Miss August 2011 Iryna Ivanova has one of the most interesting backgrounds of any Playmate. She was born in Voronezh, Russia, and grew up in Feodosia, Ukraine, a small port town on the Black Sea. Her entire family moved to Tucson, Arizona, when she was 16.
Despite spending nearly her entire childhood in Ukraine, Iryna transitioned to American life well. She attended the University of Arizona and earned her MBA from its business school. During college she spent a semester abroad in Athens and Cyclades. She wants to work either in marketing or sports management.
Iryna’s first experience modeling was through mixed martial arts. She accompanied a friend to a tryout for the World Fighting Federation MMA to provide support. She was asked to audition as well and became one of the organization’s cage girls. During the fights, fans often take off their shirts and throw them at Iryna. Although she finds it weird (and occasionally sweaty), she generally takes it as a compliment.
Despite having little professional experience, Iryna contacted an aspiring photographer to take pictures she could send to Playboy. She always wanted to model for the magazine and decided to take a shot. Her all-natural look and DD bust were a perfect fit. She says she takes more pride in being a Playmate than her academic achievements. “There are many great schools you can attend, but there’s only one Playboy.”
In addition to being a Playmate and a ring girl, Iryna also works as a translator. Her first language is Russian, but she is fluent in both Ukrainian and English. Since she studied British English growing up, she sometimes misunderstands American slang. She said, “Sometimes I will just tell guys, ‘You have to say that in English I can understand.’ Like, ‘You dig it?’ I dig what? What does that mean?”
Since appearing in the magazine, Iryna has traveled around the world participating in photo shoots for various publications. In addition to the American edition of Playboy, she has also been featured in the French, Romanian, and Venezuela editions of the magazine. Iryna is also a supporter of animal rights causes, particularly PETA, and owns two dogs.