411mania Interview: Playboy Miss February Leola Bell
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 01.17.2012
411's Steve Gustafson sits down with Leola Bell, Playboy's Miss February! Leola opens up about her pictorial, how her life has changed, and what's the future hold for her in this exclusive interview!
If Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the People's Champ, then Playboy's Miss February Leola Bell is the People's Playmate! Though she was born in Rockville, Maryland, Miami, Florida quickly claimed this beauty as their own! Leola has quickly made an impression as Miss February, gaining new fans by the minute. I mentioned to her in the interview that perhaps no other Playmate has been as interactive as she has. Her account at @LeolaBell is filled with exchanges with fans, thoughts, and the latest news in her life.
Doing an interview as a Playmate is tough. You get asked the same questions over and over. Leola handles it with grace and her personality and humble nature shines through the interview. She was open about her start with modelling, charity work, and how it felt to be in the same issue as Lindsay Lohan! I try to be as unbiased as possible but Leola makes it hard to do!
Steve Gustafson: Thanks again Leola for taking time to do the interview. Now I know you got involved with Playboy with Playboy Gold, but how did you first start modelling?
Leola Bell: That's actually a question that no one has asked me! (Laughs) I was working for a hotel and before that I was a server at the Cheesecake Factory for a while. I was never too happy with my jobs and I wanted to do something a little bit more fun. I had some friends who did modelling, being in Florida there's a pretty good outlet here, and they were like, "Oh Leola, you should come and do this job with us! It will be fun! It's easy!" (Laughs) Eventually I gave in and did it once. Then I started doing bikini modelling part-time, doing trade shows, things like that part-time. Then one day I was like, "I don't want to work in this hotel anymore." So I quit and I decided I wanted to pursue Playboy full-time and used modelling as a way to support myself until I could make Playboy happen for me. So it came out of friends pushing me to do it until I finally just did it!
Steve Gustafson: Wow! That's awesome. I know where you're coming from. I used to work at a hotel too and working the front desk wasn't for me.
Leola Bell: That's how I started in the hotel; at the front desk. Then moved up to Guest Service Manager. Then moved up to Assistant General Manager. I couldn't take it anymore! (Laughs)
Steve Gustafson: (Laughs) I bet! OK, so you were doing your modelling. How did you take that next step and get involved with Playboy?
Leola Bell: It's funny. I was actually at the front desk at my hotel, late at night and flipping through friends Facebook pages. I saw pictures of girls in really cute outfits, with the bunny logo on them and I was like, "What is this?" So I started digging around, asking questions, doing research. A friend told me, "It's Playboy Golf and they do it every year in different cities. If you win your competition you get to go to the Mansion for free!" That wasn't something I definitely wanted to do so I could cross it off my list! (Laughs). I decided, "I'm going to give it a try and see what happens"
So I did Playboy Golf for my event city, which is Miami, and I won! I won a free trip to California to visit the Mansion. It was so much fun! On the last night, at the closing ceremonies I was a Venus Lady and while I was there I got to see all the beautiful Playmates and thought to myself, "I'm going to do that too!" I did Playmate Golf the following year and they asked me to be in Playboy's Girls of Golf, so I did that. Then I got a call from Studio West in California and they asked if I wanted to come out to test shoot for Playmate!
Steve Gustafson: I'm blown away! This is like some sort of real life storybook tale! (Laughs)
Leola Bell: (Laughs) You're right!
Steve Gustafson: Wow. OK, I'm always interested in who did you call first to tell them the news that you were going to be Playboy's Miss February?
Leola Bell: My mom!
Steve Gustafson: Now I read your bio and know that you grew up in a pretty religious household. How did she take it?
Leola Bell: Everyone has been super supportive and really happy for me. My mom is probably my biggest supporter in anything in life. In fact, she feels like she's Miss February! (Laughs) But I couldn't ask for better support from my family.
Steve Gustafson: Nice! That's awesome that you have that support system. Always good to hear that. Now your issue is the infamous Lindsay Lohan issue and it's getting tons of attention from the media and audiences. How is that? How has your life changed?
Leola Bell: It just came out last month in December so just a little so far. Ever since then I've started to get lots of requests for jobs, so that's great! The attention the magazine has been getting has been incredible. So many people who wouldn't normally pick it up are taking a look at it and talking about it so it's pretty amazing! I couldn't have asked to be in a better issue!
Steve Gustafson: Not only that, you're probably the most active Playmate on Twitter! (Check her out at @LeolaBell) I see how you interact with everyone and it's really impressive.
Leola Bell: Thank you! I try to talk to everyone. I hate saying "fans" or "followers", it makes me feel pretentious! Sometimes I think, "Why do you want to talk to me?" (Laughs) The least I can do is respond back to as many people as I can, as long as they are respectful. But I really feel so lucky, so honored.
Steve Gustafson: It definitely shows. You're very grounded and I've gotten more feedback about you then any other Playmate!
Leola Bell: Awesome! (Laughs)
Steve Gustafson: OK, since we cover Movies and TV shows here at 411mania, I have to ask you some related questions. I know you're busy but do you have any shows that you must watch?
Leola Bell: I'm busy but I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia! I love Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, Happy Endings. Also, I'm the biggest fan of anything horror or sci-fi related! I love it! I love scary movies, scary books, I read everything from Stephen King! (Laughs) I'm a crazy horror fan. I will watch a scary movie, even if it's horrible! (Laughs)
Steve Gustafson: (Laughs) That's dedication! You should pick up some new fans as we have more than a few horror fans reading. What about going out to the movies?
Leola Bell: I like the movies but I turn into a big, crotchety old person when I go inside a theater! (Laughs) Too much noise like cell phones, people talking, and kids crying! I usually wait for it to come out on DVD to watch it or go at 10 in the morning to see it. (Laughs)
Steve Gustafson: I agree with you! It's gotten too loud! I remember going to see a movie recently and they brought a newborn in a stroller in. I was like, "What are you thinking?"
Leola Bell: (Laughs) I know! It ruins it for everyone! I think they parents are probably used to it! But I hate crying babies anywhere; in the theater or on a plane. I know that's not probably politically correct but babies should be at home! (Laughs)
Steve Gustafson: (Laughs) No, a large number of people agree with you! OK, switching gears, I know you've been involved with a number of good causes. Tell me about some of those.
Leola Bell: Yes! Right now I'm trying to see which direction I want to go in. I worked with my best friend Amanda Cerny, Miss October, helping out the people in Haiti. I'm trying to focus on either the Humane Society, PETA, or something to do with the Veteran's. Right now I'm putting together packages to send over to our troops. Playboy has been awesome about sending me things to include in the care packages.
Steve Gustafson: I saw that on Twitter! I was really impressed with the creative ways you've found to support the troops and getting people involved.
Leola Bell: Thank you! I just got a big box of stuff from Playboy Fashion about 10 minutes ago! I'll be including all this to send over to the troops, pictures, colorful lighters, calendars; it's the least I can do!
Steve Gustafson: That's awesome. And working with any animal group is huge to me. I love animals and have supported shelters ever since I got my dog from one.
Leola Bell: I love animals too! It just breaks my heart because they are so defenseless. I try to help out and do anything I can do. I adopted my cat from the shelter and just love all animals. But I'm terrified of birds! (Laughs) In the list they would be at the bottom! (Laughs)
Steve Gustafson: (Laughs) Gotcha. You stay busy, so what's next for you?
Leola Bell: So busy. Mainly just telling everyone to pick up the issue on newsstands and check out www.playboy.com. They have more pictures that will be released from my pictorial over the next couple of weeks!
Steve Gustafson: Very cool! Now I'm very aware of your Twitter (@LeolaBell) but do you have a Facebook account or website?
Leola Bell: I have a Facebook but I really don't use it. I have it linked up with my Twitter so it's best to find me there. I'm trying to get a site off the ground but it's more work than I expected! (Laughs) We're working on it and hopefully have it up by April!
Steve Gustafson: Sounds good. OK, last question. What's 2012 have in store for Leola Bell?
Leola Bell: You know, right now I'm just enjoying being a Playmate! It's still pretty brand new and I'm riding the excitement! I like not knowing what's around the corner and with my drive I can make awesome things happen!
Steve Gustafson: Great answer! Leola, thanks again! Congratulations and all the best to you!
Leola Bell: Thank you!
Pick up her issue on newsstands NOW!
Photos courtesy of Playboy
Check out my interview with previous Playboy Playmates: