With flawless beauty and a fire for living, it’s no wonder that for the past decade since Kona Carmack was featured on MidWeek’s cover in January 1996 - after she was the centerfold in Playboy - she has been keeping busy trotting the globe, attending film school and even learning to speak fluent Hebrew.
“I traveled and lived abroad in Israel, Milan, I was traveling throughout Europe, and I was living in Tokyo for a while,” says Carmack, pictured here with her mother, Billie Gabriel. “I was modeling and studying Hebrew - basically I was young and hungry to learn something, and I didn’t want to continue in school. I wanted to travel while I was young and free.”
In 2001 Carmack moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California for cinematography. She graduated in December 2003 with cum laude honors, completing the five-year program in half the time.
“I went really hard core and took like 18 credits a semester, and had a really great time being in the university,” says the 1994 Kamehameha Schools graduate. “I really got into it and started producing my own little films.”
Upon graduating from film school, Carmack started work as a production assistant on the HBO series Deadwood. The next year, Carmack was promoted to executive assistant producer to Greg Fienberg.
As for modeling, Carmack has put that on the back burner, and hasn’t done anything “professionally for a while.” Although it’s been years since she’s graced the pages of any magazine, Carmack says that being in Playboy took her to a lot of great places. “It was really exciting and definitely a wonderful learning experience,” she adds.
Although her home and career for the moment are in Los Angeles, her heart still belongs to Hawaii.
“I miss my family so much, that’s No. 1,” says Carmack. “I also miss surfing - I surf every day when I’m home. And of course I miss the food. I love it at home, I miss everything about it.”
Carmack definitely plans to move back to Hawaii eventually, mostly to be closer to her mom and family.
“My mom is my best friend, and I’m really proud of her with what she’s been doing all these years for Easter Seals,” says Carmack. “It’s really her passion to help children with disabilities. She’s just wonderful, and she’s my inspiration.”
- Melissa Moniz
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