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Karen McDougal is a mix of Cherokee Indian and Irish descent. Growing up, she studied ballet and dreamed of becoming a ballerina. She also enjoyed tap dancing and was a brownie.
In high school, Karen McDougal was a cheerleader, and a member of the color guard. She also played volleyball, softball, and played clarinet in band. Her high school nickname was “Barbie” because she was considered wholesome and sweet. She graduated high school in 1989 and then attended Ferris State University at Big Rapids, Michigan.
Karen McDougal used to teach pre-kindergarten before she won a swimwear competition (the Venus Swimwear International Model Search.) From there, she worked as a glamour and swimsuit model. Playboy noticed her and invited her to a test shoot. At first, her family was not supportive of her decision to pose, but they later came around.
As a winner of Playmate of the Year, she won $100,000 and a car. She said her imperfections are her “funny” smile, her crooked pinkies and ugly feet.
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Since Playboy, Karen McDougal has become a fitness model and was the first woman to appear on the cover of Men’s Fitness. She’s also been in Muscle & Fitness and Iron Man. Though she was swimsuit model, she doesn’t swim due to aquaphobia.
In 2001, Karen McDougal starred in a direct-to-video film “The Arena.” That same year, Playboy readers voted her the #2 Playmate of the 90s. In 2002, Playboy released a doll based on her likeness. In 2007, Karen was romantically linked with actor Bruce Willis. The couple has since broken up.
Aside from modeling, she collects motorcycles and cars. She admitted to being a chocoholic, though she works out at least 3 times a week, if not more, to stay in shape. Karen McDougal is currently single and resides in Arizona.