Back home in the seaside town of Portsmouth, England, Marilyn Cole used to love sailing or basking on the beach - but, incredibly enough, she felt conspicuous in a swimsuit. "I was afraid my legs were too thin," she recalls. Then, toward the end of 1970, a girlfriend persuaded her to leave her position as a co-op clerk, move to London and apply for a job as a Bunny at the Playboy Club there. She was hired on the spot - and within the week was recommended as a possible Playmate, thus settling permanently any lingering doubts she might have had about her bathing-suitability. Before going to London, Marilyn's only previous experience away from home had been a six-month stint in Marseilles as an au pair. Now she's a confirmed Londoner who still enjoys making new discoveries about her adopted home. "I love the city," she says. "It's very cosmopolitan, with so many people here from all over the world that it doesn't seem like England - or at least not like Portsmouth." Her favorite haunts are the parks, theaters, art galleries and, most especially, the shops from Biba's on Kensington High Street to the Sunday flea market on Petticoat Lane. When she started out at London's Playboy Club, Marilyn worked as Door Bunny, greeting keyholders and their guests. Club executives noted her intelligence, poise and friendly smile, and when their public relations girl, Dawn Lowis - also a former Bunny - retired, Marilyn was a natural choice to succeed her. "My first reaction was that I couldn't possibly handle the job," Marilyn admits. "But now that I'm getting the hang of it, it's turning out to be lots of fun." It's a happy choice of career for a girl who, although she liked cottontailing, hates working nights, which are of course the busiest hours at the Club. "I'm basically a day person," she says. "I just can't loll around and sleep until noon." Recently, Marilyn found one other thing she can't abide: commercialized beauty contests. "I was entered in the Miss United Kingdom competition," she says. "It was awful. You're reduced to a number. And the girls - well, you wouldn't recognize some of them without their make-up. I just can't stand phonies." Obviously, Miss Cole herself is very much the genuine article.
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