North Myrtle Beach native graces Playboy centerfold as Miss July

The siren lighting up a centerfold that hit newsstands Friday follows in the footsteps of more than 700 other women since the mid-1950s who have posed as “Playmate of the Month.”

Look for Alyssa Arce, a North Myrtle Beach native, as Miss July 2013 in Playboy magazine, in a 10-photo layout amid an auto racing backdrop.

Theresa Hennessey, vice president of public relations for Chicago-based Playboy, said Arce marks the 718th Playmate to fill its pages, which also have showcased many celebrities on covers with separate, exclusive pictorials -- and they include Vanna White, also born and raised in North Myrtle Beach.

Margie Harrison was the first person referred as “Playmate of the Month,” from the magazine’s second issue, in January 1954, Hennessey said. In Playboy’s debut issue, Marilyn Monroe was the ‘Sweetheart of the Month.”

Arce, who graduated in 2010 from North Myrtle Beach High School and moved to Florida to accelerate a modeling career, spoke Thursday from New York, on the eve of release for the magazine’s July edition.

The 5-foot-8, 21-year-old also repeated how much she misses the Grand Strand, where she spent her entire childhood, full of happy memories, and that she looks forward to Independence Day in her hometown.

Question | You join the ranks of so many famous women who’ve been celebrated in the pages of Playboy, such as Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy among famous Playmates, and the likes of Tia Carrere, Cindy Crawford, Bo Derek, Rachel Hunter, LaToya Jackson, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Vanity (Denise Matthews, from Prince’s Vanity 6), Katarina Witt, and the late Marilyn Monroe and Farrah Fawcett -- to name a few others. What woman who’s posed for the magazine has impressed you the most?

Answer | I love Marilyn Monroe, and her vintage photos. … I’m in complete love with the work she had done.

Q. | How did this partnership for the pictorial arise? Was it easy to schedule and work out?

A. | I had a great time. The pictorial was shot in Willow Springs, out near Los Angeles. It has a desert-type feeling, and it’s an awesome racetrack. .. We had a very nice mixture of the cars. … The article’s called “Built for Speed.”

Q. | When did you find that you were comfortable posing for the shutter – long before any ambitions arose to bare it all for Playboy?

A. | I’ve modeled for four years, and when I was 18, I moved to Miami and started modeling. I’ve always been very comfortable in front of a camera. Even when I was little, I did a little modeling here and there on the beach back home. I’ve always been comfortable in my own body. …

It was such a pleasure to shoot for Playboy. They make you feel very comfortable, especially with me being all natural.

Q. | Getting ready for such a photo session, how extensive are the preparations to craft the balance and perfect the look you and the photographer each desire for the camera?

A. | For me, you have the hair and makeup you go through; that’s always a preparation. I like to get a good night’s sleep, and have a nice breakfast in the morning. … And I like to hear music in the photo shoot; it makes everyone happy, with the whole vibe. …

You meet with the photographers, and they show you an idea they have, and they took off with it.

Q. | What is it about the female figure that has captivated artists through centuries and millennia, by painters, sculptors, and more recently, photographers and moviemakers?

A. | To me, I’ve always found a woman’s body is pretty when it has curves. I appreciate a woman who has a full-figure body. That’s what it’s all going back to now. In acting, you see more full-figure women on TV shows.

Q. | How has posing for Playboy become another valuable echelon through which women take their careers to another level?

A. | I’m very excited. … With the publicity I can get from it, it would help my modeling career.

Q. | How frenzied is your pace now, and where are you based?

A. | I’m based in and out of suitcases with a modeling career. I’m always in and out of places, but I go home as often as I can to see my family. … Now I’m in New York, and looking forward to coming home for the Fourth of July and seeing my family.

Q. | What did you miss the most from the Grand Strand?

A. | Ah, the Grand Strand. I was there two weeks ago. I love it when I go back home; it’s my mini-vacation from everything. … I would definitely say the beach. … I’m such a beach girl, and a huge animal lover. I have three dogs and two cats.

Q. | What’s the makeup of the four-legged members in your family?

A. | I have a gray cat and a Maine coon cat, and two Australian shepherd and a German shepherd.

Q. | Any sports fanfare that fills some free time?

A. | I’m a big soccer fan. I played soccer for 15 years, and was in and out of soccer clubs and teams and in high school. … I love watching soccer on TV, but I’m not a big-into-sports girl.

Q. | Where might we see you next? Any other professional pursuits or plans for media or TV appearances?

A. | This is just the beginning of everything. I have no idea of what my future plans are. I will definitely be doing something with publicity with Playboy. I’m just a Southern girl who got away for the big city. … But it’s good to come home and see family, and still go to the pier in Cherry Grove.