Susie Scott suggested that we meet for dinner at La Caille at Quail Run, a cross between a restaurant and a country estate that lies at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, outside Salt Lake City. She had posed for some pictures here (the ones with the swans) on the grounds and felt at home. We were shown to a table next to a huge fireplace. Susie introduced us to Stephen Wayda, the Utah-based photographer who discovered her, as well as our Miss March, Alana Soares. We talked shop for a while. Susie was gracious and enthusiastic. “I can’t believe the caliber of people I’ve met at Playboy. The experience has been great. In fact, I’m thinking of doing it again. I’m going to cut my hair short, dye it black, change my name, lose my accent and try out for Playmate all over again. Think it will work?” It’s a novel idea, but we told Susie that our readers never forget a face. And we would hate to see her lose her delightful Southern accent. Susie, who was raised in Alabama, moved to Salt Lake City only three years ago, but already she has made an impression. “Months before the magazine was due to come out, the local TV stations had already called me for interviews. One TV reporter asked me what my family thought about my becoming a Playmate. I told him that at the beginning, I didn’t tell my parents. Steve and I did the shootings on my lunch hour. When I had to go away on location for a weekend, I told my parents I was going camping. Once it was official, I broke the news. They are now quite proud. And the attitude of the Utah people has been fantastic.” Initially, there was some conflict: “My parents are very religious. I come from Alabama, the second most religious state in the country. I live in Utah, which is the most religious state in the country. My parents belong to the Church of Christ, which is a fundamentalist church, akin to Southern Baptist. I am religious. All of my life, I was dictated to - dos and don'ts. But I’ve met people who do things I was told not to do - people who are nice, who are worthy of respect. It was a revelation. I’ve changed my attitude. If you feel something is wrong and do it anyway, that’s hypocritical. If you were against nudity and posed for Playboy, that would be wrong. But to someone else, it’s not a question of right or wrong. Is that clear? I don’t feel that this is inconsistent.” Susie is thoughtful, reasonable. She is one of our few Utah Playmates, and she is our first Playmate to be a computer whiz - perhaps an even greater distinction. “I started working for Libra Programming when I was 16. I do some data entry, but, for the most part, I deal with operating support contracts that help clients figure out their machines. Libra has been a great place to work. They’ve given me the time off to pursue the Playboy thing, to see what it holds. I am free to fly off for a shooting without fear of losing my job.” Susie is not your typical computer person - she made us rethink our attitude about people in the profession. “One of the guys who works for IBM brought his 13-year-old son around to meet me - his first Playmate. The son even wrote me a letter. I was flattered.” As dinner progressed, she told us more about her background. “My father is a quality-assurance manager for General Telephone & Electronics. When we lived in Alabama, he built a house on 27 acres. It was a perfect childhood. We boarded horses, had a kennel, cows, a large pond for fishing. I was raised in the backwoods. I thought I would never learn to drive. Moving to Salt Lake, to my first big city, was a big change. Utah is a physical state. There are mountains, lakes, deserts - there’s always something to do. In Alabama, you had to make your own fun.” Like what? “What do you think? No, wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right. I went fishing. I played in the woods, I became interested in men. I just love men to death, probably even more so now that I’m older and can appreciate them. I pick my friends rather carefully. I’d rather have five close friends than 50.” Nowadays, Susie makes most of her friends through sports. She is a serious runner. Her typical day: “Six a.m., wake up. A half hour of stretching exercises. Run four to five miles, then breakfast. Eight to five, work. Six to 6:30, rest. Six-thirty to ten, visit friends or read.” Her definition of free time may include a five-mile jog up Emigration Canyon or around one of the parks in downtown Salt Lake City.
Dinner at La Caille is winding down. Susie picks up the dessert menu - two dozen items that have a caloric content equal to the gross national debt. She has tasted every one and has her favorites. You look again, do a double take: There are benefits to burning 600 calories an hour, every day. All that roadwork allows true indulgence - or, rather, guilt-free satisfaction - in other areas. Health precedes hedonism. Keeping fit for the feast. Susie expresses some disappointment that when she visited Playboy Mansion West she witnessed the first Playmate Play-offs but could not participate because she was not yet officially a Playmate. “I have never been around so many women in such fine shape.” Look for her in next year’s play-offs, and place your money accordingly.