She loves race cars and guns, but not makeup. Not exactly the qualities you’d expect from Playboy’s Miss July, but Jessa Hinton makes sure you know she’s not your average girly girl. The 27-year-old California native transplanted to Las Vegas on a whim six years ago, hoping to establish an identity for herself separate from her four siblings. As the eldest Hinton, she naturally took on the mother role, but was ready to branch out on her own. Before landing the Playmate gig, Hinton modeled for the Palms and served as hostess for live Top Rank Boxing and Victory Poker events. On the heels of her Playboy breakthrough, she has designed a swimwear line in partnership with Affliction, including women’s swimsuits and T-shirts. It is set to debut in August with Hinton herself acting as spokesmodel. The Playmate will be at the Palms on June 23-25 to host the Playboy Comedy Tour and sign copies of the July issue.
What is the question you get asked the most about posing?
If I feel that it will close doors for me, because I’m a host and a designer. People ask if it’s going to go against me. I do not think it is; it’s opened more doors. I guess I’m pretty. I’m not going to say I’m smoking hot, but to be a Playmate is an honor, and to have that and brains …
As an event host, you have conducted your fair share of interviews. How does it feel to be on the other side?
It’s very different. I was groomed by a couple of amazing mentors in the hosting field, so I’m just used to being on the other side of the interview. It’s refreshing but at the same time I have to catch myself and be honest and blunt. And if I need it to be censored, then people can censor, but I’m very raw, so that’s what you get with me.
What is something people may find surprising about you?
I rarely ever wear makeup or dress up in a dress. I’m always in sweats, jeans, no makeup and my hair in a ponytail. I’m the biggest tomboy. I play video games. I like to race cars. If I could do anything besides this, I would race motorcycles.
Sounds like you’re every guy’s dream.
I’m the person on the paintball field. I have a California ID and I’m trying to switch it over asap—because I can’t buy any guns in Nevada with my California ID—so I can start my gun collection. I’m telling you, I’m like the craziest girl you’ll probably ever meet.
Why did you choose to start your design career with swimwear?
Growing up I had one cup size bigger than the other. I was actually a small B and a very small C, so I always had to get one of those chicken cutlets or the bathing suit tops wouldn’t fit. Once I got my boobs fixed to the same size the bathing suits didn’t cover enough. I don’t like to show them off when I’m out in public or when I surf. When I surf, all my bathing suits I fall out of because I’m top heavy. I designed bathing suits with … the option to either cover more or have more skin showing. It’s for the everyday girl, but it’s definitely for the active lifestyle.
How is dating in Vegas different now that you’re a Playmate?
Well, I’m actually in a relationship. I’m openly bisexual, have been since I was 13 years old. That debuted in Playboy as well. It was kind of hard growing up because girls wouldn’t want to have a sleepover because they thought I was going to hit on them. I had a girlfriend for a little while, and I’ve been with my boyfriend who’s a former Navy Seal and pro poker player. He’s just as crazy as I am. One of the criteria I look for in a guy is he has to be able to quote every Will Ferrell movie.
What’s your favorite Will Ferrell quote?
“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m kind of a big deal.”