Earlier this year, Northeast native Val Keil was your average young woman in Philadelphia, juggling bar jobs and getting hit on by Bernie Parent. Now, the 22-year-old is Playboy’s Miss August, living in Los Angeles and a regular at Hef’s place. Keil is scheduled to fly home today for an appearance this Thursday at Steven Singer Jewelers with Sportsradio 94 WIP that involves a very large bubble bath. Before her triumphant return, the reigning Playmate called in to reveal how the Torresdale Frankford Country Club prepared her for being a centerfold, how she deals with guys in L.A., and what she has in common with Woody from Toy Story.
Are you in L.A. full-time now?
I am. I live right near the mansion. I moved here a few months ago after being accepted as a Playmate. I’m at the mansion a lot. I head over there for game night, movie night, I eat dinner with Hef.
Is that strange?
Yeah, I think about that sometimes. It’s such an honor. I’ll see the tour buses stop at the mansion and they want to see who’s going in. Just about a year ago, I came out to California for the first time and I was on the tour bus. Now it’s just a part of my life.
What happens at dinner? Are there 50 girls and 10 courses of food?
You have a certain time you’re allowed to come to the mansion. Dinner starts at 5:30 and it’s a buffet. You mingle with people. At the main table, there’s some specific seats for people — Hef has his seat, Crystal [Harris, Hef’s wife] has her seat. But you sit around and talk. It’s always a good time. You would think it’s a lot of half-naked girls. It’s really not. You feel like one big family.
What’s a day in the life of Miss August like?
I have this interview and today I’ll be playing a showgirl on CSI. It’s crazy because my plans change so quick. I got this call to be on CSI last night.
Before you left town, you made the rounds of the local media — Fox’s Good Day Philadelphia show, Preston & Steve, the sports talk stations. Which was your favorite?
I like being on TV because in high school, I was scared to death to get up and talk in front of people. Being a Playmate, I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it. The first time they put the camera on me, I was shaking. Now it’s just normal. I’m very proud of myself.
Out of all those interviewers, who was the biggest douchebag?
The biggest douchebag? I don’t think there was a douchebag. They were all cool. After I did Fox, I got a lot of comments saying he [host Mike Jerrick] was really grilling me about posing naked. I didn’t even notice.
What prompted you to send your photos to Playboy?
It was more on a whim. I had so many people telling me I should get into modeling. I’d get it every day. I worked at three bars where it’s mostly guys around — of course they’re going to tell me I’m beautiful once they get some drinks in them. [laughs] I sent some pictures into Playboy.com and I laid down to take a nap and my phone starts ringing. It’s a call from Beverly Hills.
That same day?
It was within hours. One of the editors told me it was amazing how quickly they got back to me. They get hundreds of thousands of submissions.
One of your old jobs was bartending at Xfinity Live, right?
Well, I bartended at Reedy’s Tavern [on Frankford Avenue], I was a beverage cart girl at Torresdale Frankford Country Club and I was a Buckle Bunny at PBR [the mechanical bull joint at Xfinity Live].
Did standing in front of a room full of people in assless chaps prepare you for being a Playmate?
Yeah. It definitely did. I think every one of my jobs helped me. I thought I’d have to walk around half-naked all the time.
You were probably more naked at Xfinity Live than at the mansion.
Yep. I wear comfy clothes. But at PBR, I was dancing around in tiny outfits. That gave me confidence. Bartending at Reedy’s gave me confidence to handle myself in front of pushy men trying to give me drinks or get my number. And the country club was private and I was around rich men, and going to the mansion I thought there’s going to be a lot of rich people and celebrities. I thought, “I’m ok with that. I worked at Torresdale Frankford Country Club and I’m around people like that all of the time.”
Did you have any run-ins with horny or drunk athletes or sportscasters at the PBR Bar?
I met the Flyers. They were really cool to me. Then they started getting overwhelmed with everyone taking pictures and started getting really short with me. But it was fine. And Bernie Parent is awesome. He’s always at Xfinity. The first time I met him was the grand opening and I’m dancing in my chaps and Bernie comes up to me. I’m like, “Oh God, this guy must be someone famous.” He shows me his hockey ring. I’m like, “It’s really nice. What’s that for?” My step-dad thought that was hilarious. That happens to me in L.A. too.
Who have you met that you didn’t recognize?
Emile Hirsch. We were at a party and he said he acts, but he was cool. He wasn’t giving out too much information.
How are guys different in L.A. than back home?
A lot of guys I’ve encountered in L.A. have money and they expect you to be all about them, but that’s not the case for me. It’s more annoying than anything. I have guys texting and calling me — I should have never given them my number. They’re like, “Do you want to go to Jamaica? Do you want to go to the Dominican Republic? I’ll send a limo to pick you up.” I don’t do that. Especially right now, I’m talking to someone and really like him, so I’m not going to waste my time on that.
Philly guy or West Coast guy?
Someone I met out here.
Did you later find out he’s a Super Bowl-winning quarterback or he won an Oscar?
[Laughs] No. That would be great, though. There’s more to learn, I guess. He’s probably not as nice as he seems, like all those other L.A. dudes.
Sounds like you’re catching on fast. Tell me about the video of you driving across the country.
I had a plan to fly out to L.A., but I thought why not just drive and make it an experience? My mom thought it would be great to do it together, so we drove and she filmed most of the videos in that clip. That will be one of my playmate episodes. In one of the clips, I’m riding a mechanical bull in a bar in Texas, like I did at PBR. I also got a tattoo.
What is it?
It’s a Playboy bunny. It’s on the bottom of my foot so you can’t really see it. It’s kind of funny because you’re branded, like Woody in Toy Story has “Andy” on his foot. [laughs]
You may be the first person to compare being a Playmate to Toy Story. Do people pick up on your Philly accent and ask where you’re from?
Yeah.. I know some people want to lose their accents. I’m keeping it.
So if CSI offers you a regular role or Emile Hirsch wants you in his next movie, but you have to ditch the accent, you’re going to tell them no can do?
Oh, no. You’re right. I’ll work on it for a film.