Interview by Thomas Brightman
Photographed by Joel Flora

Kim, you’ve made quite a career shift for yourself after you appeared as a Playmate in Playboy in 2009. In earlier days you saw yourself as a teacher and pursuing a liberal arts education. What brought about the shift for you? Or maybe that’s still a goal for you?
Before Playboy, I worked full-time at a Montessori school and saw myself staying in the care giving-teaching field, but at 21, I felt like I needed a change of pace. I wanted to travel and explore my creativity but it was impossible with the wages I earned as a caregiver. I wanted to have a fun job, feel young and make good money; instead of pouring every ounce of energy I had into a job that wasn’t really moving my life forward. I still feel, in my heart, that my life’s work will be for children but probably not in the classroom. I have the biggest respect for teachers and caregivers – they have the toughest, most important job but get treated like crap.

You were telling me about some of your favorite adventures that came about as a result of your “bunnyhood.” Trips to exotic destinations with the entourage, so to speak. Care to tell us a little more about some of your favorite moments?
My favorite moments are the spontaneous ones – the last minute bookings that send you somewhere from a dream like Cancun, Australia or Rio de Janeiro. Trips like this, in my experience, usually only last two or three days but you do a week’s worth of living and work: travel, fittings, press, photo shoots, parties, meet and greets, sight-seeing and sun bathing. You don’t sleep, you’re lucky if you get to nap, but you’re high on life and embrace the chaos. At least that’s what I do. When you get home, exhausted, you’ve made great memories and gotten to know the girls you work with a little better than before. My absolute favorite, I have to say, was a trip to Rio for Carnaval with Cooper Hefner and half a dozen bunnies. It was the best. We arrived at the airport in bunny costume, had a photo session on the tarmac, and then flew privately to Rio to host sponsor parties with an awesome view of the parade. Did I say it was the best? We stayed at the Copacabana (I didn’t know that was a real place, I thought it was just a song!) and you bet your ass we were all laying out by the pool every free second we had, drinking from coconuts. It’s all kind of a blur now, but I smile every time I reminisce :)

I think something that speaks to your journey to discover yourself is your decision to travel the World not long after. To Australia, France, even Spain by yourself. What did you discover about yourself?
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you have to step out of your comfort zone if you want to learn something new about yourself or the world around you. For me, one way of stepping out of my comfort zone is leaving home. In the last 3 1/2 years I’ve done more traveling than I ever thought I would. Every trip I take is a new adventure and a reality check. Cities like London, Paris and Barcelona made me step back and really appreciate art in it’s simplest forms. These cities have so much history and the architecture is mind blowing. But going to Spain by myself was a dumb idea, I admit it. I think I was trying to prove to myself that I could go anywhere without anybody’s help but what I really proved is that I can be a real brat. haha. I saw the sights I wanted to see and they were beautiful but it wasn’t as special as it would have been if I had someone to share it with.

Did you grow up knowing you had a love for travel, or did this realization occur after your publication in Playboy?
Disney movies may have ruined me. I always knew that there was “something more” out there besides just settling down in my small town. So, I guess I’ve always had a craving for adventure. As a teenager, I was terrified of flying but now I find it soothing. It feels so good to pack up a bag and head to the airport. “You’re going somewhere, kid.” Literally. LOL.

Do you get noticed as Kim Phillips from Playboy very often? When you travel is that ever an issue that comes up?
Not often. But I like it that way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely flattering when someone recognizes me. A fan reached out to me on Twitter recently saying he saw me at a bar but was too shy to say hi. I told him he should have, but at the same time I thought it was really polite of him to just let me enjoy my beer with my friends. And occasionally, people show up at the airport with pictures asking for autographs – which is a little uncomfortable because they’re usually naked pictures! But I can’t imagine being a celebrity that can’t go to the grocery store without being approached by fans or paparazzi. That has to be exhausting.

So where do you think you are headed Kim? Still exploring and open to new adventures?
I’m always open to new adventure! I have plans for a Springtime trip overseas but I don’t want to say where until the flights are booked :p Where am I headed? Up, up and away! haha. I love modeling and suiting up as a Playboy bunny and lately I’ve been taking random writing and cooking workshops for fun. I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I “grow up” and I’m having a blast figuring it all out!

Do you want to give a shout out to any projects, events, individuals you might be collaborating with in the recent past or near future?
Right now I am co-captain of the #Bunnies4theCure team. We are raising money for breast cancer awareness and research, you can find all of those details on my website www.misskimberlyphillips.com. A dream of mine is to work with PETA, so if any PETA reps are reading… let’s save some animals! :)
I’m also working on a life-collaboration… I’m recently engaged to the best man on the planet. Woohoo! (had to throw that out there. haha)

Tags: Kim Phillips, Plaboy Playmate September 2009, Playboy, Centerfold, Model, Lingerie, Bunny, Teacher, Education, Rio de Janeiro, Joel Flora Photography, Cooper Hefner