By Todd Matthy
Jessa Hinton is more then just a pretty face. Not only is she Playboy’s Miss July who’s fun and personable, she’s also a driven, ambitious, and entrepreneurial young lady. She not only does interviews for “Top Rank Boxing” but is creating her own fashion line. Add in all her personal appearances and you have one busy girl. It was very exciting that she found the time to talk to me last week about her being Miss July, upcoming projects, and whether she prefers UFC to Boxing.
How does it feel to be Playboy’s Ms. July? Is there any pressure?
No, just a busy schedule. I’m working from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, but I’m not complaining! Just being a part of Playboy is awesome. The other Playmates have been so supportive of everything I do. It’s like my second family when I’m in L.A.
How were you chosen? What’s the process?
You can go to a casting call. You can submit pictures. You can be scouted. But, how I was chosen was a friend, who is a former playmate, submitted my pictures. I went down and tested after Playboy approved the pictures. Hef has the final say, and if he thinks, “Wow, we like your look” then you go ahead, shoot your pictorial, and are made a Playmate.
Were you nervous during the pictorial?
The first day, yeah. The first day I wanted the whole “candles, romantic setting, slowly take off your bra” atmosphere. But it was more like, “Alright we got your headshot. Clothes off, lets go!” and I’m like, “What? Huh?” From there you know everybody. The photographers and make-up artists you know by name; everybody’s there to make you look good. It’s kind of more comfortable than when you’re doing a regular photo shoot where you’re rushed and people are picking at you. You do what you need to do to feel comfortable and everybody supports how you’re handling the situation.
Was this the first time you posed nude?
Yes. Playboy’s the first time I posed nude. I’m more comfortable with my body now because I learned what positions not to sit in and what positions make me look better. Playboy’s the only company I’ll pose for nude.
Were you nervous?
Every girl’s nervous. I think every guy would be nervous, getting naked in front of ten people and having them stare at your stuff! But, Playboy was the right choice because everyone’s there for the same goal: to make you look like a rock star. They want you to look drop dead gorgeous. Like I said, the first day was kind of nerve racking but after a couple of hours, your fine. You totally forget you have no clothes on. Seriously.
Yeah, it’s weird. You get up to go have lunch and everyone’s putting robes on you.
Can you give us some “Playmate etiquette” for talking to a Playmate?
I’ve never had any issues with people being rude. But to give you guys a heads up about how to complement me: go with something honest. If a Playmate has brown eyes don’t say her eyes are beautiful because she’s heard it before. You have to have an honest complement because girls respond to that. Playmates have been modeling for so long that we already know what our best attributes are. So, give us an honest complement and you will probably get a good conversation out of us.
What are your favorite topics for small talk?
I am the biggest movie quoter. I could quote movies all day, every day. The movie has to have Will Ferrell in it. Everybody laughs and says “Yeah. Ok. Right.” Seriously, my family and I will sit there at the dinner table and will not say one word except for movie quotes. My Mom is looking at me like, “What are you guys talking about?” My brothers and I get it and my Dad sort of gets it. “Old School,” “Anchorman,” anything like that I will pick up. If a guy came up and said anything from “Anchorman” or “Talladega Nights,” I would just be in love. That would be the best thing ever.
What’s your favorite Will Ferrell movie?
“Step Brothers,” hands down. That’s the only movie I could watch over and over again and laugh like it was the first time I ever saw it.
I like “Anchorman,” personally.
I started to get into that. The first time I watched it, I hated it. Then I watched it again and thought, “You know what? They had something going on with this.” Now it’s my third favorite behind “Old School” because “Old School” is coming in real close for second.
There’s some controversy surrounding your issue. Do you feel the controversy surrounding Crystal Harris and Hef’s break-up has overshadowed your pictorial?
Hmmm. That is interesting. At a signing I had a bunch of girls come up to me crying, asking why I would leave Hef. They thought I was Crystal. There was some confusion because we’re both blondes but I don’t think it’s overshadowing. The break up is getting press, that’s for sure. And the issue is a collector’s item so to be a part of that is kind of a complement. People are already coming up to me while I’m walking down the street and saying “You’re Miss July.” So the controversy hasn’t been an issue for me and hopefully it won’t become one.
What is the consensus on Crystal amongst the Playmates?
When she was living with Hef, we would all come over and she was super cool. She wasn’t mean or rude to anybody. Hef and she had their little cozy area where they’d get together at dinner or for a movie night. But then, again, Hef is so busy that we don’t see what goes on. Besides that, to the best of our knowledge, everything was fine. The break up was only a couple of days before the wedding. We all had thought everything was okay. But if she or he decided to have a change of heart that’s their business and they should do whatever makes them happy.
Do you know Hef’s new girlfriend, Anna Sophia Berglund?
I’ve met her briefly at “Playmate of the Year.” I’ve been working so much that I only met her that once. She seemed super sweet so I’m excited to go back down there for the Fourth of July and hang out with her.
You are currently hosting the “Top Rank Boxing” show. How did you land that gig?
My manager (and a good friend) is one of the main producers for “Top Rank Boxing.” He saw my reel for “Victory Poker” and saw how I interacted with people on a day-to-day basis and said I’d be great. I’m more UFC-but I grew up watching “Sugar” Shane Mosley. I liked Floyd Mayweather and have met him a couple of times, so I said, “Ok, I’ll try it.” My first interview for “Top Rank Boxing” was “Sugar” Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquio before their fight. They said they really liked me and wanted me back. There aren’t too many female boxing hosts. It was a complement to be taken seriously by people who want to make boxing male-dominated but still wanted to have this blond-haired, five-foot nine, big-boobed girl interview all these Hall of Famers and fans. I couldn’t say no. As soon as Playboy is gearing down I’ll probably go back and do that more consistently.
Have you met Tyson?
No, I haven’t. But that tattoo man, come on! I would die if I got to meet him. I’m pretty sure I will eventually. He’s on my list of celebs I’d like to meet.
Would you care to call Floyd Mayweather out to fight Manny Pacquio?
We opened up the press conference (for the Mosley/Pacquio fight) to the fans and every other question was “Manny, when are you going to fight Floyd?” It would be the biggest fight to date! Do you know how much money those guys would make? The fans would just die. But I really, honestly, don’t think it’s going to happen, which sucks.
Why do you think it won’t happen?
Because I don’t think they need money that bad. Mayweather makes money off of every fight he does that’s Pay Per View. He has some rights to that. He doesn’t really have to worry about it. Manny’s running for the government of the Philippines. I believe he’s already a senator so that’s his next step. You choose your battles and right now they don’t need to.
What do you think boxing needs to do to reclaim the audience that’s gone over to MMA?
Boxing is a different crowd. I’ve been to UFC fights and the crowd is way different. I don’t know if it really needs to do anything. Boxing still sells out. UFC fights are still trying hard to fill the stands. Boxing, no matter what fight, gets fans from all over. I don’t think they really need to do anything unless they want to make it younger. With Bob (the producer) still in charge, he wants to make it classier and geared towards older fans. So if they want to make it younger: bring in some young ring girls, have some hot hosts, and have more Ariany Celestes and you‘ll have the UFC crowd.
Turn on’s and turn offs?
Turn on’s are competent guys or girls. I like people that believe in themselves. Because I’m so motivated in life from the time I wake up, I just want to be around people that are not lazy and can actually hold a conversation, people that have a great sense of humor, and people that are athletic. I like people I can go running or mountain biking with. Somebody that’s not just going to sit on the couch all day, watch TV, and play video games. I guess you can use that for dislikes as well. I don’t like overly cocky guys that make girls feel like shit, guys that always have to remind the girl how good looking they are. I’ve dated those guys and it’s not fun. And then…let me think…people that are boring, again somebody who can’t hold a conversation, I don’t like that.
In your article you mentioned that you want to have a TV series and a fashion line. What type of TV show would you have?
A travel/adventure show. I want to interview all the upcoming snowboarders and other people who are athletic and want to jump off a cliff. I don’t just want to be the host; I want to participate in every activity that they do. I want to go skydiving, mountain biking down some crazy, gnarly, hills. I want to be a part of the show as well as its host. I don’t want it to be celebrities; I want it to be about the new up-and- coming athlete and have the show be their debut and give them the chance they wouldn’t normally. They’d have to send pictures and submit videos. I want the world to discover who these talented athletic people are.
What type of fashion line would you design?
I just teamed up with Affliction. I’m actually the new spokes-model and designer. I’m designing a lot of bikinis and t-shirts with them. I want to see where it goes from there. It’s hard for my body type (all the girls are going to go “Wonk! Wonk! Wonk”), but it’s hard to find anything that fits because I’m top heavy but tiny framed. For jeans, I have super long legs but no butt, so I have to get everything custom made and it’s a pain in the ass! So for girls who are working out and athletic but don’t fit standard sizes, clothes need to have more of a stretch fit so they can fit around our curves, not make us look boxy or like we’re choosing clothes that are too big. I want to take it to the next level and have everything pretty much stretchy, custom fit for girls that are tiny framed but have a top and don’t want things that look “stripperish.” We like to dress really classy but nothing is made for top-heavy girls who are tiny.
How long is the process from design to the clothes being on the rack?
It can take anywhere from three to six months depending on the production. Because I’m using the highest quality fabrics and sea crystals, my swimsuit line is taking quite a bit of time to get everything done the exact way I want it.
What are your upcoming projects and appearances? Are you coming to New York anytime soon?
Oh, hopefully! I’ll probably be there in mid-July. I’m designing a whole bunch of stuff with Affliction and will probably be doing a fashion show and debut in New York. So, my next project is launching a fashion line and doing a calendar for Affliction.
Thank you very much to Jessa Hinton for taking the time to speak with me. A big thank you to Playboy for setting up this interview. Jessa’s pictorial is in the July issue of Playboy on newsstands now. To learn more about Jessa and her projects check out her website here.