Sultry KAREN McDougal was named the 1998 PLAYMATE OF THE YEAR at a lavish event at HUGH HEFNER's Playboy Mansion. She's the lucky winner of more than just that title - she also receives $100,000 as well as a Shelby Series 1 roadster, the all-new limited edition linear descendant of the legendary Shelby Cobra. With those hot wheels, she should continue her rocket-fast ascent to fame in style!
Karen, who was born in Michigan and is of Irish/Native American descent, was nicknamed "Barbie" in high school, because she projected the image of the "nice, sweet, perfect girl." It wasn't until a late teen growth spurt that she blossomed into the stunning beauty queen she is today. But she's certainly developed on the inside as well. She's already worked as a pre-school teacher and her ultimate dream is to open her own learning center for children. And despite her interests in acting and modeling, she wants to establish her child care center outside Los Angeles. "I want to go to a smaller community that doesn't have a lot of money." Another more immediate goal is to use her new found celebrity status to encourage other women to seek preventive measures against an early detection of breast cancer. Because of a history of the disease in her family, Karen is well aware of the prevalence of it. "To my way of thinking," she says, "breast cancer is the number one threat to women's health today. Fortunately, it can often be cured if discovered early on and treated properly." Surprisingly, she doesn't dine out on health food, preferring "red meat and junk food." She is a fitness buff, however, and she works out daily. "I think strength is important to a woman," comments Karen. "It's energizing. It gives you the self-confidence you need to succeed." Obviously, staying in shape has paid off for Karen.