This story appears in the May/June 2017 issue of Playboy. Subscribe

The authentically humble model: a unicorn-like myth or a real, if rare, phenomenon? Moscow-born May Playmate Lada Kravchenko will have you convinced such beings walk among us. Her cool, classical beauty may conjure such words as flawless and intimidating, but she would like you to know things aren’t always what they seem. “Many girls judge themselves harshly because they look at other people on Instagram and think, ‘She’s living the perfect life.’ Nobody lives a perfect life.”

While her life may not be perfect, Lada, who currently resides in Manhattan, has created one full of variety. She has lived in Paris (she speaks “a really tiny bit” of French), Milan and Hong Kong, and she’s a three-time attendee of Burning Man. Broad-minded and independent, she’s also currently single. “Half my friends are like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’—like I’m supposed to have some guy with me,” she says. “My response is, ‘You know what? I just want to be by myself. I’m fine.’ I like to dance. I like to go out with my friends. So many girls fixate on guys and don’t make a life for themselves.”

Innocent flirting, on the other hand, makes her feel sexy. “I know it’s ridiculous, but I have a best friend who’s a guy and I flirt with him all the time,” she says. “I know nothing’s going to happen because we’re like brother and sister, but it just feels good. It’s fun.” Surprisingly, Lada isn’t used to guys hitting on her. “If I waited to be approached, God, I would waste my life, for sure. It doesn’t even depend on how good you look. Guys are intimidated. They don’t approach girls.”

This means she’s well-practiced at taking matters into her own hands. “I’m very straightforward, so my flirting unfortunately looks more like an attack,” she admits with a sheepish smile. “I make eye contact, right? And then I come up and just start making small talk, asking what he’s drinking, how his day was, all these questions.” Whether or not she employs her assertive-flirting tactics, Lada loves a proper night out. “I’m completely obsessed because when I was younger I was a nerd and spent a lot of time at home, studying and cooking.” It’s clear a livelier existence is better suited to her dauntless personality. “Security is the most boring thing on earth for me,” she says. “I just want adventures all the time.”

Click to see outtakes from Lada’s Playmate pictorial.


AGE: 24 | BIRTHPLACE: Moscow, Russia | CURRENT CITY: New York City

I studied computer technology, so I was the only girl in my whole class in college. I’m a programmer. Yeah, database systems and computer tech—that’s my profession. I told you I’m a nerd!

Number one is India. It’s fraught with beauty and sex but not in the Western style. I want to explore. I’m trying to pitch it to every single editor: “Okay, so what about India for a shoot?” And they’re like, “Let’s do the Bahamas.”

We’re all born this way, right? It’s not something to be ashamed of. These are our bodies. Sometimes it’s much easier for girls to be nude than for guys to be around nude girls—especially on a shoot. They become very shy and try not to look at you, but then they bump into you and mumble something. They don’t know what to say.

I’m a jeans-and-T-shirt kind of girl—very simple. But I love to dress up. I love red lipstick; it’s my favorite. Almost every single night now, I have different shades of red, and that’s my thing. Of course, it’s not very comfortable for kissing. Then again, I don’t make out that much in public.

I think you should follow what your body wants and just enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy your life, why are you here?

I drink because I’m Russian. We know how to party, and vodka is a big part of our culture. But I’m a bit weird because my go-to drinks are champagne and beer.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a ballerina, but it never happened. Then I wanted to be a preschool teacher. Finally, I wanted to be a makeup artist. When my father heard that, he said, “Okay, I’m going to choose for you. You’ll be an IT girl.” My dad’s the best. He taught me everything, and he’s the most loving person on earth, so I don’t argue with my dad.

After the election, I was so confused. I look at myself as American, even though I have a Russian passport. After the election, I was like, “Actually, I’m Russian! I’m fine!” At least we have Justin Trudeau in Canada. He’s not my celebrity crush, but he’s my politician crush.


To see her nude pictorial, purchase the magazine here.