Crista Nicole is Playboy’s Miss May 2001. In 2000 Crista left her hometown of Springfield, Ohio, with her high school sweetheart and headed west—destination unknown—to pursue a modeling career. When the two road-trippers arrived at the last-chance casino border town of Primm, Nevada, 22-year-old Crista saw a billboard for a Miss Hawaiian Tropic search that inspired her to make a U-turn back to Las Vegas.
“I called the number and did the contest,” she said. “I won and became a state finalist.” But when she qualified for the national competition, she hesitated. “My boyfriend, Jared, and I needed to find jobs. He said, ‘You have to go—that’s why we came out here.’” Crista took his advice and went on to win the nationals. She also snagged her first major modeling contract, with Hawaiian Tropic. Driving cross-country to pursue a dream was easier with Jared along. “We’ve been dating for five years and he’s my bestfriend,” she told Playboy in a 2001 interview. “We were both athletic in high school and actually hated each other at first. He was a big-time jock, kind of an asshole, and I had no interest in getting to know him. But one day we were running beside each other on the treadmills and started talking, and we saw we had something.”
Crista told Playboy she’s turned on by “extroverted, energetic, respectful, and open-minded people.” She’s turned off by “uneducated, unrealistic, judgmental, and shallow people.” In high school Crista played softball, soccer, basketball, and track, and she even gave cheerleading a try in an attempt to overcome her shyness. “I hung out with honor students and bookworms to keep out of trouble,” she said. “I surrounded myself with positive things because I really didn’t enjoy school—the book part of it, that is.”
Crista went to college at Kent State, where she studied psychology before modeling. “I’m going to finish school when my modeling career is over,” she said. “When I was in college I wasn’t happy at all. There was something missing. I didn’t want to do the typical ‘go to college, get a 40-hour-a-week job and have a family’ thing right away.”
Crista spends her free time dabbling in the arts. “I’m a very impatient person, and I think drawing, painting, or sculpting is good therapy,” she said. “I do a lot of drawing. I maybe get one out of a hundred that I like.”
Would she describe herself as a high-maintenance kind of girl? “Coming from a big family, you can’t be high maintenance at all,” she said. “I’m a perfectionist and a fairly harsh self-critic, but otherwise I’m pretty easygoing. I think a lot of people miss out on the importance of life and get wrapped up in making money. They need to learn to kick back and enjoy everything they have.”