"First, I got an apartment with another dancer in the troupe, but it was in a real crummy neighborhood. Telly was protective of us and he'd have his driver take us home after rehearsals. One night, he said something like, 'Hey, this place you've got is a real dump. I've got a big place with several bedrooms. Why don't you girls move in with me?' At first, the other dancer and I were horrified. As for myself, I was rather prudish and still am. I wasn't a virgin, but just barely. We turned him down cold. Then, as time went by, we thought about it. One day she said to me, 'You know, this place is a dump.' We looked at each other, laughed and called Telly. But before we moved in, we made all these very strict conditions: one, no strings attached; two, we paid our own rent; three, we lived separate lives. He agreed, and we moved in. It was nice, really. He is a perfect gentleman. He even invited his mother over to have dinner and meet us while we stayed with him." That lasted about nine months, after which Connie decided to move to California. That also lasted about nine months. "I didn't like California. In some ways, it's even faster than New York. Very hard for a young girl, even with my experience, to survive there. So I went back home to Miami."
There she met promoter Ian Spero, who has since become her husband. Together, they've built Spero International into a headline-grabbing company.
"Our company is something along the lines of a professional star maker. We represent a few elite individuals and bands. We fashion an image for them, find them a market and promote them accordingly. Our company provides our clients with business management, attorneys and other services. Our last big concert promotion was Gary U.S. Bonds in Tampa. We're also promoting a great band out of Brighton, England, called Going Straight. "
That the band is from Brighton is no coincidence. Connie's husband is from England, and when he suggested that she choose a stage name from one of three British locations ("He gave me a choice: London, Sussex or Brighton"), she chose Brighton. She has since visited that town several times and has made a personal crusade of saving the Brighton Pier. "It's this beautiful, quaint old pier that's in terrible disrepair, and it's up for sale for two dollars. If someone can come up with the money to rebuild it, he'd be saving a wonderful landmark."
Maybe if Connie's prospective single, a remake of an old Sixties hit called Any Way That You Want Me, is a hit, Connie can renovate the pier herself. At any rate, she's currently knee-deep in a singing career. "I've just signed with Fat Albert Productions in Miami. They've produced more than 25 gold and platinum albums. We're working in Criteria Studios - where the Gibb brothers used to record - on a remake of Born to Be Wild, which I hope to release next." As if that weren't enough to keep her busy, Connie also acts now and then. She is currently appearing in a feature film that's on view in Germany.
With all that going on, we couldn't help wondering why (and how) she found the time to become Miss September.
"Why did I do it? Well, as I've said, I've always been a prude, and when Stan Malinowski coaxed me into taking my top off for your August 1981 pictorial The Girls of Summer, I was very nervous. However, when I saw the shot in Playboy, I was very pleased. So when I was approached for the centerfold, I thought, Why not? Playboy is not just the best men's magazine, it's the men's magazine. If I had a message for any of your readers, it would be that there's a time when everybody should step out of his or her own particular closet and say, 'I'm here. I'm real. See me!' "
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