Wednesday, 21 January 2009

American Venus: Gloria Root

Gloria's centrefold

In our research for our Pubic Wars articles one of the pioneering young ladies featured was Gloria Root who was Playboy Playmate of the Month in December 1969. Gloria is widely regarded (well, by Wikipedia) as being the firts Playmate to have shown a few strands of pubic hair in her centrefold. Agent Triple P's research, however, shows that there are several other claimants to that particular first. Nevertheless Gloria was a pioneer and gave us these three naughty-for-the sixties shots.

A very classical Venus (Venusian?) pose from Gloria

Now, contrary to some people's opinion Agent Triple P has never been of the view that women are some sort of lower and inferior order. Rather the reverse, in fact, having been brought up in, essentially, an all female household with an extended family of very strong women. Yet many people are surprised that female models, particularly if they do nude work, are likely to be anything other than on the dim side. These people would not expect a Playboy Playmate to be a successful businesswoman in any area other than, say, producing porn films or designing lingerie. So Agent Triple P feels that he should (whilst admittedly appreciating their charms) give kudos to a number of pin-up models who have gone on to something other than the singer/actress area.

Gloria M. Root was born on 28 May 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. A petite girl, 5'2" and seven and a half stone, she worked for a telephone company but left after doing Playboy and travelled to Greece with her Playboy fee and her boyfriend where she was imprisoned on a drugs charge (which she always claimed was a frame-up). On returning to the US she went to Rhode Island School of Design and received both a bachelor of fine arts and a bachelor of architecture. She moved to California and gained admission to UC Berkeley's School of Environmental Design, where she received a masters in architecture and a masters in city planning. Gloria established her own firm, Planning Analysis & Development, in San Francisco in 1980 which she headed until 1998 when she moved to New York. In New York, Gloria managed the Strategic Planning Services division of the large architectire firm, Skidmore Owings & Merrill. She returned to San Francisco in 2002 to become project manager of Auberge Resorts followed by a senior position with RBF Consulting. She also sat on many planning committees for the Mayor of San Francisco, and was a member of the Board of Directors of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research where she held positions on the Executive Committee and Advisory Committee.

She died of cancer on January 8 2006 and her obituary (which did not mention her Playboy appearance) noted that she was a foodie, a dancer, a skier, and a runner. "Of all her accomplishments, however, the power of Gloria's mind was the most remarkable. Few possessed her ability to probe and debate current events with such intellectual horsepower and insight".

So brava, Gloria, not only did you have just the sort of look and form that Agent Triple P likes but you dared to bare at a time when this was almost unheard of and then went on to make a successful career in a very technical area.

A pin-up with power!

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