this place that I love in the city of La Romana in the Dominican Republic—a cute little restaurant that’s a shack on the beach. They sell grilled fish with a little pastry called yaniqueque, which everyone should try. It’s just fried dough, but it’s so good. Hanging out there is a ball.
I like it when people tell me they like how I think. I don’t mind being told I’m attractive, but it’s beautiful when someone likes me for who I am.
People see me on Instagram and assume I’m wild, but I never go out. It’s not my thing. I’m open, but I don’t really put my life out there. I’m a bit of a private person.
Michelle Obama said our first job is to get to know ourselves, especially when we are in our 20s. She’s right. Life is a big mess! Well, not really a mess; it’s just that there’s so much to learn about yourself.