Jennifer Allan smiles as she unfastens her green-eyed gaze from the menu at one of Chicago's better ristorantes, apparently unaware that the gazes of nearby diners are fastened on her. "What do you think?" she asks. "The ravioli or the fusilli?" Temptation is strong to tell her she would look fabulous eating anything.
However, Miss September has made it clear she is in need of some serious refueling after a full day of shooting. She has also made passing mention of an aversion to come-ons, of which she's had more than her share. No doubt this has a lot to do with her friendly manner and alluring Irish-Swedish features. But according to Jennifer, it's also an occupational hazard of working as a cigarette girl in one of the casinos for which her hometown is famous. Jennifer appreciates a compliment as much as the next girl, but she is suspicious when they come from guys who have lost their luck at the tables and are trying to find it with the ladies. Well, so much for the glamour of Las Vegas.
When an opportunity came up to model swimwear, Jennifer, who loves to water-ski, dove right in. "I wasn't thinking of modeling as a career. I just saw it as an alternative to working a regular job." Since then she's made a splash in catalogs and has appeared in a country-music video and local TV commercials. (Our more attentive readers may recognize her from a few of Playboy's newsstand specials). She was nervous at first about the idea of posing for Playboy, but she received encouragement from friends. "Most people don't realize how much work is involved in being a Playmate. But once I start something, it's important to see it through. This is a great opportunity and I'm excited to find where it will lead. Too many people give up and give in. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut."
Jennifer won't have that problem. In the unlikelihood that her modeling career does not keep soaring, she has a fallback position. "My goal has always been to be a schoolteacher. I love small children and I'd like to teach second grade." Why second grade? It's a long story involving a teacher named Mrs. Brady, who inspired Jennifer. The short version: "I was her favorite kid."
Jennifer's long-term plans include having kids of her own. But that will wait until she's sure she's ready. "At different times in your life, certain things are more of a priority," she says. Right now, she's working hard to become a successful model. If she sounds serious about it, that's because she is. But over dinner she is charmingly forthcoming both about her idiosyncrasies and her enthusiasms.
Like her passion for open water and her recurrent dream of being attacked by a shark. ("I absolutely will not go into the ocean, but a lake -- in a second.") Or her daily ritual of plucking her eyebrows the moment she wakes up. ("I never leave home without my tweezers.") Or her skill at making chicken enchiladas. Or that her friends think she's mysterious, that she chooses her words carefully, that they say they never really know what she's thinking. Or that she adores cats -- to the point you suspect she just might have been one in a previous life.
Oh, one other refreshing quality comes to mind: She accepts advice. She ordered the ravioli.