Most guys that see Jessa Hinton immediately think “poker.” Some guys even think of the card game, too.
California-girl Hinton, 27, is Playboy’s Playmate of the Month in the magazine’s July issue. She is also often seen showing off her interviewing skills on the Victory Poker Tour and Top Rank Boxing.
Hinton is a highly motivated, self-described entrepreneur who was first seen on “Baywatch”; more recently, she’s done ads for the Palms Casino, Monster energy drink and Mixed Martial Arts. She is currently designing her own bikini line for Affliction clothing.
“I am a jack-of-all-trades and an Energizer bunny,” the busty blonde said. “I want to do it all.”
Hinton’s swimsuits are meant for women, though given the demographic the Affliction brand sometimes attracts, bro-kinis might be a big seller. Those dudes should pick up the July issue of Playboy instead.
We asked Jessa about being a part of the Playboy family, the Hollywood poker scandal and whom she wants to see naked.
You were already known to people through Top Rank and Victory before you became Miss July. Have people acted differently toward you since the Playboy appearance was announced?
People know me as far back as MySpace and from “Baywatch,” even — I mean, I was on “Baywatch” when I was 16 years old. I look a little different than I did then — but I have never experienced anything like this. It’s been amazing. You can’t believe how many people have reached out to me since I was named a Playmate.
Describe the feeling you get when you take off your clothes at a photo or video shoot. Is it all-business or does it give you a rush?
I grew up a tomboy; I wore sweatpants or jeans and a t-shirt and I never dressed up. Now I do, so I am more in touch with that feminine side and Playboy helped me become more comfortable with that…. The first day I was nervous and self-conscious, you know: ‘do I look weird in this position?’ and ‘what is that guy looking at?’
By the second day, I just dropped the robe and was like: ‘let’s go!’
I talked to other Playmates and they have had similar experiences. The second day is easier. We were joking and saying movie quotes. One of the techs said ‘Can you close your legs a bit more?’ (laughs) and I was like: “Can you see a little too much? Ok.’ You get more comfortable.
You are often around other beautiful people at Playboy and in Hollywood. Other than your boyfriend (poker player Dan Blizerian), whom would you want to see naked?
I’ve had both serious girlfriends and boyfriends. I’ve known I was bisexual since the age of 13. And, bisexual is not bi-curious, by the way. Some people think a few shots of Patron make you bisexual. That’s not the case.
If I had to pick one guy, it would be David Beckham. I mean, I have just about seen all of his body in ads already, but I’d like to see what he’s working’ with… As for girls, it’d be Mila Kunis. I’ve seen her naked on screen but that’s different than her getting naked in front of me.
Do you know Crystal Harris, Hugh Hefner’s former fiancee, and how do you feel about her decision to squash her wedding with him?
It’s their business, you know. I know Hef more than I know Crystal. I am also friends with Holly (Madison, one of Hef’s “Girls Next Door”). …When you walk into the (Playboy) Mansion the first time, everyone is so nice. …At first, I thought ‘ Is this a fake L.A. thing?’ but it’s not. It’s a very special atmosphere to be a part of. Playboy is more like a big family than anything.
Do you have any behind-the-scenes poker stories from Victory Poker?
That’s how I met my boyfriend. …When I first met him, I was like ‘ He is the cockiest S.O.B. that ever lived! I thought he was a D-I-C-K…But then after I was around him and we went on a few dates and I saw what he was working with, I figured out why he was that way (laughs). …He was on TV this morning and in Star magazine…
Right: about the Hollywood poker scandal that Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck and others are reportedly involved in (Note: a convicted Ponzi schemer allegedly settled his big poker debts to Maguire with his victims’ money). Were you involved at all; have you ever been to a high-stakes game?
I have never been to an underground game. I have seen high stakes games with $100,000 buy-ins. When I saw in Star that there were drugs and hookers at some of those games, I straight-up slapped (Dan). He was like: “I am with you and you think I am going to fool around with a hooker?’
See, I think all that is gross. There is some shady shit that goes down at underground games. These celebrities have all this money and they are out there doing stuff like that. It’s terrible.
Have you ever played strip poker with Dan or anyone else?
Sadly, I have never played strip poker. Someone suggested I get a few girlfriends and we do that on Howard Stern, but we haven’t yet. …As a game, poker doesn’t do it for me. I like asking questions about it and talking to the players about strategy, but sitting in a dark, smoky room for hours is just a drag. It doesn’t do it for me.
You are affiliated with both boxing and MMA as a post-fight interviewer. Who is tougher: boxers or fighters?
Hmm. Tougher? I don’t know. They are both tough in different ways… Randy Couture is my favorite. I know Georges St. Pierre is the top guy right now, but Randy is just a super guy, a legend in the sport….As for boxing, Sugar Shane Mosley is really a nice guy who I genuinely admire. Between his age and his talent and how he carries himself, it’s pretty amazing.
As well as being an interviewer and a model, you’re designing bikinis for Affliction. How do business people react to your modeling career; has Playboy led to people perceiving you differently?
One hundred percent, but in a positive way, not negative. It’s opened doors. …Some people call me for advice that you’d never think would…. I have a certain look – I mean, I’m 5’9″ and blonde with big boobs — and that might make people underestimate what I know. But I use that to my advantage when I can.
Tall, blonde, big boobs and with a developing entrepreneurial streak. Sounds perfect, but what wouldn’t guys like about you; what’s your secret flaw?
The tomboy thing turns some guys off. I have probably shot more guns than most guys and trained in more MMA disciplines than most guys. They can get insecure about that…. I guess cooking. I know the way to win a man’s heart is through food, but I can’t cook. I can bake OK, but when it comes to cooking I can’t seem to figure it out.
You want to eventually write an autobiography. What will be its title?
Haven’t figured that out. Not yet. There are so many ways I can still go with my career. When I do write it, though, I am going to out a lot of people. I have been through a lot: eating disorder and my parents split up when I was young and my mom left for awhile and I didn’t have her around to help me. A lot of tough stuff….
That’s where my drive comes from. Not from the need for attention or acceptance, but from having to do things yourself. It keeps me motivated.
The July issue of Playboy, featuring Jessa Hinton as Playmate, is on newsstands now and available online at www.playboydigital.com. Follow Jessa on Twitter (http://twitter.com/jessalynnhinton), fan her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/JessaHinton)and see more at jessahinton.com (http://jessahinton.com)