Pmate Hunter

Pilar Lastra does not take her good fortune for granted. Although the 23-year-old actress is excited to discuss her forthcoming movie roles, she first recalls how she's come such a long way from her home in San Antonio. "My family was so poor that my sisters and I wore boys' hand-me-downs," she says. "My mother and father divorced when I was young. My father lives in Spain, along with most of my extended family. We came from nothing, so I'm grateful now when I look at everything I have." A self-described bookworm in high school who "tried to rebel and be cool," Pilar couldn't deceive her mother without feeling guilty. "I'd sneak out of the house at night, but I would leave a note for my mom so she could contact me. I didn't want her to worry. I never wanted to cause trouble. I never got caught, thank God. I can't imagine my mom crashing a party or calling and going, 'Is my daughter there? You guys aren't drinking, are you?'" Miss August considered a variety of careers before committing to acting. "One day I wanted to be a brain surgeon, the next a bus driver, then a teacher, then an undercover agent," she says. "I decided to pursue acting because I can pretend to do all those things." Pilar's first role was in a SeaWorld commercial. "I had to ride a roller coaster 25 times in a row and still look excited after take 25," she says. After moving to Los Angeles she shot more commercials and appeared on Days of Our Lives. "I would like a big-box-office movie in my future, but more than that I want a role that requires me to be extremely brave," she says. To build her fortitude Pilar has racked up a few fearless adventures: "When I was 19 I packed my car and took off across the country. I'd also like to go to Spain. I've never been there, but I hear the partying is out of control. I would rather fall on my face a thousand times than live my life thinking, What if?" While Pilar says she used to be anti-nudity, she changed her mind when Playboy made her an offer. "I figured I should do nudity the right way, not in some cheesy, raunchy film," she says. Next up? Roles in Hollywood P.I. and opposite Gary Busey in the cage-fighting flick No Rules. "I have a bitch-fighting scene in No Rules," she says. "In real life I talk trash, but I never bite. I wouldn't know how. I'd probably start crying." When she's not pulling hair in catfights, Pilar is a talented singer-songwriter who's looking for a writing partner. "I don't play a musical instrument, so it's hard for me to finish a melody," she says. "I've written songs that I don't hear myself singing, though someone else could knock them out of the park. I'd like to find someone who understands my energy flow." Meeting would-be partners was a snap when she leased out apartments, an occupation that doubled as her own private dating service. "For a while I met all my boyfriends through that job," she says. "I could do a background check, see if they had a criminal history and discover who was in debt. If one said he was a musician, I'd be like, 'Sold!' " Even though she had keys to all her tenants' pads, Pilar swears she never snooped. Except for one time, on Valentine's Day. "I let myself into my boyfriend's apartment to leave candles, chocolate and hearts leading into the bedroom," she says. "It was great."

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