Ana Dias

Passion in Paradise


Right after New Year’s Eve 2020, I received an email from Playboy’s photography director, Anna Wilson. She began with: “Happy new year! I hope you are well! I wanted to reach out as we have a really groundbreaking and exciting shoot with one of our Q2 Playmates and we would love for you to shoot it. The Playmate is Marsha Elle and she will be our first Amputee Playmate in Playboy’s history.” Of course, my instant response was a big ‘YES!’ I felt deeply honored to be a part of this thrilling and historic project.
After checking out Marsha Elle’s Instagram pics, I was really captivated by her positive energy and lovely smile. Her vibes inspired me to start creating a moodboard for her shoot.
It became clear to me that Marsha would shine in a photoshoot at a breathtaking beach. Crystal-clear waters, warm sunlight, playful splashes, cool shadows, and soft white sands – this was the setting she needed to showcase her radiant dark skin and naturally exuberant spirit.
Since it was winter in the Northern Hemisphere, we decided to chase the sun elsewhere.
After some online chatting back and forth, we chose our spot: an amazing villa in Sian Ka’an, Mexico. This place is tucked away in an ecological reserve, surrounded by nothing but pure nature. And we had over 900 meters of our very own jungle, private beach and lagoon. It used to be a coconut plantation, which was incredibly cool.
The photoshoot took place over two days, on January 19th and 20th. We spent most of our time shooting amidst the beautiful white sand and under the swaying palm trees, capturing Marsha’s interactions with nature. She was not only beautiful but also incredibly brave and up for anything, even the tricky poses. Right from our first meeting, I knew we were going to create something special together. Her enthusiasm and passion were truly infectious.
One of the funniest memories from those days was when we were inside the water, in the sea, and Marsha’s leg prosthetic started to float! She quickly took it off and handed it to Evan to bring to the shore. Watching Evan sprint to the beach, slicing through the water, with Marsha’s leg up in the air was quite a scene. It’s a memory that never fails to bring a smile to my face every time I think about it.
Photographing Marsha was a genuinely amazing experience, and we even had time to take our first swim of the year in the Caribbean waters, gaze at the stars at night, explore a nearby cenote, and share plenty of smiles while savoring Mexican tequila or drinking corona beers.

– Ana Dias

BTS photos by Filipe Figueiredo, Roger van der Veer and Fareeza Ghani


Model: Marsha Elle; Photographer: Ana Dias; Photography & Multimedia Director: Anna Wilson; Creative Director: Erica Loewy; Photography Assistant: Roger van der Veer; Styling: Jill Vincent; Makeup & Hair: Fareeza Ghani; Staff Photography and Video: Evan Woods; Photo Coordinator: Kristi Beck; Prodution Manager: Jeremy Crisafulli; Project Manager: Jillian Newman; Video: Filipe Figueiredo

Playboy, Marsha Elle