By Mike Rothman
Forum Publishing Group
December 16, 2009
Jaime Edmondson has quite the résumé. A former Boca Raton Police officer who left the force to rejoin the Miami Dolphins cheerleading squad, with whom she had worked while studying criminology at Florida Atlantic University, Edmondson last year added the title of reality-TV star to her curriculum vitae when she appeared as a contestant on the 14th season of CBS' The Amazing Race.
Edmondson and her race partner, fellow ex-Dolphins cheerleader Cara Rosenthal, finished third in the competition, missing out on a million-dollar prize. The show may not have made Edmondson rich, but it did, thanks to her fiercely competitive nature, frequent shouting and apparent xenophobia, earn her the dubious distinction of being the closest thing the race had to a villain. This past April, the Yahoo! TV Blog named Edmondson one of the "Most Questionable Characters of Reality TV," placing her on a list that also included Jon and Kate Gosselin, Hell's Kitchen's Gordon Ramsay and The Real Housewives of New York City's Kelly Bensimon.
"She hates it when people do not speak English," the blog's author wrote of Edmondson, "so it makes perfect sense that she would want to go on a show that constantly requires her to communicate with people who do not speak English. She's also ridiculously impatient, a yeller and a huge embarrassment to her lovely teammate Cara."
The 30-year-old Edmondson seems to be unfazed by the criticism, none of which prevented her from making her latest high-profile career move: This Friday, Edmondson will appear on newsstands as Playboy magazine's Miss January. City Link recently spoke to Edmondson about her centerfold, The Amazing Race, her time with the Boca PD and shooting guns in the Georgia woods.
How did you get involved with Playboy?
I didn't go about it in the traditional way. I did not see myself at 30 becoming a Playmate. I didn't know they had Playmates at 30, which they have, and I'm the first in five years. At the end of [The Amazing Race], I didn't know what I was going to do. I joked that maybe Playboy would call.
So my friend talked to her agent, unbeknownst to me, and got in touch with the [magazine's] West Coast editor. They called and wanted to do a story on the two of us. She is in law school and had to decline. A couple days later, they called back and wanted to know what I thought about trying to be a Playmate. I asked if they knew I was not 19 and not blonde. So I sent pictures in to the editor.
I got a call from them that said Hef loved my pictures and wanted to fly me out to test to be a Playmate. I was wondering where Ashton [Kutcher] was because I was sure I was being punked. So I spent four days at the mansion. One week later, I saw the phone ringing with a 310 area code. So I answered it and started to say, "Thank you so much for the opportunity … " and they broke in and said that [Hefner] said yes. My whole body broke out in goose bumps.
What was the theme of your centerfold shoot?
My theme was after racing around the world on The Amazing Race in all the unglamorous places, a mystery man is whisking me away. First, I take a vintage train to Paris. The next set is actually New Year's Eve and it is a nightclub. In the background, you can see the Eiffel Tower. The inside is blues and purples like South Beach coloring. At the end, the last set is returning to the French hotel room.
I really liked it. It is not like their normal, cutesy look. They told me I'm just not the type of girl to be holding a teddy bear. Mine was a little bit more sophisticated and elegant than the normal sets.
You grew up in both South Florida and Georgia.
I was born passing through Bartow, Fla. My father was in the military and we were just passing through. I grew up in Georgia till I was 5. When I was 5, my mom met my stepdad and we moved to South Florida. From that point on, I spent every summer in Georgia with my dad and school year back in Florida with my mom.
So I can do both. I can ride four-wheelers and shoot guns in the country with my dad in a place in Georgia with one traffic light. I also went to high school in Oakland Park at Northeast High.
How did you end up working in law enforcement?
Well, my whole family consists of police officers. My whole life, that is just what I thought I was going to be. I wanted to work for the federal government and wanted to be an undercover spy. It was the only life I knew and I loved it.
So I graduated with my bachelor's in criminology and went to the police academy right after. Then, I discovered that people are not receptive to people who don't look like they are supposed to be police officers.
Why did you leave the Boca police department?
Well, I cheered for four years for the Dolphins when I was in college. I went to the police department for two years after. Then, I did two more years with the Dolphins after leaving the department.
So after my fourth year cheering, I thought I was done and hanging up my pompoms. As soon as I got hired, it spread like wildfire through the department that they had a cheerleader. And [my fellow officers said], "What do we need a cheerleader for?" I literally could have saved a school full of children and they would never have seen me in another way. They only saw me as a cheerleader. So I left and went back to the Dolphins. It was the best thing that could have happened because I have had so many more opportunities with that. If I had stayed, I'd still be working the night shift.
What is one of the craziest things that happened to you while working as a cop?
It was 3 a.m. and I saw this truck driving 5 mph. Obviously, he was probably drunk. I pulled him over, and it was one guy, who was looking around. I asked for his license and registration, and he's looking at me, looking around, looking over his shoulder. I'm like, "I need your license and registration."
He said, "Is this for my birthday?"
I did not catch on at first. I asked for his license and registration again. He was perplexed and kept looking around. I asked who he was looking for, and he said his friends. He asked again if this was for his birthday. Then, it dawned on me when I looked at his license and it was his birthday. This guy truly believed in his heart that I was his birthday present.
I said, "Sir, if I was for your birthday, I would not be wearing this asexual costume. I'd be wearing something more sexy like a Halloween costume."
Describe your experience on The Amazing Race.
I had wanted to be on the show since I first saw it. Finally, last year I was committed to doing it and it was now or never. It was not fun. I am sure there were a few moments that were fun, like we had to sing karaoke in Bangkok. That was fun.
For the most part, it wasn't fun but it was an amazing experience. You couldn't have paid a million dollars to have that experience. … We went to nine countries in 23 days. I have to go back to these countries again because I never got a chance to stop and smell the roses while I was there. I am very competitive. I am very focused. So I never lost sight of that. My character oftentimes came off as a bitch and that everyone should have to help me. That was not the case. I was just not there to make friends. I was there to make a million dollars and this was a race. You have to have a sense of urgency or you are going to lose.
How do you feel about being included on that Yahoo! list along with Gordon Ramsay and Jon Gosselin?
I'm actually not offended by being compared to Gordon, because he is a no-nonsense kind of guy and I like that. I actually prefer people like that. He gives praise where praise is due and worries about the results. I also love his show.
As for Jon, you will see in my Playboy bio that I don't like guys that wear Bedazzled shirts. He wears Ed Hardy, which I can't stand.
Mike Rothman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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