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Puppy Love

Memphis Flyer Hotties 2015

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For more than a decade, we've been asking our readers to send us pictures of their hottest friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, baristas, or even the complete strangers they've been crushing on. Then we carefully study every image to narrow down the hottest of the hot to share with you in our annual Valentine's Day Hotties issue.

Sure, on the surface, the issue seems a tad shallow. But these Hotties have a beauty that's more than skin-deep. Not only are they smart, funny, and successful, many are also giving back to the community through volunteer efforts, the arts, or careers that help people. And this year, our roster of Hotties just so happens to share a love for animals.

And that's why they agreed to help find homes for a few homeless dogs and cats from the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County. Each Hottie is posing with an animal that is currently up for adoption at the facility at 935 Farm Road. To inquire about adopting one of these pets (or any animal housed there), check out the local Humane Society website at www.memphishumane.org.

Sorry, but the human Hotties in these pictures are not available for adoption.

Evelyn Diaz, Age: 23

Relationship status: Dating Zodiac sign: Cancer

Posing with: Fudge

Evelyn moved to Memphis from Honduras seven years ago. She was in a new country and didn't know the language. But today, Evelyn has not only mastered English, she's tutoring native English speakers on how to speak Spanish. And she and her sister run a business cleaning houses and babysitting.

What are three random facts we should know about you?

I love meeting people of different cultures and religions.

I love being outside on a sunny day, just biking and going to the park. My favorite types of foods are Japanese, Indian, and Mexican.

What do you think makes someone hot?

I have learned that beauty is not just physical. It's about being loving and sincere and honest.

What's your favorite thing about Memphis?

People are friendly and outgoing. I like to be somewhere where I can have a community of friends.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

I love Café Eclectic and their barbecue chicken sliders.

What's the first drink you order at a bar?

Pineapple juice with coconut rum. Where I'm from it's very warm and tropical, and this reminds me of my country.

What did you eat for breakfast?

A green smoothie with spinach, banana, strawberries, dates, cranberry juice, and coconut juice.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

My kitty, lip gloss, and mascara.

Brennan Villines
  • Brennan Villines

Brennan Villines, Age: 27

Relationship status: Single

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

Posing with: Who

If you've been to a Memphis Grizzlies game, you've probably heard Brennan Villines sing. He's the lead singer of the Garry Goin Band, the official Grizzlies house band. But Brennan, who makes his living as a singer-songwriter and pianist, also has his own band, the Brennan Villines Trio. You can find their self-titled EP on iTunes, and they have a new music project coming out this year.

Cat person or dog person?

I am a dog person. I have a 4-year-old Golden Retriever named Rick. We share the same birthday — November 28th. This past year, we shared a party. I had a cake for him.

When you have out-of-town guests, where do you take them?

We're going to Beale Street. And then we'd of course go to a Grizzlies game. I would also take them to Jerry's Sno Cones, a show at Playhouse on the Square or Theatre Memphis, and Alchemy for a drink.

What did you eat for dinner last night?

Buffalo chicken tenders, my favorite food ever.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

I would go back to the prehistoric age of the dinosaurs just to see them. And then I'd also probably go back to the 1920s and experience the birth of jazz.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

My dog Rick, my grand piano, and my new Ninja blender.

Do you have any weird habits?

I put hot sauce on everything. It's not weird, but I put it on some things that a lot of people would not put it on — eggs, steak, burgers, fries.

Do you collect anything?

I have my great-grandmother's and my mother's records, so I have a music collection that spans over 100 years, ranging from George Gershwin to Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Lia White Roemer
  • Lia White Roemer

Lia White Roemer, Age: ÒOver 21Ó

Relationship status: Single ("but I have eyes for someone")

Zodiac sign: Taurus

Posing with: Dio

Lia White Roemer has a passion for social justice, and currently, she's heading up a project with the YWCA to enhance the criminal justice system's response to domestic-violence victims. But when she's not looking out for others, she likes to look out from mountaintops. Lia is an avid fan of bouldering, a form of rock climbing.

What do you think makes someone hot?

I like someone who is very aware and can talk about local politics and knows what is going on nationally and in the world, who is not materialistic, who is loyal, and has a beautiful smile.

What did you eat for breakfast?

I'm going to sound like such a prude. I had steamed chard and a poached egg.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday?

Sitting around the house listening to underground hip-hop mixtapes and reading The Commercial Appeal.

What is the last band/musician you saw play live?

Big KRIT in Nashville and a local band called Iron Mic Coalition.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

I would go back to my childhood, playing in the plastic swimming pool with my twin sister, splashing around.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

I'd want access to some type of music, a crash pad so I could go bouldering, and someone to keep me company.

Do you have any weird habits?

I hum to myself, and unless it's pointed out to me, I don't even realize I'm doing it.

Bella Duballe (aka Slade Kyle)
  • Bella Duballe (aka Slade Kyle)

Bella Duballe (aka Slade Kyle), Age: 34

Relationship status: Engaged

Zodiac: Aries

Posing with: Ayeesee

Slade Kyle, a founding and resident member of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, is a man by day. But by night, he morphs into a fabulous drag queen named Bella Duballe. So fabulous in fact that she won first alternate in last year's Miss Gay Tennessee pageant. That means Bella will be going on to compete in Miss Gay America, and she's only been performing for about a year.

Cat person or dog person?

Personally, I'm persnickety like a cat but loyal like a dog. I really think I love them both equally. I couldn't possibly choose.

What are three random facts we should know about you?

I was once a professional wrestler. I'm a strict vegetarian. I love animals far too much to eat them. And I love chocolate, whiskey, and anything pink and sparkly.

Do you have a bar that serves as your home base?

No. I perform at a lot of the local bars and clubs, but I'm not permanently attached to at any of them at the moment. I also perform frequently at all kinds of variety shows and other eclectic events.

What did you eat for breakfast?

I like to start the day with sprouted multi-grain toast, some steel-cut oats with fresh fruit and organic yogurt, and of course a mimosa (or four).  

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

I'd love to see ancient Egypt. I want see how they built those pyramids and get some eyeliner tips from Cleopatra.

What song do you want played at your funeral?

"I Did It My Way" by Frank Sinatra would be fitting.

Best advice you've ever received?

"You are enough," and "What other people think of you is none of your business."

Linnie Yarbrough Jr.
  • Linnie Yarbrough Jr.

Linnie Yarbrough Jr., Age: 32

Relationship status: In a relationship

Zodiac sign: Virgo

Posing with: Josh

A former professional track & field runner for Nike until retiring in 2011, Linnie Yarbrough Jr. is nothing short of inspirational. He suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car accident in 2012 that claimed his brother's life. The doctors said Linnie would struggle bouncing back from his injury, but he recovered more quickly than expected. And he still holds the record for the fastest hurdler to ever attend MTSU.

When you have out-of-town guests, where do you take them?

There is a park downtown where you can see the old bridge. I love to take my friends there so they can see the evolution of Memphis. And I like to take people on Urban Bicycle Food Ministry rides on Wednesday nights. We ride around and hand out burritos.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

The Bayou Bar & Grill, shrimp and grits.

What's the first drink you order at a bar?

Budweiser. I was born in St. Louis, so it's in my blood.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday?

I have to go for a run. I'm doing a 90-day challenge with my friends to run one mile a day for 90 days. Then it would progress to bocce ball on South Main. After that, I would watch a Grizzlies game, go to Sekisui for sushi, and circle back for a nightcap at the Bayou.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

I would travel back to the 1980s. I dig how corny everybody was and how people danced. Back in the 1980s, people just wiggled, and I'm a wiggler.

What song do you want played at your funeral?

"I Remember" by deadmau5.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

A ball of some sort (even just a tennis ball), my journal, and a picture of my family.

Clare Freeman
  • Clare Freeman

Clare Freeman, Age: 24

Relationship status: Single

Zodiac sign: Capricorn/Aquarius cusp

Posing with: Adeen

Clare Freeman spends her days working as an illustrator and designer at S2N Design, a downtown branding and web design firm. And when she's not making art for work, she's making art for fun. She also loves to draw and bind books.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

I have so many favorites. Alchemy, the pimento cheese sliders with bacon. Kwik Check, a gyro. Pho Binh, the lunch buffet. Central BBQ, a sandwich with slaw and mild sauce.

What's the first drink you order at a bar?

Bourbon and ginger beer.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

In third grade, I wanted to move to Australia and study the platapus. In fifth grade, I wanted to move to Alaska and train dogs for the Iditarod trail and own a kennel.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

Car rides to school with my dad. He made really funny jokes, and that was hilarious.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

Books that I could reread, a sketch book and pen, and a banjo.

Do you have any weird habits?

I cry when pictures of dogs are too cute. They're like happy-joy tears, not sobbing tears.

Do you collect anything?

I have a collection of art prints from friends or artists who I meet. I have more than I can fit on my walls.

Trey Browder
  • Trey Browder

Trey Browder, Age: 36

Relationship status: Single

Zodiac sign: Scorpio

Posing with: Josh

Trey Browder loves cats. And he is not ashamed. In fact, he's on a mission to change the whole stigma that associates cats and femininity. Trey has launched an Instagram account called Cat Gay Trey, where he poses — naked on a bed; in manly pajamas; in business attire — with cats."The idea is questioning basic male stereotypes and how men show and share affection," Trey says.

Cat person or dog person? I'm guessing I already know your answer.

You are totally correct. And here's what's funny: I hated cats until a few years ago. I thought they were arrogant little bastards and they were selfish and self-centered. But now I have two cats — Wookie and Wooyee.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

Shanghai, Thai coconut curry vegetable soup with tofu.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday?

I'm trying to not say with my cats, but that's what it is. Netflix with the kitties.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A comedian, a musician, or a psychiatrist.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

I'd say the 1960s, but if I got drafted, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

Definitely cats. And cat food and litter.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Making the Flyer's Hottie list after all these years of angst and jealousy.

Marco Pave
  • Marco Pave

Marco Pave, Age: 22

Relationship status: Married

Zodiac sign: Scorpio

Posing with: Sgt. Tibbs

Marco Pave started rapping with friends in the cafeteria in the third grade, and he hasn't stopped since. His mixtape Obscure Reality came out in March of last year, and his latest single, "Cake," dropped last month. On Valentine's Day, you can catch Marco performing, after his wife Zandria F. Robinson lectures on race, place, and love in the #blacklivesmatter moment. The event, called "Love Reign," is from 8-11 p.m. at Forge on Broad.

What do you think makes someone hot?

Intelligence, ambition, a positive mindset, and a good spirit.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

Soul Fish, and I always get the three-piece catfish meal with greens and okra.

What book are you currently reading?

How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

I'd probably go back to see Pangea to see how the continents connected.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

Fresh water, shelter (with electricity), and hunting and gathering expertise.

Do you have any weird habits?

I stopped doing this at 18, but I used to eat paper.

Best advice you've ever received?

In early 2013, I was constantly getting fired from jobs and dropping out of school. And my mom was like, you need to focus on your music and do what you were put on this planet to do, and that's record music and help change people's lives.

Eileen Hogan
  • Eileen Hogan

Eileen Hogan, Age: ÒOld enoughÓ

Relationship status: "I'm having the time of my life right now."

Zodiac sign: Gemini

Posing with: Peridot

Chances are, Eileen Hogan has mixed you a drink once or twice. The bar manager for Alchemy and bartender at Zebra Lounge got her start behind the bar at the Hard Rock Café. And that's when she discovered bartending was her calling. Her signature drink is coffee infused with Jameson. When she's not behind the bar, Eileen, who lost her father to Lou Gehrig's disease, raises money for ALS research.

Cat person or dog person?

I love both. I have a cat because I'm never home. My cat's name is Guinness.

What are three random facts we should know about you?

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I'm vegan. And I'll never let you down.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

I love Fuel Café. Their vegan reuben is so yummy.

What's the first drink you order at a bar?

A shot of Jameson and a beer.

What is the last band/musician you saw play live?

I saw Tiesto and Britney Spears last week when I was in Vegas.

What song do you want played at your funeral?

The first thing that comes to mind is "Baby Got Back," which I do not have.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

Music, hummus, and a pretty person.

Rafael Ferreras
  • Rafael Ferreras

Rafael Ferreras, Age: 38

Relationship status: Engaged

Zodiac sign: Taurus

Posing with: Keebler

Rafael Ferreras has been dancing for most of his life. The Ballet Memphis dancer has worked professionally for 20 years. That means dance classes and practice daily, plus touring and local mainstage performances. But he does have a fall back, just in case. Rafael recently graduated from culinary school.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

I love Central BBQ, and I always order the ribs.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday?

I'm a homebody, so I like lying down and watching TV.

What TV shows are you watching?

I love Law & Order: SVU and House.

What song do you want played at your funeral?

"She Works Hard for the Money" by Donna Summer.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Having such a long career in what I do. The average professional dancing career lasts five years, and I've been doing this for 20 years.

Do you have any weird habits?

I bite the inside of my cheeks all day.

Best advice you've ever received?

Someone once told me I was a winner since the day of conception. You beat out millions of other sperm to reach the egg, so you're born a winner.

Nyasha Hill
  • Nyasha Hill

Nyasha Hill, Age: 23

Relationship status: In a relationship

Zodiac sign: Leo

Posing with: Percival

Loving Memphis is a job requirement for Nyasha Hill, who serves as the welcome coordinator for the New Memphis Institute. It's her job to help connect newcomers to the resources they need to live, work, and play in the Bluff City. Nyasha also founded a nonprofit, Visionary Inc., to help high school kids prepare for college.

What are three random facts we should know about you?

I'm a diehard Grizzlies fan. They represent so much of what I love about Memphis. I do beauty pageants, which people are usually surprised to find out. I really love to travel.

What's your favorite thing about Memphis?

Memphis has a strong sense of character, whether the music or the history or the food.

What's your favorite local restaurant? What do you order there?

The Irish stew at Brass Door, and the crawfish etouffee at DeJavu.

What's the first drink you order at a bar?

I don't drink a lot, so I'm going to say Cherry Coke.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a ballerina and a bartender.

What song do you want played at your funeral?

I don't want my funeral to be sad at all. I want a marching band and a parade. I want it to be upbeat and celebratory.

If you could be a celebrity for a day, who would you be?

I would definitely be Michelle Obama.

Deiadra Brown
  • Deiadra Brown

Deiadra Brown, Age: 31

Relationship status: In a relationship

Zodiac sign: Capricorn

Posing with: Stella

In her career as a trauma nurse at Regional One Health, Deiadra Brown has seen it all: "We see everything from freak accidents, stuff you'd think should be on Final Destination 20, to random everyday accidents — people on ATVs, motorcycles, even crossing the street and getting hit by a car, to gunshot wounds." Needless to say, she enjoys her downtime — reading, shopping, or going to the Memphis Zoo.

What do you think makes someone hot?

A sense of humor and a smile.

What's your favorite thing about Memphis?

The culture, the food, the music. You can always find somebody playing music.

When you have out-of-town guests, where do you take them?

For food, something really cheap and really good is Miss Polly's Soul City Cafe. If they want to be festive, I would take them to Midtown to listen to music at Lafayette's Music Room.

What did you eat for breakfast?

An egg white omelet with bell peppers, onions, spinach, turkey sausage, mushrooms, cheese, and salsa and sour cream on top.

What song do you want played at your funeral?

I love Bruno Mars, so I'd probably say "Uptown Funk."

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My daughter. She's 8.

Do you collect anything?

Elephants — lamps, rings, shoes, little statues.

Micah Winter
  • Micah Winter

Micah Winter, Age: 23

Relationship status: "I have a boyfriend"

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

Posing with: Smokey

David Young Winter
  • David Young Winter

David Young Winter, Age: 23

Relationship status: Married

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

Posing with: Watts

When they're not busy working — Micah as a hair stylist and David as a registered nurse — these hot twins are making music on social media. For their online singing group, the Winter Twins, Micah and David post videos of themselves covering everyone from Duffy to Beyoncé to Cher. For now, the music is mostly on Facebook, but they're hoping to do more live performances this year.

What do you think makes someone hot?

Micah: Success.

David: Confidence.

What's the first drink you order at a bar?

Micah: A Bullit straight-up and a Budweiser. He'll take anything with sugar.

David: I like alcohol, but I don't like to take shots like he does.

Micah: If it's fruity and flowery and it has bubbles in it, he likes it.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday?

David: I'm a part of a church choir, so I have rehearsal on Saturdays. And sometimes I work on Saturdays.

Micah: Drunk.

What is the last band/musician you saw play live?

David: The First Congo choir.

Micah: It was Katy Perry, but I didn't pay for those tickets. I'm really ashamed of it.

David: I was on the front row at Beyoncé.

Micah: No one cares about that.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

Micah: I'm going to New York City in the 1980s. Real nasty, grungy stuff.

David: I would really like to go back to the days of big band singers because that's what my voice is suited for.

What three things would you want with you on a deserted island?

Micah: Mary Oliver's completed works, a bottle of perfume, and my boyfriend.

David: Every Rolling Stone that I have, my cell phone with an unlimited charge, and Le Croix carbonated water.

Micah: And a bottle of Jameson.

Do you have any weird habits?

Micah: I tend to start sentences with the word "also."

David: Do I have a weird habit?

Micah: You tend to interrupt people when they're speaking. I don't know if it's weird, but it's annoying.

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