It's quite possible that the phrase "better late than never" was coined specifically with model Anna Lexington in mind. After all, how do you explain the sudden sensation for a girl who spent more time on uneven bars than runways growing up in the town of Holmdel, N.J.?
"I never really pursued modeling," admits Lexington, who is just now peaking in her 20s. "I just think I thought it was over. It crossed my mind, but I didn't feel like I had it."
Lexington has a couple of co-workers to thank for her better late than never fame. After graduating from Indiana State University with a degree in communications, Lexington had visions of a career in broadcasting.
"I wanted to be an anchor, but New York is the market that everybody in America shoots for," she says.
Instead of moving to a smaller market to pursue her broadcast dreams, Lexington opted for a career in sales. But three years ago her life suddenly changed.
"I was sitting at work and someone said, 'Are you going to do that Playboy Golf thing?' " recalls the 5-foot-4 model. "I was like, 'What are you talking about?' I had missed the casting, so I called them up and sent them a few pictures, and they said, 'show up at the golf course.' That's pretty much what really got me started."
Lexington didn't just show up at the golf course, she hit a hole-in-one, winning the 2002 Playboy Scramble Model Search and defeating 25,000 entrants in the process.
From there, her career started to skyrocket, landing work with Hawaiian Tropic, GQ and Wild on E! to name just a few. More recently, Lexington secured a spot in the third annual Lingerie Bowl, alongside the likes of Willa Ford, Katie Lohmann and some of the top models in the world. She was originally offered a role as a cheerleader, but the 95-pound model asked if she could suit up instead.
"I'm very competitive when it comes to sports," she confesses.
That competitive side can actually be traced back to Lexington's youth, where she starred as a gymnast for many years.
"I was a really good gymnast," says Lexington of her past. "I was competing at seven and you're not supposed to compete until nine, so I didn't even have a category, but I would do it just for the experience. I was the youngest girl in New Jersey competing."
By the age of 11, however, Lexington says that she was "burnt out" from the countless hours of training and she walked away from the sport that she had known ever since the age of three.