Shera Bechard, the Canadian former girlfriend of Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner, has qualified for a special visa that the U.S. government reserves for "individuals with extraordinary ability". Though she is best known for appearing on the pages of Playboy, Bechard also created the photo-sharing craze 'Frisky Friday'.
Though the online craze showed a certain degree of entrepreneurial talent, the government cites awards such as a Nobel Prize as a possible qualification for the Visa. Los Angeles immigration lawyer Chris Wright successfully argued that the model's accomplishments earned her a slot. The O-1 visa allows individuals of extraordinary ability to move to the Unites States for up to three years, though this can be extended. British journalist Piers Morgan applied for one when he replaced Larry King on his late night television show. The EB-1 visa is similar, though ultimately leads to a green card and permanent residency, rather than a temporary stay based on a talent. The government has no cap on the number of O-1's that they award each year, though 12,280 were approved in 2011.
Bechard is understood to have had a relationship with Hefner following his shock split from Crystal Harris, who left him shortly before their wedding day. She was subsequently featured on a special edition "runaway bride" edition of the famous magazine.