Shannon Stewart Interview
Shannon Stewart was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1978.
In June 2000, she was a Playboy Playmate.
Shannon Stewart shares her story with us.
Q - Shannon, where did Playboy send you in support of that Centerfold Spread?
A - Everywhere. I can't exactly remember every single city. All over the place for the most part. In the U.S. They don't do a whole lot of international jobs just because it's obviously logistically harder then to send girls out of the country. It's unsafe. It takes People to go with. But, they send us everywhere for the most part. From the little hole in the wall bars all the way up to the nice clubs and venues and conventions, and restaurant kind of things.
Q - Since posing for Playboy, have you received offers for TV or film work?
A - I didn't get any of that through Playboy. I've done commercials for Pepsi, 1-800, and ATT, but, it was through my agent, going to castings. Obviously you get the offers for the 'Baywatch' type of things. But, they don't call you up 'cause they saw you in, 'Playboy.' It's kind of like; you're in L.A. and having ‘Playboy’ behind you helps a bit more with the castings. If you go in for a 'hot' bikini Chick obviously if you have ‘Playboy’ in your resume for whatever reason, they seem to be more willing to look at you, than just some other 'hot' bikini girl. But, a lot of times we would get passed by for those parts because it seemed to me, in my experience, that, like the Pepsi commercial I did, they wanted us in a bikini on the beach. But, they put a top on me, over my bikini. I think it kind of came down to where I did quite a few auditions for a lot of big, national things, that needed the bikini girl, the 'hot' chick. When you see the commercial ran, you see a pretty average girl. I think were maybe overly average, and we wouldn't exactly sell Pepsi in Middle America. So, it can also be a hindrance to you, I think.
Q - How did Playboy bear about you?
A – I was in town with Hawaiian Tropics doing some stuff. I had won my state title so I got to come to L.A. to do something, a shoot, something. Someone I knew from back home knew someone who knew Mark Saginar who is his best friend and personal physician. So, they said you should meet Mark. He's a real nice guy. People who know people - that kind of a thing. I actually did get to meet Mark and he was very sweet. He suggested I go into Playboy on like a Thursday, while I was in town just to see what they say. I wasn't really that interested, but, you think I may never be back here so let me set up the shoot for you! It was a Polaroid shoot.
Q - Again, this was really something that you had never thought about?
A - I was actually enrolled to go back to school. I had made this trip maybe September, October. So, I went to L.A. and after I got back I thought I was going to go to school.
Q - Was it easier or harder than you expected?
A - Parts of it were easier and parts of it weren't. The shooting was easy because I've always been involved in pageants and modeling, and photo shoots from the time I was a baby. The fact of being naked wasn't a big thing either, being they make you feel very comfortable. They're very aware of things in the shoot, so they make sure you're comfortable. There were parts where you're naked, cold in water, or working really long hours. That was a little harder thon I thought it would be. The Centerfold Shoot itself was harder than I thought it would be because I thought they just picked a really good picture of you, and stuck it in the book. But, that's not the case. They pick one pose that they like and they have you hold this pose, work on this one picture to get it precisely like they want it, for one week. So, it's not like just one really great photo that they pick. It's something that you hold that pose for a week, from 5 in the morning to 7 at night. That's a long day, standing there, holding. People picking at you, it's hot, your feet hurt. So, there were blood, sweat and tears involved. Overall it was a good experience. One of those things I won't forget.
Q - You attended Nicholls State University, but couldn't stay focused on
your studies. Why was that?
A - I think probably going right out of high school wasn't a good idea. You graduate in May. I don't think it's necessarily a good idea to start school back again in August. I think maybe you should take a little time (off). At least I did.
Q - Was there a lot of partying?
A - There was a lot of partying. It's just, I didn't have the discipline. When I was in high school my mom got me up every morning. When you're away at college there's no one telling you to get up. If you want to skip a class because history is at 8 o'clock in the morning, you skip it. And no ones there to tell you not to. I didn't have the discipline and I needed a break. I needed to work. I didn't like being a broke college student. In high school I was always able to work and have my money. When you move to a new city and you're doing school, it's hard to pick up a job, cause everybody in that little town needs a job too. I didn't enjoy not having money, and doing just the school thing, and so far away from home. I wanted to transfer back to LSU.
Q - You were doing commercials for TV while you were still in high school.
So, you were already famous!
A -I don't know about famous. I was known for different things. That school, unless you were a Cheerleader or some other ridiculous dancer, the girls in school weren't too appreciative of the fact that I was doing that kind of thing and they weren't. So, I just kept my head down and had the same boyfriend all through high school and had my little group of friends. We just did our own thing. I wasn't trying to impress anybody. I didn't care who was mad or did and didn't like (it). I had my core group of people and still hare that core group of people. I think that's how little towns are.
Q - Sounds like some jealousy existed.
A - Yeah, I guess you could say that. (Laughs). But these are people who are not my friends and girls who I could really care less about. The hot cheerleader girls in school end up getting knocked-up in the 12th grade and married their high school sweetheart and live in their parents’ backyard now in a trailer. Great life. I'll trade all that cheerleading crap for the way I live now and the things I've been able to do.
Q - Did you like entering these beauty pageants as a little girl? Was that
something you were pushed into?
A - For some reason, I actually enjoyed it. My mom and I are really close. I grew up without a father. It's always been pretty much us. We traveled. You get to make friends. These are girls that maybe you don't get to see unless you go to a state pageant, or some competition somewhere else. You look forward to seeing who's going to be there. Pageants back then were a lot different then they are now. They didn't have babies wearing make-up. Toddlers with false teeth. It was much different when I did it. And, I did well and made quite a bit of money, and TVs, savings bonds, trips. I just decided on my own to stop, when I was seeing all these little girls with make-up and the stage mothers. People started calling the directors asking if I was going to be there. I would get calls saying please don't show up 'til the last minute ‘cause if you show up; people won't join your group. The pettiness of it got to where - what's the point? Really. Honestly. So, I just quit. No reason other than that. It wasn't fun anymore. My mom never pushed me to do it. She was like if you want to do it - do it. If you don't - we don't go. No Big Deal.
Q - Was it your idea to come up with your own website or did somebody approach
A - You always get approached after Playboy. People come out of the woodwork. They e-mail you. Playboy sets up your own website for you. It's not a pay site or anything. So, from that people see you. You get offers to do your site. I thought - why not? Playboys making money off the Playboy stuff, and I'm not making any money, so, I might as well take my own pictures and make some money off it, and have more control too, of what's shown and what's put up. Of course, you have to wait, because you can't publish nudes for 2 years. That's a Playboy contract rule. They contract your nude image for 2 years. Which makes sense. They want to make money off of you first. So, we waited, and built it and got a good picture base built up and put the site up.
Q - Shannon, what would you eventually like to do with your life?
A -I don't know. I thought about going to culinary school just to give me something to do. The traveling, the promotion, all my calendar shoots and all the catalog work I do - that I'm definitely going to continue to do. I like that. It's fun for me. It's fun to go for a weekend to a city, hang-out at a club or something for a few hours, talk to people, sign autographs, get paid and come back home. That's not exactly a bad life.