We meet Gail Stanton in her hotel room. She is wearing a blue-satin bathrobe and she smells like jasmine. We ask her what folks do these days down in her home town, Memphis, Tennessee. “Same as usual,” she deadpans. “They spend all day drinkin’ RC (pronounced ah-ruh-see) Colas and eatin’ Moon Pies.” We then ask what the hell a Moon Pie is and, amused by our Yankee ignorance, she explains that it’s a chocolate-marshmallow concoction.
Astute readers will recall seeing Gail in The Girls of the New South, April 1977. As she explains, Memphis is in the Bible Belt and the local reaction to her appearance in Playboy was somewhere between indignation and outrage. “Folks who didn’t even know us called my parents, just to tell my mother what a disgrace I was. My older sister and I shared an apartment then, and we’d get these obscene phone calls. Some guys were clever. They would act like they worked for a messenger service and say they had a small package for me. ‘About six inches,’ they’d say, and we’d hang up.” But despite such complaints about her home town, Gail loves it and the South in general. “The South’s come a long way. Racial attitudes have changed, for one thing. Young Southerners have gone from accepting the ways of their parents to adopting a whole new way of thinking. In fact, I think in some ways, the South is much better than the North. The most unfriendly people I’ve met in my life were Northerners.” Gail is a computer programmer for serious and a model for fun. She takes her discovery by Playboy with a grain of grits. “I don’t like the life of modeling and I’m not planning on being a movie star. I’d much rather talk about humane treatment for animals or Mideastern relations.” Her concern for animals begins at home with her two Afghan hounds, but she’s also an avid member of The Memphis Humane Society. Her interest in the Middle East is the result of a two-month modeling job she took there last year. “Our media give such negative images of Arabs. All Americans think Arabs do is live in tents, ride camels and screw the humps. But actually, they are a very serious, very religious people.” Gail describes herself as an example of the new Southern woman, who’s “goal-oriented and outspoken.” With girls like Gail below the Mason-Dixon line, it’s no wonder the South is rising again.