With all the news surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith, the car junkies over at Jalopnik were smart enough to write a headline that no doubt go many search engines to look their way, although it took a couple degrees of separation to find the link. Apparently the lawyer for Anna Nicole's mom has an impressive car collection.

Well, we can boast a one-time direct connection to the blonde bombshell herself, and also her direct connection to cool cars. Then named Vickie Smith, she appeared at the Hot Rod Nationals in Canfield, Ohio. I was there covering the show for an enthusiast magazine. I talked to her a few times in the hospitality area during the weekend. Even though she had roots in the Texas plains, I could tell she was bored with all Midwest yokels and their stupid giggles, sneers and proposals. At that time, she had not learned of either the Guess modeling job or the Playmate of the Year honors, but obviously she had higher aspirations than listening to some pimply kid from Indiana brag about his 327 El Camino.

Vickie was the quietest and most reserved of all the playmates I met at various car shows in those years. Just like the magazine photographers and writers had to take a break from working the show, so did the celebrities that the organizers brought in. We all congregated in the same rest area, usually some small air-conditioned office. We also took trips together off site to find a real restaurant and often shared rides to the airport. Other playmates like Pam Stein and Jennifer Jackson were very outgoing and gregarious. Vickie, however, went her own way all the time. Unless someone approached her, I remember she was usually by herself. But when you did talk to her, she was very pleasant, charming and undeniably beautiful.

I didn't follow her career much after the Guess ads. I never saw a single episode of her reality show but did notice her recent diet pill ads. I wish I could offer a more profound memorial at this point, but all I can say RIP.

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