NSFW November: Reneé Tenison, Miss November 1989

The lovely and talented Reneé Tenison, Miss November 1989, was named Playmate of the Year in 1990, making her Playboy’s first African-American Playmate of the Year. She hailed from my family’s home state of Idaho, land of potatoes, cricks, daveneaus, and … something else… oh, right, the Aryan nation (dicks).


Photographed by Arny Freytag

Reneé, who grew up in Melba, Idaho, is special for many reasons. First, she’s a twin, and her sister Rosie is every bit as beautiful as Reneé.” (“The Toast of Melba,” Playboy, November 1989)


Reneé posed with her twin sister Rosie for Playboy in 2002.

And then Reneé’s parents’ marriage is interracial — one of the first such in the state of Idaho, which is not known for its black population. “My mom, who is white, and my dad, who is black, met each other in the Fifties, and they had to go to Nevada to get married, because no one would marry them in Idaho.”


“When they came back to Melba [population approximately 300], they couldn’t even go to the grocery together. I really admire them for staying together. There aren’t many blacks in Idaho, maybe three thousand out of a population of more than a million.”

A former contestant in the Miss Idaho USA pageant, Ms. Tenison moved to first Boise, then Los Angeles with her boyfriend, and has made a modest career of television appearances, including roles on Living Single, Married With Children, and Judging Amy, to name a few credits from over the years.

She also had a cameo in the sequel to the Nutty Professor. She will turn forty-one on December 2nd. Birthday wishes! Finally, for the record, Idaho has come a long way in terms of progressive viewpoints since the ’50′s and even since the time of her interview, so please don’t think it is all rednecks, racists, and meth addicts. They comprise only 95% of the population, tops, at any given moment. The other 5% is dead, incarcerated, or passed out in a goose blind. (Why do I keep sick-burning things that apply to me?)

Finally, dig the cover: once again, the guys at Playboy believed they had solved the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. Amazing!

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3 Responses to “NSFW November: Reneé Tenison, Miss November 1989”

  1. Jed Leyland Says:

    Underrated. Should be mentioned on lists of ” Best Ever”

  2. Justin Says:

    According to her Internet Movie Database webpage at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0855020 she hasn’t acted in almost ten years. Anyone know if she’s married or what she’s doing now?

    Her sister Rosie at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0855021 stopped acting about the same time.

  3. Tropikal Says:

    Had to look them up after seeing them on Martin as twin housekeepers. Excellent!

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