"I've always felt that I have little eyes, a mouth full of teeth and ears that I call elf ears. They kind of poke out." That's her opinion. We certainly didn't notice any flaws when Julie McCullough showed up for our salute to The Girls of Texas last February. In fact, we tucked her ears under a Stetson and put her on the cover. It was the first time she'd ever seen a copy of Playboy. Although she was born in Hawaii, Julie was then, and is now, living in Texas. But as the daughter of a Marine Corps lifer, she has moved around a lot. "It bothered me when I was younger, but as I look back, I appreciate it, because it taught me how to get along with different types of people. If you make good friends, you never lose them." During most of her childhood years, Julie thought she wanted to be an artist. "I really love to draw," she says, "but I could never see myself as a starving artist. So I realized art would have to be more of a hobby than a career. And then, in high school, I started entering pageants, and I got a couple of Miss Photogenic awards. And everybody would tell me, 'You should try modeling; You should try modeling.' And all of a sudden, it's like, 'Hey!'"
Playboy's cover picture, and the less covered picture inside the magazine, caused a furor in Julie's home town of Allen, a rural community 26 miles north of Dallas. A local pastor, announcing that he planned to preach a sermon on the subject, was quoted as saying - we kid you not - "The easiest thing to do is jump on Julie." He went on to say that he saw her appearance in Playboy as part of a larger problem, that of "general moral disintegration in the fiber of the nation."
Fortunately, Julie's family took a cooler view. "I think it's the best publicity she could get," her stepdad told reporters.
So now it appears that Miss McCullough has the modeling bug. After all, a cover is the professional model's dream, and she had hit the jackpot her first time. "That's what I want," Julie admits. "I want more covers. I want covers of other magazines as well."
Although modeling is hard work, Julie has found that it has fringe benefits -- such as the trip to Venice at carnival time that she got to take as part of a Playboy pictorial shoot. You'll see the results in next month's issue.
Does Julie look forward to a high-powered career? "Success, to me, is being happy at what I do," she says. "It's important to me to be able to achieve something on my own. I don't necessarily have to be rich. All through high school, I worked as a grocery-store checker. I liked knowing that whatever money I had, I earned. I don't like people giving me things."
It's hard to imagine how Julie could avoid being given things. Long, hard stares, for instance. Or a yellow Lamborghini. But she's cautious in her affairs and definite about her standards.
"I want an open and honest relationship with a partner who wants just as much out of life as I do. If he doesn't, we'll have nothing in common. I don't want a partner who has no enthusiasm for his career or anything else."
Such alliances are usually made with serious futures in mind, but balloon mortgages and the prospect of years of paying for orthodontia don't scare Julie one bit.
"Yeah. I want kids," she says wistfully. "I've always been family oriented. I want to be the grandmother whose house everybody will come to for Christmas. That's the way my grandma's house is now, and I want to be just like her." If Grandma's like you, Julie, introduce us.