A native of Tilamook, OR, who grew up in a military family, Playboy centerfold and Hugh Hefner paramour Bridget Marquardt reportedly became infatuated with Playboy from a young age. She attended secondary school at Galt High in Sacramento County, CA (where male friends encouraged her to pose for Hefner's iconic magazine), then voluntarily transferred to nearby Lodi High, graduating early; on the side, Marquardt worked for a cardiologist, an opportunity that led to full-time employment. Tenures at San Joaquin Delta Junior College and CSU (as a communications major) followed; throughout, Marquardt still harbored dreams of establishing herself as a Playboy playmate. She tested for the title of Millennium Playmate with a Polaroid test shoot in San Francisco in 1998, and subsequently accepted an invitation to do a second shoot with a three-day stay at the mansion, but unfortunately failed to win the Millennium competition. Never one to be daunted, Marquardt earned her master's degree from University of the Pacific in Stockton, then moved to Los Angeles and began accepting various acting roles.
Marquardt re-entered the Playboy world via exclusive invitations to various company parties and events, and in 2002 received an invite to go out on a date with Hefner. The actress cordially accepted, and shortly thereafter moved into the Playboy mansion as one of Hefner's live-in girlfriends. She attained television celebrity opposite fellow Hefner girlfriends Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson on the E! network's popular reality series The Girls Next Door (2005) -- a candid, behind-the-scenes view of mansion life.