Who Is Raquel Pomplun? 5 Things to Know About the 2013 Playboy Playmate of the Year

 Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

It’s been 53 years since the first Playboy Playmate of the Year graced the cover of the now iconic magazine, but in some ways, not much has changed. While other mens magazines have come and gone, the Playboy empire marches on — one issue/ reality show/ pool party at a time. And make no mistake, landing that coveted front slot is still a seriously big deal.

So, who took home top honors this year? None other than Raquel Pomplun, a 25-year old Latina beauty with a gently lilting voice and a girl-next-door smile. Oh yeah, her body’s not so bad either.

She first graced the cover of the April 2012 Sex & Music issue alongside (to be accurate, she was actually beneath) Grammy award-winning musician Bruno Mars and was the April 2012 Playmate of the Month. She currently has a TV gig, hosting Blackbelt TV’s “Rockin Rounds” and a radio gig, co-hosting Playboy Radio’s “Playmates Present.” In other words, she’s a busy girl. But what really makes this stunner tick?

Here are five more things you need to know about the cover girl who might just be the next big thing.

She’s the First Mexican-American Playmate of the Year.

Seeing as the Playboy home base is located in Los Angeles — a city teeming with a Mexican population (and gorgeous Latinas) — it’s pretty surprising that this is true Ö but it is. Raquel spent some of her childhood in Tijuana before moving to Chula Vista after middle school. She attended Bonita Vista high school, where her nickname was “Rock.” (When news first broke that she was the April 2012 Playmate of the Month, her former high school classmates went crazy with Facebook postings that “The Rock” was on the cover.)

“I can’t begin to describe how excited I am to receive this honor and be given the opportunity to represent Playboy as its first Mexican-American Playmate of the Year,î said Raquel at a luncheon at the Playboy Mansion. “Playboy has taught me a side of myself I didn’t know before. Itís been a year of wonderful surprises!”

She Got Into Playboy by Accident.

Well, sort of. During a TV interview last year, the brunette beauty admitted that she got into this whole racket at the behest of one of her co-workers. Recounting the tale, Pomplun explained, “She said, ‘You’re pretty and you model so why don’t you audition for ‘Sports Illustrated’ or ‘Hooters’ or something like that?’ And then she said, ‘No! Even better — go for Playboy!'” At first, Pomplun thought it was “a little risky,” but ultimately she threw her hat in the ring — and judging from the fact that she’s now $100,000 richer and driving around in a 2014 Jaguar F-TYPE, it seems to have worked out okay.

She’s a Ballet Dancer.

While there’s no doubt that much of Pomplun’s physique comes from glorious Mother Nature herself, the beauty may have helped things along — but not by going under the knife. It turns out, the stunner is not classically trained in ballet, which means (at least some of) that toned body comes from good, old-fashioned exercise.

She’s a Trooper.

While her photos are certainly sizzling, it’s surprising to learn that during the shoot, she was too. Literally. In addition to low-rider skivvies and pin-up hair curlers, Pomplun was rocking a 103-degree fever when the pics were snapped. “Honestly, I’m thinking I’m so grateful that they look okay because I had a fever in these pictures,” she revealed.

She’s a Smarty-Pants With a Serious Work Ethic.

Raquel studied biochemistry at Southwestern College and cited “hardworking” as one of the most important qualities in her potential boyfriend(s). “I need someone hardworking. I’m Hispanic,” she quipped during a TV interview in 2012.

Based on her studying, dance training, TV hosting, radio hosting, cover modeling, and now Playmate of the Year title-holding, it seems pretty likely Pomplun’s own work ethic is going to pay off — even more than it already has.

The June 2013 issue of “Playboy” hits newsstands May 17.

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