The first Alaskan Playmate, Divini Rae, Miss November 2003, took a winding path to Playboy. She grew up in a remote fishing village, went to college in Oregon, started modeling in Australia, and wound up interviewing Hugh Hefner for a magazine she founded while Down Under.
Growing up in Tanana, Alaska, the beautiful blonde lived in a log cabin—her father was a fisherman—and occasionally hitched a ride to school on a dog sled. She refers to her upbringing as “a subsistence lifestyle,” as her family hunted and fished for their food. “I grew up learning how to survive temperatures as cold as 70 below zero, and about respecting animals and people,” Rae said. “We made hats, mittens, mukluks, and more out of hides and furs, and learned many different ways to survive and thrive without the modern conveniences I now take for granted.”
It was a college vacation trip to Australia that changed her life. She spent five years in Sydney as a dual-threat model/actress. She even started a monthly magazine called SWAY (Sydney Will Amaze You), which gave her a chance to interview Hefner.
While she was back in the “Lower 48,” living in Santa Monica, California, she got a call from Playboy. After her turn as Miss November, Rae stayed active in the Playboy family. “Playboy sent me around the world to do press tours in Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Japan, Russia, Germany, England, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and they were wonderful experiences.” she said. “It was excellent training on how to conduct myself with the press and maintain energy and poise in front of thousands of people at public appearances. The life experiences and lessons were invaluable.”
More than a decade after her Playboy debut, Rae has two children and lives in Oklahoma City, where she works as a health and fitness coach as well as a motivational speaker. She has a YouTube channel where she gives advice on fitness and diet based on her life experiences.
In 2014 Rae was featured on a popular Discovery Channel show Yukon Men, which is filmed in her hometown of Tanana. She returned to her hometown to see if she could handle living in small-town Alaska once again.