While many women her age are dealing with a midlife crisis, 44-year-old Victoria Jacobs says she is enjoying the best and what may be the wildest years of her life.
The North Hollywood grandmother is on the cover of this month's issue of Playboy magazine.
"I want people to feel good about this age and if they haven't reached this age, I want them to look forward to it," Jacobs says. "I think it's important to take chances and not have regrets that you let life pass you by."
Jacobs, an exuberant brunet, has found new energy since Playboy thrust her into celebrity status. Six talk shows have called, and even the British press has taken notice.
The local newspaper and television station in Jacobs' native Davenport, Iowa, where her parents still reside, have done features on the family since the February Playboy hit the stands.
Jacobs, a former bartender, was approached by Playboy editors after she sent in photos for the magazine's 40th anniversary issue--which features "Fabulous Forties." Jacobs had never modeled. But before she left the audition with representatives from the magazine, they told her she had the job.
Her enthusiasm is evident as she scurries back and forth in her spacious three-bedroom home, finalizing plans for a photo shoot in Alabama.
One of eight siblings, Jacobs says the death of her older sister, Gloria, last summer also was a motivation for her to begin living life to the fullest. Her only son Jason, 23, has been supportive, but since appearing on talk shows all over the country--including "Donahue," "Suzanne Sommers" and "Leeza"--she has not seen much of her 1-year-old granddaughter, Amanda.
Jacobs separated from her husband 5 1/2 years ago after a 19-year marriage and her boyfriend, Michael, is much younger than she is, she says.
Suddenly, she says, she has a new batch of friends. "My phone does not stop ringing," she says after a short conversation on her cellular.
Jacobs is a health nut. Before moving to North Hollywood in 1980, she managed a health club in Davenport, and now plans to make a workout tape. "Younger girls come up to me and say they want to look like me when they're older," she says.
Standing a petite 5-feet-2, she weighs in at 100 pounds. She doesn't eat red meat and most of her diet is fat-free. "I like to run and work out. Lately, I've been using free weights and I just started kick boxing."
Playboy's February issue is on display on a center table in her living room. She loves plants. The grounds of her house are decorated with lemon, orange and kumquat trees. "That's me," she says, while listening to an oldies station, as hits from the '50s and '60s blare. She is a Frank Sinatra fan.
Her home has a seraphic motif--with angels, crosses and dried flowers decorating most of the walls. "I love angels and crosses. When I'm at home, I feel like I'm in heaven," says Jacobs, a devout Catholic. One of her dreams is to travel Europe and visit the Vatican.
And what about people who think it's improper for anyone to appear in Playboy? "As long as it brings me happiness I don't really care," she says. "I just hope it leaves an effect on people my age knowing you can do anything you want to do and you shouldn't have to lie about it."