Reality TV can be an avenue to bigger, better, sexier things. Just ask Cara Zavaleta, who segued from Road Rules participant to Playboy Playmate to hosting gigs for Playboy TV, the latest of which is Sextreme Makeover, premiering tomorrow (July 16) at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. We quizzed our latest Made Babe about the show, what she digs in a dude and, most important, whether she thinks Playboy models will ever bring back the bush. (We also got her to say “sexy” five times in one answer. New record!)

MADE MAN: This sounds like a fun job.
CARA ZAVALETA: Absolutely. It’s a good old-fashioned makeover show with a sexual twist. What’s not to love? I like that it’s real people with real concerns, and we have answers for them on everything from ‘Where’s the G spot?’ to issues with finding mommy-daddy time.

MM: You’re proof that reality TV can lead to a career. Were you planning to be in show business?
CZ: No, it wasn’t a plan. I was working in retail and going to school and planning to pursue fashion. A friend suggested I try out for the Real World/Road Rules show. And I got on TV within a few months.

MM: How did you feel when you first saw your Playboy pictorial?
CZ: I was pretty impressed and proud of myself. But I remember back then I didn’t really know how to be sexy. I wasn’t really in touch with that side of me yet. They were like, “Make bedroom eyes,” and I really didn’t know. I’ve certainly learned how to be sexy and feel sexy. It comes with age and becoming more comfortable with yourself.

MM: Is there a downside to being a Playboy girl? Do guys have pre-conceptions about you?
CZ: Absolutely. One thing that I get which I find to be a compliment is, ‘You don’t act like a Playboy Playmate.’ A lot of these girls act like bimbos, but a handful of them are down-to-earth real girls. Going for jobs, a lot of people assume you’re just this sexy girl, but one of the advantages is you’re confident and OK with your body, and they know they’re going to get that.

MM: What makes you feel sexiest?
CZ: Wearing sexy undergarments and pearls. Knowing that you have something sexy on underneath makes you feel sexy and powerful. I really just discovered sexy lingerie this year. It’s really made a difference. It made me feel sexy.

MM: Playboy models are more, ahem, bare these days. Do you think the bush will ever make a comeback?
CZ: I hope the bush makes a comeback! Maybe not the full-fledged bush from the Anna Nicole Smith days, but there needs to be more. There’s way too much grooming going on. Women need to remember they are women and not little girls. Maybe I’m not speaking for most, but I think a guy likes hair. I think this shaving thing is something girls are doing for themselves.

MM: What’s your take on male below-the-belt grooming?
CZ: I don’t like a guy who grooms too much. I like chest hair and hair down there. It can certainly be trimmed, but it’s a fine line because if it’s trimmed too short it’s prickly and itchy. You’re not doing anything for me by trimming your crotch hair too short because it’s actually irritating.

MM: What’s sexy to you in a man?
CZ: Someone who’s genuine and dependable. I need a secure man, someone who’ll take care of themselves and take care of me, knows the right things to say and can take charge.

MM: What’s your best dating advice for guys?
CZ: Don’t talk about yourself too much. That is so unattractive. A guy who just talks about himself is so gross. And don’t get too drunk. To ensure a second date, ask about her, be interested in what she’s about, nothing too extravagant. Women want someone they can feel comfortable hanging out with, having good conversation.

MM: And in the bedroom?
CZ: The most important thing is to pay attention. It really does have to be about the girl. Pay attention to what she’s saying about where it feels good. It’s all about communication. I actually wear a ring that says “Listen.” It’s my motto.

Lead photo and last photo by Brian B. Hayes