There's a first time for everything with Dasha Astafieva, our Miss January 2009. She’s all natural, with black hair, green eyes and fine features. Hailing from Ordzhonikidze, a small mining town in central Ukraine, we found Dasha after an exhaustive search for the 55th Anniversary Playmate, a casting call spread wide over the United States and Europe. She first rose to fame as the winner of Star Factory, a Ukrainian talent show, and landed a gig as lead singer of the all-girl pop group NikitA. She was Playmate of the Year 2007 in the Ukrainian edition of Playboy, and so preternaturally talented that we had to follow her lead. And now she's our 55th Anniversary Playmate. “I cried when Hef told me,” she says, laughing. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Dasha has come a long way, and not just on the flight to Los Angeles. She lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and her family faced years of hardship as the Ukraine gained its independence. “That was a hard time,” she says. “All I wanted was to be able to help my family.” A hit record, a rumored affair with Hef and a thriving career with Playboy later, we’d say that Dasha is more than able to help. These days she’s living in Kiev, and she’s back with a new single and a lead role in the independent film Lovers in Kiev, a critical hit in the Ukraine. For all of her success, Dasha remains her humble self, and she never forgets where she came from. “For me, it’s all about the small things in life,” she says. “Although I have to admit, I wouldn't mind being cast as a Bond girl."
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