An obscure 19th Century poet named Coventry Patmore might well have presaged the appearance of Gwen Wong, our April playmate, when he wrote, "A woman is a foreign land." The exotic Miss Wong is, in fact, a startlingly beautiful blend of six nationalities: Chinese, Scottish, Spanish, Australian, Filipino and Irish.
A Cocktail Bunny at the Los Angeles Playboy Club, Gwen is a small (all of five feet) sensation in any language. Born in Manila during the latter part of World War Two, our Playmate-Bunny spent some of her infancy in Australia. (Gwen's mother, Doreen Wong, had been a popular pianist throughout the Orient, and she continued her nightclub career in the U.S. after the family moved to San Francisco in 1949.)
An expert cook, Miss April is equally adept at whipping up wor shew opp, scungilli or boeuf Bourguignonne. "Cooking has almost become a mania with me," she says. "I collect cookbooks the same way people collect LPs."
Before becoming a Bunny, Gwen studied painting and ceramics at California's El Camino Junior College. "Frankly," she says, "most modern art confuses me, although I wouldn't classify myself as a traditionalist. I try not to be swayed by other people's opinions when visiting a gallery, but that's not always easy. I like to think if a canvas is good I'll know it -- because, well, I'll feel it." Gwen paints whenever she gets the chance. "But since I've become a Bunny," she says, "my life has become very hectic and I don't do nearly enough."
Miss Wong is also a jazznik and prefers the singing of Morgana King and Ella Fitzgerald among at least a score of recording artists she admires.
Tentatively planning a summer trip to Europe (with friend and fellow Los Angeles Bunny Marilyn), Gwen would eventually like to see all the capitals. "But," she says, "I won't be staying in Europe for more than a month, so I'll probably spend most of my time in the city that fascinates me the most: Paris. I also plan to visit France's wine districts while I'm there."
Although she could easily break into films, Miss April is not interested in a show-business career. "I'll admit it -- I'd like to get married," she says. Gwen is a domestic kind of girl: her idea of an ideal date is a stay-at-home dinner for two. "And I'll do the cooking -- French or Chinese food, probably, and perhaps afterward a film. But the important thing is to be with a man with whom I can relax and enjoy myself by being myself."
While Miss Wong awaits Mr. Right, she is more than happy to continue serving as a Bunny -- and the Los Angeles Playboy Club patrons will be even happier to hear that their favorite fortune cookie isn't about to split.
---- Photography by Mario Casilli and Gene Trindl
A home with a family.
Arranging flowers and putting them all over the house.
The people who hang around Sunset who have no aim in life.
"Siddhartha," cookbooks and art magazines.
I'm a Bunny at the Playboy Club in Los Angeles.
My mother was a radio announcer during the war and also a pianist who worked in nightclubs all over the Orient, Australia and the U.S. We moved from Manila to Sydney and then to the U.S. (when I was seven).
"Juliet of the Spirits," "Wild Strawberries."
Oscar Brown Jr.
MY IDEAL MAN
Knows how to make a woman feel like a woman.
MY FRIENDS KNOW
I'm quiet and very curious.