Thankfully she can't, or her classmates in southern Florida might have a hard time keeping their eyes on the chalkboard. Alesha is serious about her education, just your typical overachiever on two academic scholarships who has her sights set on a doctorate in English. "I want that higher degree," she says with determination, "because someday I plan to teach college."
Alesha's ideal man can't be a slouch, either. Intelligence, ambition, sensitivity, honesty and a quick wit are all prerequisites. "I wouldn't mind if he looked like Tom Cruise," she adds, only half-joking. "I'm a romantic. My idea of a perfect evening is a quiet, one-on-one dinner with my boyfriend. I've always been in long-term relationships and have never been courageous enough to go on a blind date."
It was a long-term friendship that serendipitously led to Alesha's becoming a Playmate. She was at a casting session a few years ago when fashion photographer and Playboy scout Michael Moffitt recognized her unusual last name and discovered that she was the daughter of acquaintances he hadn't seen in ten years. Moffitt had known Alesha as a baby and had also photographed her mother when she modeled in the Seventies. At Alesha's urging and with her parents' support--"My dad has subscribed to Playboy for years and has issues older than me"--Moffitt submitted some test shots of Alesha. Once again, she made straight A's.
"When I really want something, I buckle down and strive for it with all my heart. I take everything to an extreme, and if it doesn't go the way I've planned, it's a major crisis. That's the down side of being a perfectionist."
Alesha demands a lot from herself. Every weekday morning, she works out for an hour and a half, doing aerobics and weight training. "I go to an all-women's health club because I don't want to put on makeup just to do the Stair Master." Weekends are devoted to jogging, which obviously keeps Alesha in top form.
"Americans have to get over their hang-ups with the nude human body," she says. "I wish we had a Scandinavian openness about sexuality here, or at least a European mind-set, where it's nothing to see women topless at the beach. After all, we were born naked and the human body is a beautiful thing."
Alesha, who lives with her parents and 13-year-old brother, has never had to brave life far from her family. "I'm lost when I'm away from them," she explains. She also shamelessly admits to getting homesick easily, even if she's just away modeling for a few weeks.
At the age of 15, when Alesha went to New York to audition for modeling jobs, her mother and grandmother went along. She spent much of the next summer alone, modeling in Paris, where she developed a deep love for impressionism at the Louvre. Alesha was unimpressed, however, by the French and couldn't wait to return to Florida. "The snotty stereotype is true. And when I tried to speak French, they laughed in my face because I wasn't speaking it properly."
Alesha is part French. She's also part Swedish, German, Yugoslavian, Italian and living proof that the whole can definitely be greater than the sum of its international parts. Although people are sometimes intimidated by her beauty, Alesha confesses to being self-conscious and shy, especially among peers. "In high school, cheerleading was the only thing that kept me in touch with the other students. I just wasn't happy around people my own age. Even now, I relate better to my professors than to students. I'm emotionally mature, which is why I get along so well with people older than myself, like my parents' friends."
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