Devin Devasquez got her big break at the age of 21 when Hugh Hefner flew her to Chicago to pose for Playboy magazine.
The model-turned-Emmy winning TV producer, who used to date the late singer Prince, has said the ‘charming, warm’ mogul from Chicago not only made her a star but also gave the former foster child a ‘family’ she never had before.
DailyMail.com talked exclusively to the stunning brunette after the death of the 91-year-old legend on Wednesday. She recounted her last meeting with Hef just 10 months ago.
Her pal: Devin Devasquez (center) talks last seeing Hugh Hefner (right) 10 months ago; here they are seen in a photo from a Halloween party at the Playboy mansion with a male friend over a decade ago
Looking good: The Latin pinup made a 1986 cover of the monthly magazine after being discovered on Star Search
‘He still had his wonderful, cheerful spirit and would always give me a little smile or a nod.
‘Even though his body was declining him due to his age, his spirit was always warm and welcoming,’ said the Emmy winning producer of Amazon’s The Bay.
The encounter was at a Sunday movie night in his sprawling Playboy mansion.
‘He was a true gentleman with a heart of gold,’ added the pinup, who is now married to soap opera star Ronn Moss.
Another memory: Here Devin and Hef are seen at an event
The party pad: The star was often a guest at Hef’s Playboy parties in Holmby Hills
‘He always said he was proud of me.’
The two had recently worked together on her book The Naked Truth About A Pinup Model. He gave her a quote and said he liked her interview with pinup legend, Bettie Page.
Devin’s association with Hef began 33 years ago.
‘I met Hef two weeks before Christmas in 1984 when I was flown in from Chicago by Playboy for a shoot to finish my Playmate pictorial as Miss June 1985. I met Hef the day after I met Prince and thought I was dreaming of another woman’s life that week….. at the tender age of 21,’ said The Day It Snowed In April author.
Body to die for: Devasquez during Playboy/XM Night Calls Party at Le Meridien in Beverly Hills in 2002
And she was ‘nervous’ about meeting the magnate who was not just rich but charming.
‘As a Playmate, you hear many stories about Hef and Playboy mansion, so I felt a bit nervous meeting Hef for the first time.
‘He had just had a stroke the month before, so the trademark pipe was gone as I’d had seen in photos, however the red silk colored smoking jacket was still present.
The past: Devin also reveals how she met Prince and even that had a Playboy connection. ‘I was introduced to Prince because Playboy photographer Richard Fegley was shooting my centerfold and Prince was performing his Purple Rain tour for a week in Chicago’
On top of the world: The singer, who died in 2016, seen on his Purple Rain Tour in 1984
‘He was warm, welcoming and charming as he said, “Welcome to the Playboy mansion Devin.” Hef made you at ease instantly with his graciousness and dispelled my shy nervousness back then.’
It all began with a TV show.
‘I won $ 100,000 on the talent show Star Search a few months after my centerfold and Playboy again featured me as in a celebrity pictorial and cover for their November 1986 issue. I was so thrilled to have my name on my cover.’
Despite what critics have said about life in the famed Holmby Hills Playboy mansion, Devin said it was a place of security.
‘Playboy became the family I didn’t have growing up in and out of foster homes in the deep south of Louisiana. There were always a fabulous party for Easter, 4 of July, New Years Eve and Halloween. I began to bond with people like James Caan, Tony Curtis and tons of Playmates that became a part of what has become a wonderful 30 year experience.’
Her true love: The looker is now wed to soap opera star Ron Moss. He was also with the band Player that had the top hit Baby Come Back. Seen in 2004 in LA
And she was proud to be one of the first Latin women in the magazine.
‘I was a Playmate in the mid 80s when you just didn’t see many exotic women in the pages of Playboy, So I guess I helped open the door for more Latin women from my appearances and it open doors for me to act in commercials, movies and modeling.’
Devin also reveals how she met Prince and even that had a Playboy connection.
‘I was introduced to Prince because Playboy photographer Richard Fegley was shooting my centerfold and Prince was performing his Purple Rain tour for a week in Chicago.
‘So it was definitely because of Playboy that I met Prince,’ the LA resident said.
Going strong: The wedded couple seen hand in hand with her dog, named Prince in April at the 44th annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards where she picked up an award for The Bay
‘Richard thought I looked like Apollonia and thought it would be cool to get a photo with Prince and I for my upcoming centerfold debut. This story is in my latest memoir, The Day It Snowed In April. which was inspired by Prince’s untimely passing last year.
Her latest memoir is her life story about her time with Prince and her Playboy journey. It’s titled The Day It Snowed In April
‘My whole journey with Playboy is also in this memoir. My relationship with Prince continued over a three year period after I won Star Search because my acting career was handled by Prince’s managers.’
But shockingly Prince never went to the Playboy mansion.
‘Hef’s girlfriend at that time, Carrie Leigh, asked me to take her to a Prince concert and Prince use to send his purple limo to pick me up at the Playboy mansion, but he never went to the mansion and never asked about Hef.
‘I don’t think Prince wanted me to hang out at the mansion, he would always call me there and ask if I wanted a room, then send his purple limo to pick me up and put me in a hotel room and call me on phone to talk.’
Her best Hef memory was when he came to her house for dinner to experience her Louisiana cooking.
With his trio: Hefner seen in Monte Carlo with Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt in 2005
‘My favorite Hef story is around 1998 when I was engaged to a man who lived around the corner from the Playboy mansion and we managed to get Hef to come over for dinner due to the fact that his marriage to Kimberly Hefner had just ended.
‘Hef had just starting to come out of the Playboy mansion to explore the world again. Playmates Ava Fabian and Julie McCullough were also there and I was able to thank him for choosing me as Miss June 1985.
‘I couldn’t believe I had the pleasure to entertain one of the world’s more gracious hosts at one of my dinner parties.’
And Devin said her favorite party of all he threw was his 50th anniversary party at the mansion.
With his last wife: Hef and Crystal Hefner attend Playboy Mansion’s Annual Halloween Bash at The Playboy Mansion in 2014
‘There was the musical group Chicago performing was an unbelievable evening. Iconic legends like Bettie Page, Pamela Anderson and Anna Nicole Smith were there. So that one sticks out in my mind.’
Devasquez may not be posing for Playboy any longer, but she’s plenty busy.
Her latest memoir is her life story about her time with Prince and her Playboy journey. It’s titled The Day It Snowed In April and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble.
Her first book, The Naked Truth About A Pinup Model, in which Hef gave a quote and features her interview with pinup legend, Bettie Page, is also out.
She also just won her third Emmy for Best Digital Drama Series as producer on Amazon’s The Bay. For more on Devin visit devindevasquez.com.