We now bring you the lovely and exotic Zahra Norbo.
Zahra was born Ragnhild Olausson, c. 1934 in Alingsås Sweden. She was Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Month for the March 1958 issue. Zahra was among the “good girl group” of the 50’s and early 60’s PB issues – where they posed and portrayed elaborately, but yet managed not to “show” anything. This mold was broken in the early 60’s – nowadays I get the feeling that modern models have fully run out of things to not show. Certainly the pendulum will have to swing back at some point.
Zahra is credited, depending on the internet source, as to being Miss Sweden either in 1955 or 1956. Miss Sweden 1955 was Hillevi Rombin – who went on to win the Miss Universe competition that same year. Ingrid Goude won Miss Sweden in 1956.. so that leaves Zahra as… Fröken Sverige 1954 – Miss Sweden for 1954 – using her proper Christian name Ragnhild Olausson (often cited as Olavsson in Wiki and other sources, making my job much harder than it should be to get the facts straight). Zahra placed 4th runner up in the Miss Universe competition of 1955.
Here’s a great video of the proceedings – with Tony Curtis as host. One wonders, given his history, how he managed to get that assignment. At any rate, check out Raghnild/Zahra at around the 5:23 mark – she was only 19 at the time.
What Zahra DID manage to do is to be portrayed in just about every tame Gent’s magazine in the 1957-1958 time period, before quickly disappearing (from the public’s point of view, that is) for all time.
Zahra was the second non-American Playmate. The first, Elsa Sørensen, was actually a former Miss Denmark.
Quoth the bunny:
In Like a Lamb
playmate zahra norbo could tame the most leonine of march winds
Spring is here. Just about. Though many a coat collar may still be turned up and many a mug of mulled wine may still be quaffed to help calm clacking teeth, the calendar, stubborn to the last, insists that spring begins on March 20. Time, then, to begin thinking of outings in the open air… getting next to Nature… dusting off the rod and reel and matching wits with our finny friends who inhabit the fresh flowing streams of our native woodlands wild. No true sportsman, of course, would ever consider partaking of these pleasant pastimes all alone; a jolly feminine companion is just as necessary as the creel, the waders, and the hat with the hooks in it. Our candidate for such a companion is Zahra Norbo. After copping the Miss Sweden title three years ago, Miss Norbo came to the U.S. of A., and appeared briefly in a couple of movies and several TV shows, notably the Groucho Marx slot, where her tape-busting measurements so unsettled Groucho that he couldn’t remember his ad libs. It has been reported, in another magazine, that Zahra, though she will oblige photographers by peeling down to a bikini, definitely will disrobe no further. “I would feel uncomfortable,” she was quoted as saying. Miss Norbo’s discomfiture dissolved when we approached her with the notion of being our Miss March, so, as you unbend this gatefold, you’ll find all five-feet-seven of her fabulous frame blithely bared to the bracing breezes of the vernal season.
Zahra was fairly recently interviewed by a Swedish publication, asking her to recount her days as Miss Sweden and afterwards. The link is here, with a rough translation of the interview below.
Many Miss-Sweden winners have become strong media personalities with exciting careers. But has it always been so? From 50’s winner Ragnhild “I got various theatrical and film roles”
How did it feel to be Miss Sweden? – Overwhelming and unreal.
What was your life like after you won? – I went overseas (to New York) . I got many mannequin and modeling jobs. I joined Lee Strasberg’s Theatre School in New York and appeared in a number of theater and movie roles. Later I became a fashion designer.
Your funniest memory from the time Miss Sweden? – It was the presentation of the Royal Gardens in Stockholm summer 1954, when my parents and my boyfriend, who is now my husband, were present in the audience.
What are you doing today? – I am a housewife and is married to my first love-the same person who signed me up to the Miss Sweden contest.