Playmate of the Year Ida Ljungqvist Reveals Secret to Being a Size Zero Plus Why Hugh Hefner Nearly 'Killed' Himself | Pop Tarts Scene & Herd
For the first time in Playboy's hedonistic history, the iconic "Playmate of the Year" celebration was moved from Hugh Hefner's iconic Holmby Hills mansion to the glamorous grounds of the Grand Ballroom in Sin City's Palms Place Hotel & Resort on Saturday evening.
But even though he was surrounded by over 50 playmates from years gone by, Hef's face lit up like a kid in a candy store and he uttered a flabbergasted "wow" as he greeted 2009's recipient, the 50th Playmate of the Year and the first ever African-European to take the honors, Ida Ljungqvist.
Donning a form-fitting white wedding-like gown to accentuate her ultra itty bitty waist, the 27-year-old Swedish/African stunner revealed exclusively to Pop Tarts her secret to being super slim and maintaining the body that millions of men (and women) have been drooling over since she became 2008’s Miss March.
"I'm a size zero. But I carry my weight in the lower body, so I exercise moderately and I'm a vegetarian," she said. "I take Bonnie my Chihuahua hiking with me a lot and I do lots of walking. But I've never believed in pushing it too hard. It should never be a chore to exercise; you have to enjoy it or else don't do it all."
And even though Ljungqvist (who dedicated the honor to her late mother) has what most was consider to be a flawless figure, it turns out that she is pretty self-critical and almost turned down the initial offer to shoot for the men's magazine.
"This was never a dream for me; I didn't even know what Playboy was and I was scared at first," she admitted. "I have a lot of over-achiever in me so I am self-critical. But after I met Hef and saw how beautifully they portray women I was really excited. This experience has inspired me to broaden my horizons, to take chances in life."
Meanwhile Holly Madison, the only of Hef's former "Girls Next Door" to attend the busty and bountiful bash, seemed a little anxious to be standing so close to her ex and his new number one, Crystal Harris on the red carpet (she often speaks of her friendship with his other leading ladies, the Shannon twins, but doesn't seem to have built up much of an association with Harris) but we couldn't help but wonder about the PETA "Go Naked" ambassador's wardrobe selection.
"It's made all of little feathers," Madison quipped happily as we touched the unique skirt. "I can't believe I just let you touch my butt in front of everyone."
But Holly wasn't the only one with a good sense of humor, the ultimate playboy himself Mr. Hugh Hefner proved that 83 years epitomized by perennial partying and big-breasted blondes truly is the nexus to never-ending juvenescence.
"Iva is truly unique. She was born to a Tanzanian mother and a Swedish father and she traveled the globe while her father worked for UNICEF. She is fluent in three languages -- English, Swedish and Swahili," Hef told the crowd as they noshed away on the finest delicacies from chef Kerry Simon of Simon Palms Place. "Yes, a lot of us speak Swahili."
Although it turns out that the consummate sexual revolutionist almost didn’t board his private jet to Sin City and the consequences could have been brutal.
"I was feeling under-the-weather this week and nearly didn't make it here," Hef added. "But I would have killed myself if I didn't make it. This (event) tops them all; this is a special, special day for me."
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