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Even Playmate of the Year Ida Ljungqvist needs her beauty sleep

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Ida Ljungqvist.
Photo: Shane O'Neal

Since being named Playmate of the Year, Ida Ljungqvist’s world has been turned upside down.

The reigning queen of Playboy recently returned to the place of her May 2 crowning, the Palms, for yet another whirlwind weekend.

The Tanzanian-born beauty is slowly getting used to the go-go-go pace of being Playmate of the Year.

She said life has been “crazy” since being given the title in May.

“My whole world is upside down,” she said, when asked how the first two months have been after winning the prestigious title. “It’s been really crazy.”

“I kind of miss being out in public and having privacy,” she said. “I’m taking everything in stride.”

Her approach, so far, has been a combination of “expect nothing” and “expect the unexpected.”

“I didn’t expect anything when I became a Playmate,” she said – never mind Playmate of the Year.

“I kind of just went out on a limb and I don’t know why I did what I did, still,” she said with a laugh.

The way she sees it, “It’s just an adventure.”

2009 Playmate of the Year Ida Ljungqvist, second from left, at The Playboy Club in the Palms.

2009 Playmate of the Year Ida Ljungqvist, second from left, at The Playboy Club in the Palms.

Though her reign has just begun, the petite brunette has already endured a few scandals. A woman has accused her of “stealing child support” by scheming with the father of her child, whom she is in the process of divorcing, in an effort to hide his financial assets.

Ljungqvist has denied the soon-to-be-ex-wife’s charges, calling them little more than a “transparent attempt to extort additional monies.”

Meanwhile, the Playmate has also received some unwanted buzz stemming from her own failed marriage.

The soft-spoken stunner wanted to set the record straight about what she referred to as “my ex-husband and all that drama stuff.”

“I’m actually divorced, since April, before I got my title,” she said.

“He’s just an angry person,” she shrugged.

The couple filed for divorce in September and the marriage ended in April of this year, just a month before she received her title.

Now single, the picture-perfect Playmate is ready to mingle.

When the 27-year-old beauty arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday, she moved into what’s become her home-away-from-home, the Palms, and was greeted by a resort full of handsome hockey players.

The NHL Awards was held at the Pearl last week and hundreds of players, past and present, essentially took over the property for the gala and subsequent after parties.

While it was a surprise for Ljungqvist, she said it was a very welcome one.

“The hockey players!” she laughed, her eyes widening. “I was, like, oh my God I want to go out!”

“I called my cousin in Washington and she was like, ‘Why do you want to go out? Those guys have no front teeth,’” Ljungqvist said. “Is that true?”

Unfortunately, Miss March 2008 didn’t have the chance to find out for herself. She passed on partying with the pro athletes and instead decided to get her beauty sleep.

“I would’ve liked to go out that night but I had to sleep and get ready for the next day,” she said.

Though Ljungqvist may have laid low that night, she later made up for it. She took in the UFC fight at the Pearl on Saturday, hosted at Playboy Club on Sunday, and partied at Moon two nights in a row.

Ida Ljungqvist.

Ida Ljungqvist.

Alas, such is the life for 2009’s Playmate of the Year.

And while Ljungqvist may not have a man to love right now, she said she has much love for Las Vegas.

“It feels like home,” she said on Sunday while seated in the Playboy Club’s pinball lounge.

“It’s an exciting city, you know, it never sleeps. It lives up to its reputation of being completely overindulgent in everything, food, the nightclubs, everything. You’re up all night!”

While she said she loves Cirque du Soleil shows, Playboy’s top bunny tends to stick close to her home-away-from-home when she’s in town and rarely leaves the Palms property.

She says she likes it that way, though, since Moon and Playboy Club are her favorite nightspots.

“Of course I like the Playboy Club,” she said. “I feel like I know a lot of people … and it’s nice to sit at a table with people that you know and you have a good dealer,” she said.

Though she didn’t play any blackjack on Sunday, Ljungqvist hosted the club’s ongoing “Goodlife Sundays” event.

Dressed in a figure-flattering Marciano mini-dress dripping with black sequins, the hostess sipped Red Bull and vodka cocktails for a few hours before moving the party upstairs to Moon.

It was the second night the Playmate partied at the open-air nightspot: She also attended the club’s UFC post-fight party on Saturday night.

The scene was very different on Sunday, however, as the post-fight crowd was replaced by a decidedly more European crew of trance-music lovers.

Still, Ljungqvist fit the bill for both nights.

Though she was born in Africa, the model was, for the most part, raised in Sweden and has an enhanced appreciation for the kind of techno music that is so popular in Europe.

As luck would have it, German trance sensations Cosmic Gate were playing at Moon Sunday night, giving Ljungqvist the chance meet the icons and dance the night away in the DJ booth.

“I’m having a moment, here!” she proclaimed as one of the DJ duo’s more epic songs brought her back.

Ljungqvist enjoyed the moment – and the ones that followed – but ultimately called it a night around 2 a.m.

After all, even the best whirlwind weekends must come to an end eventually, and all ladies, even reigning Playmates of the year, need their beauty sleep.

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Melissa Arseniuk

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