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About Lena Söderberg:
Sweden is known for its royal family, sea of blonde-haired citizens and delectable delights such as Swedish meatballs and open-faced sandwiches covered in fresh prawns. Unfortunately for us, the first time we met our Swedish Miss November 1972, she didn’t along any of her homeland’s tasty dishes for us to munch on. Lena Söderberg, born Lenna Sjööblom did have the enthusiasm of an amateur model eager to learn and all was immediately forgiven, especially after she flashed us her gorgeous smile and promised to bring some during our next meeting. Unlike most of our international Playmates who make their way over to America, blue-eyed Lenna never imagined herself living in the Western nation fulltime. “I’d finished school and I didn’t want to just settle down and get married before I had seen America,” explains the all-natural Scandinavian in her Swedish accent.
“So, I got a visa and came to Chicago to visit a cousin.” After sampling some of the city’s deep-dish pizza pies and doing some sightseeing, Lenna—the beautiful brunette from the small village of Järna, Sweden—found herself in front of Playboy’s Chicago office. “The modeling work may have influenced my decision to stay in America, but I think it was more the freedom here. Though I miss my parents and brother very much and Sweden will always be my home, I couldn’t move back unless the government changed. The country’s becoming too socialistic for me: like, I think it’s wrong that people must pay such high taxes, even if that does make some public-welfare programs possible,” admits our Miss November 1972. “Even now, I’m still a bit homesick for them, but I’ll get over that. Besides, there’s always next summer. My ambition is to become an actress and top model now.” With magazines, catalogs and the makings of a successful career ahead of her,
Lenna began to see herself as the world did—a European model with endless potential including in the field of technology. Playboy’s November 1972 edition of the magazine is still revered to this day as the bestselling issue of all time so it should come as no surprise that her Playmate photos were used to test digital imaging software which eventually led to the invention of the internet. The study of high resolution color imaging needed a colorful photo of a person with shading and texture printed on a glossy page to test its brand-new technology –and that’s when a scientist walked into the computer lab with Playboy magazine. Not many photos met the criteria and the ones that did, didn’t have a sexy subject like our Scandinavian Miss November 1972. Dubbed ‘The First Lady of the Internet,’ Lenna’s Playmate centerfold—taken by photographer Dwight Hooker—has become one of the most used pictures in computer history and has been published in scientific journals around the world. Even with her legions of computer-scientist fans, the all-natural brunette is still the same sweet Swedish beauty with humble ambitions. “I want to have a big house in Europe with a big yard and a lot of children,” she says. Lenna Sjööblom’s future in Sweden looks bright—hopefully she’ll be sending us some Swedish meatballs once she’s settled into her new, big house because we’ll be waiting.