Say hello – or hej, or hujambo – to global citizen Ida Ljungqvist, our Miss March 2008 and Playmate of the Year 2009. She’s half Tanzanian and half Swedish, with brown hair and eyes, full lips and a full figure. She was discovered in a boutique on Rodeo Drive by another Playmate of the Year, Sara Jean Underwood. “She used to shop in my store,” says Ida. “She thought I was Playmate material.” Sara came in unannounced with the Girls Next Door, and on camera, they offered her the chance to pose for Playboy. “I never thought I would be a model, let alone a Playmate,” she says, “but it’s a great opportunity, and a platform to raise awareness of world issues.” She’s our 50th Anniversary Playmate of the Year, and most notably, the first to devote her title to charity.
Ida was born in Tanzania, and thanks to her father’s job with UNICEF, she’s lived all over the world – Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia and South Africa, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines, England, France, Sweden and Denmark, and now in Los Angeles, California. “My first language is English, but I speak Swedish and Swahili,” says Ida. She has a degree in fashion design and marketing, and would like to return to school for more advanced courses in economics. “For now, I’m going to focus on my career as a model,” she says, “but eventually, I think I’d like to be a fashion designer in New York City. I’d like to work behind the scenes in the fashion industry.” With a head for business and a body for pleasure, there’s one thing for sure – Ida makes a difference in the world.
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