For India Allen, life has offered up very few surprises - which, when you think about it, is one of the logical benefits of having a psychic for a mother. "My mom is a really good psychic," India says. "She has always told me, 'Your picture is going to be seen everywhere.' In high school I didn't believe her, because I was very tall and real thin." But Mom, a full-blooded Algonquin Indian who has looked into the future for various celebrities and has attempted to help police solve crimes, was more specific -- she even "saw" her daughter's pictures on these pages and urged her to try out as a Playmate as soon as India turned 18. "I didn't have much self-confidence then," admits India, who's now 22. "My mom thought I had a pretty body, but I was chicken." But four years of modeling all over the United States and Europe "has really toughened me up," she says. "It's amazing that being rejected can give you so much confidence, but I've got all the confidence in the world now."
Still, India didn't give much thought to Playboy, despite Mom's early-warning system. The idea resurfaced when her agent sent her to do a small role in a short film parody of Beverly Hills Cop II, playing, appropriately enough, a Playmate in the Playboy Mansion West scene. One of the other actresses, who was perhaps overqualified for the part, was Monique St. Pierre, Playboy's Playmate of the Year in 1979. Even though India and Monique became fast friends during the shoot, India was stunned when one of the producers mentioned Monique's stint as P.M.O.Y., and even more surprised when he suggested that India should consider giving Playboy a call. India turned to Monique for advice, and Monique, after looking through India's portfolio of modeling assignments, turned from friend to unofficial agent, taking her to Playboy's West Coast photo studios on Sunset Boulevard for test shots.
"Once I walked through the doors at Playboy, I felt as if this is where I belonged," says India. "It was really weird." There's been no flak from other quarters, either. Her mother, naturally, is thrilled; her father, who took some of the early photos that helped launch her modeling career, is equally pleased. And her fiancé, veterinarian Bill Garfield, surprised India with his enthusiastic support. "He's a real health fanatic," she says. "That's why he has such a good attitude about it - he's such a body person. His body's perfect." So, apparently, are his scruples - the pair met when India was 18 and he was 35, an age gap so large that he refused to date her. It was only after four years of long-distance friendship that he reconsidered. They now live together and plan to marry in the spring. Once again, India's mom saw it coming. "She always hinted that we would end up together," says India. And, as we have discovered, mothers definitely know best.