The United States government recently granted Shera Bechard, a Canadian-born model and Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriend, a so-called genius visa. We suspect that the visa was not granted for her appearances in Playboy magazine. The grant is meant for “individuals with extraordinary ability,” and though it certainly takes an extraordinary individual to agree to date Hugh Hefner, we don’t think that’s the reason she got the visa either.
Perhaps it’s her entrepreneurial spirit: She did start “Frisky Friday,” a twitter trend in which women post risqué pictures of themselves every Friday on twitter. Playboy’s Frisky Friday site then ranks the best pictures each week. Apparently, this is what qualified her for an O-1 visa, which grants immigrants who may have won “an internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize” up to a three-year stay in this country.
(PHOTOS: A Brief History of the Playboy Club)
Don’t think Frisky Friday is Nobel Prize-worthy? Well, here’s a look at the rest of her resume: She was named Playboy’s Miss November in 2011 and starred in the film Sweet Karma. The plot of that film (according to IMDB): “A mute Russian girl infiltrates Toronto’s underground sex trade to avenge the death of her sister.”
O-1 and EB-1 are the new visas of choice for entrepreneurs, especially those in technology circles. The O-1 grants up to a three-year stay that can be extended. The EB-1 is similar but leads to a green card and permanent residency. There is no cap on the number of O-1s handed out each year. Last year, the government issued 12,280.