Barbara Moore: Playboy Playmate and DanceSport Competitor

REPOST (courtesy of Dance Notes)
Barbara Moore… Not Just Another Pretty Face

Imagine opening the pages of Playboy and seeing your favorite ballroom dancer. Barbara Moore went from a quiet childhood, where she wasn’t even allowed to dance, to being a model, actress and successful Dancesport competitor. And yes, she was even a Playboy Playmate! Barbara’s agent, Kurt Clements, is probably someone who knows her best. “Her energy is about direction and when she sets her mind to achieve, she’s really an achiever,” says Kurt. “She’s very focused, that’s why she’s been able to conquer so much at such a young age. Her achievements really follow her. I’m very honored to represent her.”

Barbara sat down and talked with Dance Notes when she was finished competing at the Emerald Ball in May of 2002. She already has achieved the prestigious title of Top Overall Pro/Am Female of the United States, which she was awarded after her first year of dancing in 1999. She seems to be successful at whatever she attempts. This beauty also has brains. Clearly where there’s a will, there’s a way.

What styles do you dance?

I dance International Latin, American Smooth and International Standard. So that’s 14 dances that I have to practice.

Have you always done all three styles?

No. When I first started dancing I just did rhythm, in three dances - mambo, cha cha and rumba. That just led to more and more and more. I did American rhythm and smooth for about nine months, competitively. When I changed instructors, I added Latin and I’ve been doing standard for about a year now.

Which style do you like the best?

I am very torn between the smooth and the Latin, because I love moving in the Latin, but I also love the graceful feeling of the smooth dances. When you’re doing Latin you feel your sexual side is coming out, your flirty side. And also your more athletic, aggressive side comes out. With the smooth dances you feel like a princess. You feel elegant. It’s just so different. And that’s my personality; I think I have two totally different sides to me. I could never give up one style. Some people are drawn to one style, so it’s an easy decision for them. I would always have to be a ten dancer. Right now, I’m training and learning in all three. A ten dancer would be Latin and standard, but I’m doing American smooth because I want to learn the free flowing extra that you need when you’re doing solos and things like that

Have you found that one style is harder for you?

Oh definitely! Standard is definitely harder for me and what comes naturally is Latin. Even if I don’t practice I can still do my Latin, but it’s a different story with my standard and smooth. It’s something I really have to work on.

How did you become involved in ballroom dancing?

I always wanted to be a dancer. When I was eight years old my mother married a man who thought that dancing was a sin, so I grew up in a household where dancing was a sin. But the ironic thing about it was that, deep down in my heart, that’s all I ever wanted to do. When they would leave the house, I would turn the stereo on… and we only had Christian music, but I didn’t care, whatever music we had I would dance to. I didn’t even know what I was dancing; I was just copying what I had seen on television and in the movies. So all my life I was picturing myself dancing to whatever song came on. I didn’t start taking lessons until three years ago. The first time I stepped into a studio was like the highlight of my career, because I finally said, “Okay, I’m going to do it.” And I was a little bit afraid. I was so insecure about stepping into a dance studio, because I was so afraid to fail. But the minute I stepped in there and started, BAM! Three months later I was on the competition floor. I danced my first competition with an instructor named Jorge, and he was really great. But he moved away, so then I saw Richard Croteau, and I just had to have him… just the way he dances, he’s so emotional. He got me into Latin, American smooth and rhythm. In the first nine months with Richard, I danced eighteen competitions, and I won the United States Top Overall Female award. After doing 18 competitions in nine months I realized that was too much. I thought it was normal and then I realized real fast, it’s not! People don’t do that, right?! Around that time I switched to Donald Johnson.

Why did you switch?

Because I wanted to be better in Latin and he was such a champion in Latin. I mainly chose him for that reason. He also had studied and danced professionally in all three styles that I dance. A lot of people don’t know that because Donald is so well known as a Latin champion. It’s hard to find a teacher who can do all three styles and has danced competitively in all three. I found him, and I’m very happy with him. I’ve danced with Donald for two and a half years. I started out as a newcomer and at last year’s Ohio Star Ball, I entered my first open championship. That was another highlight. It was American smooth and I made the final. I was really happy about that. Now I’m dancing open in all three styles. In just three and half years for me to go from newcomer bronze to open status in all three levels… I’m pretty happy with the big picture!

You talked about realizing that you had done too many competitions in nine months. Was that physically or mentally?

Physically and mentally it was too much. My feet… I was doing way over a hundred entries a day. Then I would just go up to my room and I would be emotionally drained and exhausted. Emotionally, it was just too much, the adrenalin pumps a lot and I would get really high, and then I would crash. But I’ve learned to deal with that. After comps I don’t crash as much. That’s very normal with dancers. I’ve asked a lot of dancers and they’ve said they go through that too. Now, I go to one competition a month. I might even skip a month here and there and just study.

How many lessons do you take?

I take three lessons a day five days a week.

Do you watch your videos?

I watch my videos all the time. I see a lot of improvement each time, even though I don’t feel it. I also learn from the videos. Videos are a really good learning tool. Expensive learning tool, but isn’t everything expensive in dancing?!

Do you practice on your own too?

I do. Sometimes after class I’ll practice. I’ve got to get better at that. Donald says that sometimes I’m good at practicing by myself and sometimes I’m not. It depends on what’s going on in my life, too. I’m busy. I do other projects, and I run my own business. There’s a lot that goes into the preparation to come to a competition and there’s a lot of effort putting it all together, but when you get on the floor and you feel like you danced well, it makes it worth it. Especially since it’s been a dream of mine since childhood. I know there are a lot of people out there who have danced all their lives and maybe they don’t appreciate it as much as I do now. Maybe it was a blessing that I was not allowed to dance when I was young, because now I appreciate it so much. The dream is finally becoming a reality.

What does your mother think of your dancing?

My mother loves it. It was just the stepfather, who is no longer in the picture. There are no problems. But it wouldn’t matter. When I left the house, I could have done whatever I wanted. I didn’t go straight to a dance studio, because I had to go work. I’ve just come into this situation; I’ve worked so hard and so long, and invested my money wisely. Now I can finally do what I’ve always really, really wanted to do, which is dance.

You’ve modeled and acted. What are you most known for?

I had a part in Austin Powers as a fembot. We were in sheer pink outfits with feathers. I’ve been on Married With Children, and I’ve starred on Baywatch a few times with David Hasselhoff. I’ve also worked with a lot of celebrities in print jobs. And I’ve done a lot of music videos... Aerosmith, Rolling Stones. I lived in Nashville, Tennessee for a while, so I worked with every country music star, doing their videos and a lot of print advertisement. When I started dancing, I stopped modeling and acting for a couple years, but now I’m getting back into it. I really truly believe that if you want to be really good at something, you have to put all of your energy and focus into that. I did with my dancing, and now I know exactly what I need to put into it to get better and to grow. So I know what time I can allot for my other interests, like my castings, and my modeling. A year and a half ago I started my own business and I have my own website. It’s a membership site. I charge $14.95 a month for my fans to join. I write a diary, and I post 30 brand new pictures of myself every week. I answer stories and questions that they have for me. So I’m constantly reading their e-mails and answering them.

What kinds of questions?

They have questions regarding relationship problems. I get questions from men and women. And they think that I know everything! I don’t know why! They think that I have all this experience because I was in Playboy. And I do have a following from being a Playmate.

What is the name of your site?

It’s called When you go there, you’ll see pictures of me. I give you a free tour and tell you all about what’s in my site, and hopefully, you’ll join. There is also a store where I sell clothes that I’ve worn in photo shoots, my pictures, my videos and things like that. Someone will see me wearing something in the gallery, and they’ll give me an offer for it. I can sell a bikini or something for up to $500.00. It’s quite interesting what people want!

How many people are members?

I have about a thousand members now.

Are you still a Playmate?

I do work for Playboy. Right now I go there once a week and I answer e-mails and sign autographs for the servicemen, the military men. It helps morale. Hugh Hefner’s always been into that… to help the troops and the military. I have a brother who’s a Marine, so I think it’s very important. I go over there and do charity work for them. From time to time, I do photo shoots. I did a shoot with Mini-Me for the Millennium Issue. He was in Austin Powers too. I’ve done pictorials with Phil Hartman and Leslie Nielson. They still use me for things like that, and anything special that they do, like the special Valentine’s issue. I always go up to the mansion for the parties that they have. So I’m usually in the Playmate News. They’ve done a little article about my dancing. They care. They care about it a lot. I’ve been able to travel the world with Playboy. I’ve been to Moscow, Taipei, Tokyo, Cannes, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago, Chile... places that I probably never would have picked for vacations, but it’s really great to see these places. I’ve worked with them for a long time.

When did you start modeling?

When I was 19. I graduated from high school when I was 17, and I had to get a job. I applied to 100 airlines and American Eagle hired me. They based me in Nashville, Tennessee. I didn’t know one person in the south. I completely uprooted myself and moved to a new city with no car, no money, and this new job. And it was a really good thing for me to do. I had this uniform, and I felt so much pride. I had my own airplane and I had all these passengers and I was completely in charge of their safety and their protection. It matured me very quickly. My passengers would say, “Why are you doing this? Why aren’t you a model?” So after a year, I quit and started modeling. That’s when I did all the country music videos. The market for modeling is not very good in Nashville, so that’s why I made the phone call to Playboy Enterprises. I said, “How do I become a centerfold?” They said, “Send in pictures.” So I sent in pictures. The next week, I was flown to Beverly Hills and stayed at the Playboy mansion. I went through the test shoot, and I flew back home. They called me and said, “We want you to be in a shoot for the centerfold.” It took a week to shoot the centerfold, and then Hugh Hefner decides whether to use it or not. He said, “yes.” I had to keep flying back and forth shooting for them, the promo shots, the video, this and that. Right after that I moved to L.A. I opened the door of my apartment in Nashville and I screamed out, “Thank God I am out of here!” Ever since my Dad took me to Disneyland when I was 11, I wanted to live in Beverly Hills. I moved to Beverly Hills and I have lived here ever since.

What did your dad think about you being a Playmate?

I knew he was going to love it, because he’s very open minded about that kind of thing. He’s a really cool dad. And he loved it! He said, “Alright, that’s so great! Congratulations!” So then I had to call my mother, “Okay mom, I’m testing for Playboy.” She started crying, and then, I said, “Mom, have you seen a Playboy lately?” She’s like, “No.” I said, “Mom, you go to the newsstand and you get one and you look at it and then you call me back.” I got all choked up, and I couldn’t talk. She called me back two days later and said, “It’s okay, it’s not the pictures, it’s very tasteful. I’m just worried about the lifestyle. I’ve heard about that Playboy mansion. I don’t want you to get into drugs and all that stuff.” I said, “Mom, I’ve been out of the house for eight years. I’m going to be okay.” When she came out to visit me, I took her right up to the mansion. She sat by Tony Curtis and met Hef and she saw the people were so nice, so normal and so supportive and behind me. She was happy that I actually was doing that. A girl going to L.A. and just trying to model can end up totally broke. But when you’re a Playmate, you’ve got a family behind you. And you’ve got money coming in and jobs. It’s just such a foot in the door. I feel so happy about that part of my life.

You’re really a celebrity. Did the people in the dance world realize that? Did they treat you any differently?

When I first started dancing, Dancesport Magazine did an interview with me about being a Playmate and being in movies and television shows. But I don’t think the dancers treat me differently. I think they’re fair. I think they’re surprised that I’m still here! A lot of people come and go real fast. I think the more I stick with it; the more they commend me for the dedication I put into it. And I am dedicated, because competing is the only thing that’s going to make me a good dancer. My goal is to be a really good dancer. You’re trying to win, so that means that you’re always practicing to get better so you can win. That’s your drive, your motivation. I’ve had many, many offers already to turn pro and do shows and things like that. But that’s not what I want to do. I want to learn good technique, and I want to focus on becoming a proper dancer, with proper techniques.

The reason you dance is to become better, not to compete?

To become the best dancer that I can be. I have goals. I would like to be a top pro/am girl. Of course, I would like that. It feels great to win! But it also feels good just to go out there and know that I nailed the material that I have right now. When I go out there, I don’t think, “Oh, I’ve got to beat this person, I’ve got to beat that person,” and worry about who’s out there on the floor. I don’t even think about that. I think about focusing on my partner, feeling the music, and working on what I know at that moment. If I think about anything else, it’s distracting. But I love that adrenalin rush and I can’t live without it!

Getting out on the floor, or winning?

What I feel right before I go out on the floor. That feeling! A lot of people don’t like it. When I first started competing, there was this girl at the studio. She was about the same level that I was, and she told me, “Competing is like… I might as well cut my body up with razor blades. That’s how awful it is for me. You’ll find out, Barbara. You’ll find out that it’s just awful.” Well, I found out that I love that feeling of adrenalin. I like that heart pounding. I like that pure adrenalin rush. I need it in my life.

You don’t feel that way with acting or modeling?

I do for acting, but not with modeling. Modeling really came naturally to me. On a couple occasions the photographer would bring a new girl over and say, “Okay, watch Barbara, see how she moves. Do that!” I would feel bad for the girl, and it was kind of embarrassing for me. It just always came really natural to me, so I never thought, “Oh, no, I‘m not going to be able to move. I’m not going to be able to do this. I don’t know what to do.” The modeling never gave me the adrenalin rush. What I liked about modeling was going on all the castings and beating out people and getting the job.

So you’re with Donald a lot, like two, three hours a day. Do you get along?

We get along...

Do you have your moments?

Donald is very much like me. He’s a perfectionist. And I need a perfectionist. I want to know what every muscle is doing, where, what to feel, where my legs are, where are my toes supposed to be, where are my knees supposed to be, where’s my hand, my shoulders.... everything. I want to learn exactly where everything’s supposed to be. He is like that and I can understand it. It’s very deep, very in depth, and I take it as a compliment that I actually can get it! We do have our moments… a person you’re spending that much time with, you do. But, as much as he gets on me for not doing things correctly, I get the equal amount of praise. And if I can’t get something, he has ten other ways to explain it until I do. A lot of teachers don’t have that. They have one way, and if you don’t get it, you don’t get it. Donald has so many ways and analogies, that something always clicks. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher. I’m extremely happy right now.

Do you see yourself continuing to do this for a long time?

I do. Since I started competing I’ve thought that I’d be doing it for a long time. I have my moments, because I’m going through different phases in learning the open routines. I don’t know where it’s going to go. I don’t know where it’s going to lead me. I don’t know my full potential. I get quite surprised that I actually can do certain things. I feel that dancing completely fulfills me and without it I don’t think that I could live. I have to dance. It’s so hard to explain, but I know other dancers understand it. It’s something that boils in your heart. It’s real. I have to do it. I pray to God, I pray to Jesus that he will always give me the help and the strength that I can continue dancing forever.

Courtesy of Dance Notes, a subscription based print publication


Staff member
Just as an update... Barbara has been competing exclusively in International Ballroom, with Igor Suvorov, for the past year and a half or so – and has won two consecutive U.S. National Pro-Am Ballroom titles along the way.

I've also added a few photos of Barbara with Igor to the ballroom album here: pic 1pic 2pic 3


Well-Known Member
Anyone know if she still competes?

(DP, what were you searching for that brought this to the surface again?)

Oh ... nothing.

(DP, quit your whistling, we might think you are up to something.)

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