Before reading this, you've probably already formulated your assumptions about Tisha Marie: She's a model, so she must be brainless, and she's done nude modeling, which means she must be promiscuous. The truth is, however, she's neither of the above. Marie has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Oklahoma, she's never considered adult film offers (so quit asking), and the stunner maintains a strictly professional relationship with the rappers whose videos she works on, including Snoop Dogg and Young Jeezy.
With the honor of being the 12th African American featured on the cover of Playboy, the February 2011 Playmate has become one of the most hotly requested models in the industry. We recently had a chance to sit down with Marie inside the Complex office to catch up on all of her career moves, from playing in the Lingerie Football League to fitness modeling and becoming a video vixen.
Interview by Tara Aquino (@t_akino)
How did you first break into modeling?
There’s a lot of land in Oklahoma, so I would do just do different photo shoots, like go on farms and do sexy tractor girl type stuff. Modeling was kind of a hobby for me, but I started off styling some of my friends with my clothes and putting them in poses. I would direct photo shoots.
I started doing pageants, then I had my baby, so I couldn’t do qualifiers for Miss Oklahoma or anything anymore because of the law on that. So, I went into fitness modeling and competed in that. Then, I began working as an MMA ring card girl along with doing fitness competitions. That was just the beginning.
How did you get discovered?
I just traveled and found my niche in different places. I don’t think I was ever discovered. I just worked really hard networking and putting myself in the right position by acclimating to different types of modeling.
So then how did you get in touch with Playboy?
Well, I have two degrees from the University of Oklahoma, and while I was finishing my masters program, I decided to move to Dallas and do an internship with Interceramic Tiles. While I was working under the CEO there, I wanted to be a Dallas Mavericks or Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. It just so happened that I missed the deadline for becoming a Cowboys cheerleader. I like to work out in different ways, like I'd box and do jiu jitsu in Oklahoma, so, I wanted to do a different type of workout when I moved to Dallas. There, I met a few girls that play football. For a workout, I would just go to football practice with them.
I liked it so much that I was torn. On the same day of tryouts for football was the same day of tryouts for the Mavericks cheerleaders. The Mavericks cheerleaders, however, would’ve been a really short tryout, with less energy and less challenging. It was more of a challenge for me to see if I could play seven-on-seven tackle, make the cut, and make the team. It was 107 degrees outdoors; the other was indoors. To me, I like to challenge myself, my body and my mind. It was a really hard tryout but I made it!
I watched some highlights from Lingerie Football League and it looks pretty intense.
It is! Even practice is super intense. Girls are completely different than guys. Say a girl doesn’t like you, she might try to make you look bad on the field or make it look like you don’t know your plays. It’s like a battlefield, and I felt it every day.
When you’re playing, you’re literally just in padding and lingerie. Have you ever gotten any serious injuries?
Yeah, even at practice, when we just started playing, three girls dislocated their shoulders. If you hit the wrong way or tackle the wrong way, it’s just something that happens. They ended up being inactive for that season. I only played that one year for Dallas Desire but, considering the risk of injuries, the amount of money we don’t make and the type of insurance they don’t provide us with, to me, that just didn’t go hand in hand with being a single parent mom. I just had to cut ties with that.
But while I was on the team, Playboy was going to do a Lingerie Bowl Edition for their February cover spread and Superbowl is February, as well. They sent an e-mail out to all the girls and I didn’t send the e-mail back to respond right away. But when I got that phone call from the commissioner of the Lingerie Football League's sister, saying, “Playboy chose you, and if you don’t want the position, then we’ll go to someone else on the team. Do you want to do this?” I said, “Of course.”
I almost did the Playboy College Edition in 2006, but I just had my baby three months before that. So, while I was about to shoot, I kind of started milking. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m embarrassed! I don’t want to do it! I’ll just wait!” But then it eventually happened.
I always wanted to be a part of Playboy. I’ve had Playboy everything in my room since I was in high school. When I was 16, I got my Playboy bunny tattoo on my hip; it’s actually in my high school yearbook. We had an anonymous tattoos section for all the seniors, so it’s pretty much been known that I’m a Playboy person.
How did your life change after you became a cover model?
I don’t think it really changed—it just evolved. It was a blessing because I am the 12th African-American woman to be on the cover and it’s been 58 years this year, I believe. Hef has so many magazines and TV shows and all of those other things that for me to be on the main cover, I’m really just excited about that.
When you shot that cover, did you also get to meet Hugh Hefner?
Yeah, we actually lived in the house. One girl from each team—there were ten teams at the time—all went out there. We would shoot five girls one day, all ten girls the next day, then five other girls the next day. We had a lot of fun. I called a promoter and me and a couple of the girls snuck out of the mansion and went out to a club during the week that we stayed there. We would have dinner with Hef and the playmates and his (now) ex-fiance. I think this was the first or second week of November 2010.
I haven’t met one person within ten years of my age whom I feel I'm going to work out a relationship with. I need someone older.
What a lot of people don’t know is that I’m not only in the February 2011 cover, I’m also in the next two issues with just different pictures. The March issue has a candid picture of me and the other girls in his house with him with a little write-up of our stay there. The next month, because so many people were writing and saying they loved me, they put an editorial picture of me with a fan letter up. They were like, “Move over, Beyonce!” I was like, “What? Beyonce? Are you crazy?” [Laughs.] But it’s been a great experience.
Given your large fan base, do you ever receive any bizarre requests or gifts from people?
I’ve had gifts sent to my house. I had a personal shopper from Neiman Marcus come deliver me shoes from one of the fans, the Texas Rangers’ owner’s son. We actually ran into each other one time at an event and I exchanged my card with him in case there was any more events. One day, he called me and was like, “Do you know who’s on the fucking cover of my Playboy magazine? Why didn’t you tell me you were modeling for Playboy?” And I was like, “Well, it’s now just coming out.” The day it came out, he just sent that personal shopper to me. He just sent me a gift to be nice.
A lot of people have bought my autographed Playboy issues because I sell them on my website Tisha Marie Online. I write special messages to my fans and mail them out. I love all of my fans regardless of how they met me or what not.