Archive for Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Her story

Tonganoxie woman goes on the record about Playboy, calendar photos

December 18, 2002

When her daughter, Carey, was 12 years old, Bev Oroke took her to a modeling agency in Kansas City.

"We were curious about the modeling profession," Oroke said. "However ... after listening to them I just didn't feel that it was something we wanted to pursue at that time."

More on CareyTo see expanded photo galleries of Carey Oroke, listen to a recent interview with her, or to see a behind-the-scenes video of her calendar photo shoot, visit Carey's section on the Women of K.U. Calendar site.

Carey puts her memory of the experience a little differently.

"It was horrible!" Carey said.

"They told me all kinds of mean things -- that I wasn't going to be tall enough, that I wasn't photogenic enough, that I was a pretty girl but that there wasn't anything extraordinary about me that would make me stand out.

"So from that point on I wanted nothing to do with the industry or anything with photography or modeling."

Well, that is until a decade later when Playboy magazine came to the University of Kansas looking for student models. At the suggestion of her fiance, Oroke tried out without giving it much thought.

She was one of three KU students selected for the "Girls of the Big 12" October issue. Oroke was also selected as Miss February for the Women of KU 2003 calendar, which was released earlier this month.

She said for the most part her friends and family have been nothing but supportive. She has caught some flack, she said, but mostly behind her back.

"I'm totally open for those people to come at me and tell me what they think, because I have my reasons why I did it," Oroke said.

"Women have fought for so long for equal rights and what they've fought for is the right to choose. I can choose my own destiny. Whether you think it's wrong or right, I have my own opinions and the right to choose whether I want to do this," she said.

Her only regret was an experience on 98.9 FM in Kansas City, when she appeared to promote the Playboy appearance on Johnny Dare's morning show.

"(Dare) sells his morning show by nudity and controversy. So he was a lot more interested in getting us naked than finding out who we were as people," said Oroke, who didn't give in to the repeated pressure.

"It's degrading because you're in a studio full of people, and people peering in here or there. That threw me off a bit."

Oroke's a semester away from completely a degree in exercise physiology. She plans on working with patients in cardiovascular and obesity rehabilitation.

Her first experience in the field was helping her fiance recover from a serious accident he suffered while racing ATVs.

"He almost died. That's what really got me into sports medicine, because I rehabilitated him and I was like 'Oh this is pretty cool!'" she said.

"I want to be in a position of power. I'm not good working under people, so the more education I can get, the better off I am. I don't want to be the low man on the totem pole all my life. It's not my personality.

Nor is modeling necessarily."

Though Playboy has expressed interest in a second appearance by Oroke (though without making a formal offer), Oroke's primary goal is to finish her education.

"There's no way I'd give up everything I've worked for up to this point to be a professional model for the rest of my life. I want to be known more for my mind than my body," she said.

-- Phil Cauthon is a reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World.

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