Raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Brook Power—who made her playboy debut in our May 2016 issue—grew up reveling in the splendor of the ocean and the jungle. Now, when she’s not modeling, she’s riding her horse bareback on mountain trails or surfing in Malibu. She’s also a visual artist or, in her words, a “very nondigital collage-art maker,” whose intricately layered pieces may inspire feelings of surreal euphoria. Power connected with 2016 Playmate of the Year Eugena Washington, and the two opened up about the changing mores of modeling, the best things in life and the things that make them feel beautiful.
First of all, congratulations on being Playmate of the Year! How does it feel?
I love it! Honestly, I never thought I’d end up in playboy. I thought it was so out of my element. I’m just a surfer chick who rides horses.
It’s kind of interesting that you and I have now both posed twice for playboy—once nude and once non-nude. Do you think there’s much of a difference between your two pictorials?
I actually didn’t feel as though the two were very different—well, that’s not true. David Bellemere, the photographer for my Playmate of the Year shoot, is French, so he thinks being naked all the time is not a big deal. But other than that, it’s the same style of photography. It’s modern. It’s current.
It’s all about celebrating the body for its beauty, for the work of art that it is. The funny part is that, on most photo shoots, you end up walking around naked a lot anyway.
Right. When you’re modeling, you’re constantly getting undressed and changing in front of everyone. I also trusted the aesthetic that I knew the photographer would capture. I think you and I both knew this wasn’t going to be something we would ever regret. It’s something we’re proud of doing.
We’re moving into a different time now.
It’s interesting, because I do collages with old issues of the magazine, so I have copies of playboy from the 1960s through the 1990s. There will be ones from the 1970s that have full-on hippie babes with full bushes, and then you get to the 1990s and into the early 2000s and it becomes a whole other thing.
The popular aesthetic has evolved, and so has the climate of the modeling industry. People are interested in people. There used to be more of a divide, but the internet has merged those lines. We’re more connected now.
Nowadays, a model is more of a personality, for sure. There are so many ways for us to express ourselves and put ourselves out there. It’s more about relatability. We’re curating our own careers, basically. I think women who are in any sort of spotlight now need to be interesting. Women are so multifaceted. Especially with models—there’s more than just a pretty face. Now we need to show it.
We were never really able to do that until recently. Now, thanks to Instagram, we can show our own pictures. Speaking of which, you’re also a visual artist. What inspires you to create?
I actually love working on rainy days. Whenever it rains in California, everyone gets so bummed, but I love it. If it’s sunny out, I just want to go outside and do stuff. If it’s raining, I want to work. It’s cozy, you know? If I’m trying to get my creative gears going, I start by sitting and looking through images for a few minutes, usually with a cup of coffee and a white tabletop. I take note of things I like—color combinations, maybe an interesting object or animal or potential backdrop—and put all those things to the side. Then I come up with an image in my head, or too many images. Sometimes I don’t come up with anything; I don’t force it. I’ll just try again later, when my mind is less cluttered.
Do you think growing up in Hawaii influenced who you are now?
Growing up in Hawaii was the best. I had a lot of siblings and friends around. We played on the beach and in the surf and in caves all day. We would become completely consumed by our imaginative world. I think it kept me silly and mellow. People really value family there. Also, the Hawaiian sense of humor is very self-deprecating and humble, which I think are good traits to have in our business.
They’re not the most common traits, though. Where do you see yourself in the next few months? The next year?
I would like to do some traveling this year—home to Hawaii and also to Tahiti, Thailand, Mexico, hopefully New Zealand and then Europe for a while. I just want to surf and explore a lot. I miss Mexican food so much I can’t wait to head south.
Finally, what makes you feel beautiful?
I probably feel the most beautiful when I’m surfing at home in Hawaii. That sounds so cheesy, but having that life force surrounding you and the water on your skin, moving under your feet, you definitely feel powerful, as though you’ve harnessed this great natural energy. You’re not just a spectator—you’re making it even more beautiful by being there.
To see the complete pictorial, purchase the digital magazine here.
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