When it comes to having a ball, 19-year-old Tish Howard -- who recently debuted at coming-out galas on two continents -- is undoubtedly our most accomplished Playmate to date. The debutante daughter of well-to-do West Coast parents ("Dad is a top scriptwriter, Mom is a successful painter, and I'm just a great spender") who make their home in both Palm Springs and Los Angeles' swank Holmby Hills section, Tish made her official high-society bow late last year amidst a bevy of other blue-blooded Angeleno belles, then traveled to France in December as one of this country's comelier invitees to Versailles' 1965 International Debutante Ball. Currently eschewing a life of leisure in favor of devoting her summer to trying on a fashion-designing career for size, Tish is a better-than-average art major at a small Southern California college. "If I can keep my grades up for another couple of years," she says, "there's a strong chance of my being accepted as an apprentice designer by one of the top French or Italian couturiers after graduation. Hitting the books has meant having to pass up a pair of invitations to deb balls this summer in Vienna and Monaco; but if I'm going to be serious about getting anywhere in a field as competitive as contemporary feminine fashions, my studies had better come first."
When she's not in hot pursuit of high fashion and higher marks, our haut monde July miss spends many an off-hour on the tennis courts near her parents' place in Palm Springs or atop a pair of water skis at Lake Arrowhead. "It's not that I have to travel so far from Los Angeles just for little weekend relaxation," she explains, "but ever since my folks gave me a new XK-E last year, I've used any excuse to get it out on the highway and open her up." On days when the lady's not burning up the road, however, there's always her collection of rare coins or unread historical novels ("Robert Graves and Rebecca West take up most of my extracurricular reading time") to keep this well-bred beauty busy. "I'm not much for TV," Tish told us, "and except for an occasional lateshow rerun of a Richard Burton or Burt Lancaster movie, you'll never find me sitting in front of the family tube. Actually, it's a simple case of being a much better participant than a spectator." Born on Independence Day, our red-white-and-blue-blooded July Playmate lets Playboy readers join in her birthday celebration with a centerfold display of her gifts.
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