Sept. 13 — Saturday afternoon, Caribou Coffee was packed. In the unrelentingly hot weather, the cappuccino machine whirred and iced drinks beaded with condensation.
Sitting at a corner table, Evelyn Gery wore jeans and a white, floral-print shirt - more clothing than she wears in the photos of her splashed across newsstands nationwide.
The roller-coaster ride that started with Playboy’s recruiting ads running in local newspapers ended with the well-lit and smiling Gery touting an ACC flag on the cover of Playboy magazine.
The October 2004 “Girls of the ACC” edition of Playboy hit stands Friday.
“It hasn’t really affected me yet,” admitted Gery, a UNC junior and psychology major from Durham.
The background noise of the cafe crescendoed and fell away just in time for her to add, “I just got the issue yesterday - and I had to pay for it!”
So will a lot of other people.
Playboy has a monthly U.S. circulation of 3.15 million, not to mention the hundreds of readers picking up a copy at a friend’s apartment.
Theresa Hennessey, a publicist for Playboy, predicts that magazine sales will skyrocket in the Triangle. To encourage that, Playboy is sponsoring a signing Tuesday at The Newsstand on Elliott Road.
The Newsstand’s manager, Jack Pileggi, seemed immune to the impending frenzy. “We were sent a lot more copies (of Playboy) than we generally get,” he said mildly, admitting that he has no idea how many people to anticipate at the signing.
If the number of Playboys is any indication, Pileggi can look forward to a crowd. “A lot more copies” meant approximately 450 magazines, four times the ordinary shipment the store receives, all glossy with Gery’s smiling face.
Gery, 22, has been modeling for five years and took two years off from school to focus on her career.
Modeling took her to New York, Greece and Japan; put her on the pages of Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and YM; landed her on runways, wearing the latest fall fashions; and placed her on the cover of Playboy, wearing little of anything at all.
After the initial auditions in Chapel Hill in April, Gery had several photo sessions, one of which was a cover shoot in Chicago.
The photographers, make-up artists and other assorted Playboy personnel made the trip anything but overexposed. Gery emphasized how professional and friendly the environment was during the shoots.
“It’s weird how comfortable you can be,” she commented, smiling. “(The photographers) loved to hear my opinions.”
Gery is aware that not everyone will want to hear what she is saying through her appearance in Playboy.
“We tell the girls, if they have any problems, to let someone at Playboy know,” Hennessey said, adding that their models haven’t been harassed in the past.
Aside from a deluge of phone calls and e-mails, Gery says little has changed. She still plans to earn her degree and looks forward to future opportunities with Playboy.
After her signing on Tuesday, Gery is hosting a launch party for herself on Oct. 1st at Spice Street.
But before that, UNC can look forward to having one of seven signings at ACC schools - one more than will take place at Duke.
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