It was a treat to have Nicole Narain, Playboy’s Miss January 2002, hang out at Playboy’s Chicago office for a month. The night we took her to Le Colonial on Rush Street, men mobbed her at the bar, commenting on everything from her striking looks to her tattoos. She handled them deftly. Nicole is a woman who can take care of herself—and others. Before we even opened our menus, she told Playboy staffers what we should have and ordered everything.
Originally from Aurora, Illinois, Nicole is the first member of her immediate family to be born in this country. Her mother is from British Guyana, a country whose name we apparently had trouble pronouncing. Nicole groaned when she heard us say it. “You’re butchering it,” she said. Her father is half East Indian, half Chinese. Growing up in such a cultural mix informed Nicole’s dating preferences. “I’ve always liked dating different types of people,” she said. “My whole family does. Holiday photos look like Benetton commercials.”
In high school Nicole was twice crowned homecoming queen. She was also a sprinter on the track team, a skill that came in handy when she had to outrun classmates jealous of her drop-dead good looks. “I’m a success, and those people who were mean to me along the way can go to hell.”
When she turned 16, Nicole bolted to Los Angeles. While living with family, she worked as a hostess and a supervisor at a Discovery Zone. Two years later she finished high school and answered a roommate-wanted ad in the paper. The three men who had placed that ad must have thought they were dreaming when Nicole walked in. She swears they were perfect gentlemen during their cohabitation, and never once hit on her. But they still managed to screw things up. One night, as the four roomies watched a movie, “One guy snapped on me for not buying groceries and eating their food,” she said. “But I had a shit job. They all had good jobs.” Three days later she returned to Illinois.
In addition to modeling, Nicole is an inventor. One brainchild of hers, the Optical Ear, addresses her biggest pet peeve: dirty ears. “It’s a handheld mirror that lights up,” she explained. “Two rotating mirrors are attached to it. You face another mirror and stick the Optical Ear inside your ear canal. Then you can see the reflection.”
In the years since her Playboy pictorial, Nicole has been featured in several music videos, including LL Cool J’s “Luv You Better,” Mario Winans’ “I Don’t Wanna Know,” and Fabolous’ “Baby.” She competed on Fear Factor and has acted on episodes of MADtv, Entourage, and American Heiress.