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    'Playboy' finds 11 to pose at USF

    The magazine finds plenty of University of South Florida students for its back-to-school issue. Two posed nude.

    By BABITA PERSAUD

    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 31, 2000


    photo
    [Times photo: Toni Sandys]
    USF students Sidra McCain, 27, of St. Petersburg, left, and Dominique Goldstein, 20, of Hollywood, Fla., sign the latest edition of Playboy Wednesday at the Hometown News Stand.
    TAMPA -- On the press release, her name appears next to a page number -- "Sidra McCain, pg. 146" -- like the index of a college yearbook. But this guide was to Playboy's October back-to-school issue, the one with the cover showing a brunette wearing Daisy Dukes and toting a laptop.

    "I've always wanted to do it. For me, the body is beautiful," said Sidra McCain, a junior at the University of South Florida. "I think Playboy is a beautiful piece of art. It's not Hustler. It's not Penthouse. It's art. It's not porn."

    In their nationwide search of willing college girls, Playboy netted 11 from USF, the most of all the colleges the magazine visited. It was Playboy's first trip to USF, not that it was a distinction the university wants to embrace.

    "USF didn't have any role in Playboy coming here," USF spokesman Michael Reich said.

    The auditions, were held in April at the Embassy Suites on Fowler Avenue -- off-campus, Reich pointed out.

    And the shot of three of the girls -- clothed -- in front of Cooper Hall on campus is perfectly legal.

    It's a public university and public place, Reich said. "They can come in and shoot photographs, just as anyone can."

    Only two of the 11 appear nude: Dominique Goldstein, advertising major, and Sidra McCain, marine biology.

    It was these two women who were whirled around town Wednesday, making Playboy-arranged appearances in platforms and tank tops on the Bubba the Love Sponge morning radio show, at Hometown News on Fletcher Avenue and Hooters on Hillsborough Avenue. Goldstein missed her "Intro to the Internet" class to make that appearance.

    Response has been positive since the magazine hit newsstands last week, McCain and Goldstein said.

    "They were like, "Yeah, go for it,' " Goldstein, 20, said of her parents. "They said it could open doors for me in modeling."

    Still, she used a fake name in the magazine -- Vanessa Rains -- "because I didn't want to ruin my reputation" she said, and spoil her chances to be a residence assistant in the dorms, as she was last year.

    Goldstein was one of 75 women who streamed up to the suite at the Embassy hotel for auditions. She was asked to remove her top for the male photographer with the Polaroid.

    "I was shocked how easy it was," she said.

    Payment can't be disclosed, but McCain and Goldstein said it was in the hundreds, not thousands.

    All the photo shoots were around the Tampa Bay area, including a group shot -- clothed -- at Club Kaos in Ybor City. Goldstein posed on Egmont Key, near the lighthouse, she said. McCain's shot was at the house of Ed Droste, co-founder of Hooters.

    The shoot lasted 14 hours, and the women said they aren't totally happy with the outcome.

    "I kind of look like I'm scowling a little bit," McCain said.

    Something else was upsetting: How the media have portrayed them.

    "They really portray me as an airhead. I want to stress that I think school is important," Goldstein said. "I have a 3.7 GPA. I study all the time."

    Said McCain: "Someone can tell just by talking to me that I'm very straightforward, and I don't have a stupid bone in my body."

    The women autographed a stack of Playboys inside Hometown News for the long, all-male line. Guys in shirts and ties. Guys with smudges on their work shirts. An older man who had a thin tube running from under his nose to the oxygen tank he wheeled alongside him.

    Babita Persaud can be reached at (813) 226-3322 or persaud@sptimes.com

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