There is a serious side to Candace Collins. But it doesn't get much sunlight. Even when she tries, some internal alarm goes off that triggers an involuntary twinkle in her eyes. What follows could be a bit of corn-pone buffoonery from her country roots, a refreshing splash of her free-flowing wit or a simple, expertly guided trip down the garden path. Whichever way she goes, she leaves smiles in her wake. That's the Collins style. Not surprisingly, Candace is a very successful Chicago model. With her eyes alone, she could sell oil to Saudi Arabia - if she could be convinced to go there. Chicago is her home and woe be unto him who would denigrate her chosen city. When duty has forced her to leave, for assignments in Rome, Barcelona or the Big Apple, she has always left the natives crying for more. Or simply crying.
New York was especially hospitable, but it was her constant companion, Pooky, a small, furry canine of uncertain parentage, who balked at a longer stay. "Pook was starting to wear her collar up the way they do in New York. She was getting far too much into the fashion game. I could see her personality undergoing a drastic change." A trip home and, presumably, a handful of doggie tranks were prescribed.
Barcelona, too, was a trial. "I lived on potato chips and eggs, because they were the only two things I knew how to order in Spanish. Patatas fritas, huevos . . . and Tab. Luckily, that was the same in both languages."
Candace, an only child, was born and raised in Dupo, Illinois. (We checked; it's on the map, down near the Mississippi in southern Illinois.) When Dupo got too small, Candace headed for nearby St. Louis and a stint as a Bunny in the Playboy Club. From there, it was a short hop to Chicago's Playboy Club, where she won innumerable hearts and the title 1976 Chicago Bunny of the Year. The promotions that followed that honor were Candace's intro to the modeling profession. If you're going to break hearts, you may as well do it with the meter running.
Having settled on Chicago's Near North Side, Candace quickly became a star in the city's fabled Rush Street area. Rush, with its pantheons to the disco gods and the saints of the singles, is a nonstop social whirl and the perfect environment for this most gregarious of Geminis. Nobody who's anybody doesn't know C.C. As some pump iron, she pumps people. It's a mutually inspiring symbiosis.
But while flashbulbs and neon can brighten a life, they are not in themselves enlightening. Candace is well aware of the difference and has already begun looking for the exit signs. "I was raised in an atmosphere that held family as very important, more than a career, and I think that when you get older, you return to your roots. I can see that eventually I'm going to want to be someplace where it's very quiet and peaceful, with children and somebody I love."
She also sees her career taking a turn to something more creative. "I'd like to get into this business from a different angle. When you're the model, you're limited to what the client wants. I'd rather be the one doing the directing." You see, it's all planned out; that's the serious side of Candace. Behind those devastating eyes are a quick wit and a fully functional brain. It's an awesome combination.
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