Monique Noel remembers being three (she remembers even further back - a couple hundred years further, in fact - but more on that later). She recalls being a toddler who resented the gray skies over her native Orgeon. Miss May, even then, was a sun worshiper. "Oregon is beautiful," she says, "but it's wet and gray. I had to get out of the rain." The year she turned 18, she folded her umbrella and fled south. It seldom rains in her Souther California stomping grounds. She plays on Venice Beach and works in Hollywood. A New Ager who believes in reincarnation and recalls a past life or two, Miss May was not about to spend this one looking for silver linings in storm clouds. "When the time came to move, I didn't just move, I ran!" she says. "Life is too short to wait for what you want." She plans to devote this life, or at least the next decade, to her budding career as an actress. A chance meeting with a casting director led to her first screen bit, as a member of a beauty bevy in the upcoming Patrick Swayze vehicle Road House. Next up is a Carl Reiner comedy, Bert Rigby, You're a Fool - her first speaking role. "I was so nervous driving to the audition, I was trying to remember the title. Stanley Clark, You're an Idiot? No! The part called for a girl in a swimsuit - I think the swimsuit took precedence over acting credentials. Anyway, I got the part. I play Corbin Bernsen's date, and my one line is counting his sit-ups." Asked if Bernsen is a sit-up machine, Monique lights up. "We started at ninety-seven," she says, laughing, "but he's still a hunk." Has rubbing elbows with Swayze and Bernsen spoiled her for other leading men? "I've got a long list of hunks I want to work with," she sighs. Miss May may not yet be a star, but she is no hurry. Except at Venice Beach, where on off days she zips up and down the boardwalk on roller skates - a Mozart tape in her Walkman and a grin on her face.
"Even when I knew the Playboy people were considering me, I never believed they would want me," Monique says. "Never in a million years. So I wasn't quite prepared for this. You don't pose nude every day. But once I decided to just be me, it was easy." She got over her initial shyness by "letting the fun come out." To Monique, passion and fun are intimately linked. She feels sexiest, she says, when a playful bout of laughter becomes a wrestling match. "You can't plan passion. It has to be spontaneous. Dancing can do it for me. I'm a wild, crazy, loose dancer. The physicality of dancing - sometimes that will set me off. Or I"ll be at home with my boyfriend, just having a good time, laughing and laughing, and the fun spills over. It's like a bomb inside me. It sets my body glowing; I get an all-over sense of passion. When that happens, I need an outlet. I like romantic candlelight and fireplaces, too, but there's not always time." Like many of history's blonde bombshells - Monique has twice portrayed Marilyn Monroe in commercials - Miss May is a bit more impetuous than most folks. Perhaps her spontaneity comes from something in her past. Perhaps in a previous life, she was Lady Godiva - who, reborn in the Summer of Love, would likely have reached the Eighties on roller skates rather than on horseback. The evidence is more than pictorial: asked if she has a favorite sexy outfit, Monique nods. "Nothing."