BODY AND SKöL
Our sun and fun-loving scandinavian import has become one of California’s most attractive exterior decorations
As soon as you enter June Playmate Britt Fredriksen’s snug Palo Alto digs – a rented bungalow whose broad windows and hillside placement allow a glimpse of the southern tip of San Francisco Bay – you know that you’re in the home of a special sort of California coed. Britt’s concentrating on courses in English and interior decorating in her first year at Foothill College in nearby Los Altos Hills, while acquiring on-the-job training in a Palo Alto’s decorator’s studio. As a result, English textbooks as well as out-sized art books and swatches of material are piled casually both in the sunny living room and in the comfy bedroom. A delightful naturalness characterizes Miss June’s furnishings and helps pinpoint Norway as her country of origin: Wood, leather and woven fabrics predominate to create a motif that’s more Nordic rustic than Scandinavian modern. “My home town – near Trondheim, about two thirds of the way down the coast – is bigger than a village,” bright-blonde Britt says, “but it’s isolated enough to have a country feeling. I’m sure I’d never be comfortable with anything made of plastic.” The fresh fruits and vegetables in wooden bowls and the rows of colorful jars of preserves on the window sills in the kitchen are additional reminders of Miss June’s rural memories.
But Britt’s had a fun-filled, varied introduction to New World pleasures and pursuits as well. Less than two years ago, she left her home-town high school teaching job for the trip to the States for which two summer jaunts to England prepared her. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do in America,” says Britt. “I worked first at a Nordic-style restaurant on a lake in Minnesota. That’s where I heard about Playboy. Almost before I knew it,” she continues, in a still-musically lilted accent, “I was wearing your marvelous Bunny costume at the Playboy Club in St. Louis.” A Bunny hop from the St. Louis to the San Francisco Club quickly followed. “When I heard in St. Louis that there was an opening here, I took one look at a map of your country,” Britt explains, “and decided that I’d be more at home in San Francisco, with its ocean and Bay, than I was in the Midwest – even though St. Louis was fun. Like just about everyone in Scandinavia, I’ve been in love with water sports since I was a child. Now I’ve added water-skiing and body surfing to the swimming and diving I did back home.”
Soon pert Britt had decided that her Stateside sojourn was going to be more than a mere visit and that it was time to become fluent in her adopted country’s tongue. She began taking English courses at Foothill and discovered a strong interest in interior decorating. Bunnydom’s at-least-temporary loss became academe’s gain. “I hated to give up Bunnying,” Britt says, “but the demands of school and a hobby that soon was becoming a – how do you say it? – a burning interest, simply didn’t leave enough time.” Enough time, that is, for studies and the outdoor activities that our June miss loves as much as do any of her stay-at-home Nordic sisters featured in this issue’s The Girls of Scandinavia. Beach activities through the long northern-California summer are supplemented by more than a few hours of tennis each week, as well as long exploratory drives away from urbia in a much-pampered 1957 Porsche. Winters find Britt jetting to Aspen for long skiing weekends, with at least a day given over to a cross-country trek on skis or snowshoes. “On the Aspen trips, and right here, too.” Britt says of her new Western-style life, “I’m surrounded by welcome reminders of home. Any typical Scandinavian girl – which I think I am – who’s thinking about coming to America should head straight out West. It’s the part of the country best suited to our love for the outdoor life.” Britt obviously has come to stay.