Rebekka Armstrong

Rebekka Armstrong grew up in a spartan home in the Mojave desert. A tomboy, she was a talented driver of desert racers and wanted to be a professional motorcross driver. But at 16, problems at home forced her out. She quit racing and dropped out of school. It was at the same age that Armstrong decided she wanted to pose for Playboy. A family friend with connections to the magazine arranged an interview with she eventually become Miss September 1986. Though she had the sexual admiration of men, Armstrong had a secret: She was bisexual. She picked up strippers, did drugs, and had boyfriends. She probably got AIDS at age 16, and the diagnosis several years later sent her into a destructive phase until her younger brother hid her drug of choice, speed. Jolted out of her descent, Rebekka changed her lifestyle, started taking care of her health, and decided to come out of the closet and tell kids that they can get HIV at a young age, like she did. With some funding from Playboy, she lectures at schools, sometimes having to endure protestors who think a playmate with AIDS is the wrong role model. But Armstrong knows she's doing the right thing and why. It's for the young women who might be in the situation she was in. There always might be one like her in the audience. "I don't want her to be infected," Armstrong says, "I don't want her to be alone, either."

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