Six years after Playboy founder Hugh Hefner had died, attorney, ex-playboy model, and San Antonio Native Rebecca Gonzalez, recalls what she says was a great chapter of her life.

SAN ANTONIO–  Local divorce and family law attorney Rebecca Gonzalez, attended St. Mary’s University school of law, and by the age of 35 was already a lawyer working at a pharmaceutical company jumping head first into a world that is vastly different from that of San Antonio’s.    By the year 2000, one of the first searches for Playboy models in the San Antonio area, Gonzalez was selected to be featured in the Latin ladies issue, making her the oldest playmate to ever be chosen.     This would make Gonzalez the first mature Latina playmate to exist in the Latin ladies issue of Playboy magazine.     “What I thought was so weird, is all they choose off of is just a polaroid,” Gonzalez said.     Gonzalez would travel from San Antonio once a month to photoshoot locations and said that Playboy would provide a place for her to stay since she was one of the playmates who had to consistently travel.     “Back then it was very strict, your body had to be perfect,” Gonzalez said.     Gonzalez mentioned at that time, Hugh Hefner, Playboy’s founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, had the ultimate say about who was featured  and some girls would be sent home if they didn’t look photo ready come picture time.     “They didn’t like this or they don’t like that, your hair isn’t the right color, I mean anything, they could never decide on it,” Gonzalez said.    She also mentioned that Hugh Hefner could never decide on what looked right.    “He tried to make me blonde, that didn’t look right, and it would kind of be more of a reddish-brown,” Gonzalez said.  
Rebecca Gonzalez pictured on the left alongside Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner
“2003 was a good time because you still got to know him,” Gonzalez said.     Gonzalez and Hugh were photographed every now and then together and she said they would talk about everything from business to politics due to the fact that Gonzalez had already worked with a pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, and in the legal field.     “He was smart, he could be funny, I don’t know how he had energy,” Gonzalez said.   “I was just older, I could talk to him about the magazine, or talk to him about his opinions on this or that and the brown book, and talk to him in a more mature way than what they could,” Gonzalez said.     While on the topic of meeting Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriends at the time, who starred on the reality TV show “The Girls Next Door,” Gonzalez said that she was friends with them, but didn’t want to be a part of what they were doing.     The Girls Next Door garnered huge popularity at the time, due to it giving the world a view of what life was like for playmates living in the Playboy mansion, while also focusing on three of Hugh’s ex-girlfriends and playmates.  
Gonzalez, Hugh Hefner, and Girls Next Door star, Holly Madison
“I mean, that was their thing you know?,” Gonzalez said.     However, according to Gonzalez, some playmates, like The Girls Next Door stars, Bridget Marquadt, Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson were welcoming and kind, but some were not.    Gonzalez said cattiness was everywhere, and said that she feels to this day women still have a hard time supporting women.     “I think when you’re out there, the women are all threatened by everybody, that’s how women are,” Gonzalez said.     Gonzalez said that she also attended various large parties and events that Playboy had thrown.    “I had a good time, and I met a lot of different people, and some that I’m still friends with,” Gonzalez said.  
Gonzalez pictured on the far left alongside Hef and other ex-playmates
Gonzalez had even met the renowned reality TV star, model, and playmate of the year 1996, Anna Nicole Smith    “I met her one time, and she looked really good. She had gained a lot of weight, lost a lot of weight and she looked really good. She was beautiful,” Gonzalez said.     Gonzalez was also Miss January 2003.  
From one of Gonzalez’ pictorials in Playboy Magazine
“It was different, it was fun, it was totally different than San Antonio,” she said.     Gonzalez said that she had experience working for six different companies, went straight from studying law and obtaining her B.B.A in finance to obtaining her J.D. which led her to working at her first law firm.      Gonzalez described that this and Playboy were a lot to manage at the time.     “I was working for a top ten firm, got sick of it, was working for Pfizer, and then started doing that {Playboy} so, it was a lot, but it was cool, you know?,” Gonzalez said.     Gonzalez had come from a well-known family in the San Antonio area, being the granddaughter of the now retired Henry B. Gonzalez, Texas’ first Mexican-American congressman.     “As a child, my grandfather Henry B. Gonzalez, instilled in me an overriding belief in the importance of dedication, commitment and service to others,” as her law firm website states.     As far as support went for her decision to pose for Playboy, Gonzalez mentioned that the support she received from her family was mixed but either way, she was strong-headed about what she wanted to do.    “I wanted to do it, and I did it, and that’s the end of it,” Gonzalez said.      With a laugh, Gonzalez said,    “I always had the philosophy of apologize later if you’re gonna apologize at all.”    Not only does she own her own law firm in the local area, but Gonzalez was also featured on SA Monthly’s Inspiring Women’s Book in 2019, which recognizes San Antonio’s most successful and inspiring women. “I had already done a lot, and that [Playboy] was something that was just you know, an add on, and honestly a great chapter of my life,” Gonzalez said.     Gonzalez said that Playboy wasn’t as diverse at the time, and that when she was chosen to model, that was the first time that they had come to San Antonio in search of latina women to photograph.     “I was the oldest one, and I think I still am,” Gonzalez said.     “It was a great chapter of my life, it was fun, it was so different than living in San Antonio, and I knew it was just another chapter, I mean, that’s what life is,” Gonzalez said.     According to Playboy’s official website, and under Rebecca’s biography, a quote is left that speaks on who Gonzalez truly is.    “I’m most proud of my education, my independence and my family’s accomplishments in politics,” the statement reads.     Gonzalez was not only the first mature Latina Playmate from San Antonio, but she is also an active attorney with her own law firm, who grew up around renowned politicians, attorneys and judges; people who have devoted their lives to helping others individually and as a whole.     Gonzalez fondly remembers her experiences, but has made it her mission to carry on the legacy like that of her grandfather, Henry B. Gonzalez, who served for nearly four decades as a U.S. congressman.     After her time working with Playboy and Pfizer, she returned to the legal world in 2010, starting her own law practice in a simple office-sharing arrangement.      Once she reacclimated to the legal world, Gonzalez moved on to start her own law practice  which focuses solely on family law matters.    Gonzalez has learned through experience that having an online presence is important, as she focuses most of her time now on marketing, formulating innovative methods to continue to keep her business healthy.    Most importantly, she wants to continue to provide her clients with the legal services they seek, and be actively there for them in their most desperate times.     Her words of advice to young women today are to put the time and effort into accomplishing what they really want too.    Gonzalez also added that for Latina women, companies and jobs are looking to hire diversity now more than ever, but putting the work in and dedicating time towards working towards your goals is of the utmost importance.    She also noted that you should never be afraid to take a chance or change direction with your career or life, you never know what may happen for you.  
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