Playboy models talk about the magazine, the founder and the celebrated parties
(Part One can be found HERE)
The Playboy Mansion, like the magazine, would not be so legendary without the Playboy models, the women that made the magazine and the empire what it is today. In fact, without that first centerfold, featuring Marilyn Monroe, it’s a good bet Playboy would not exist and Hefner would have retired as an editor for some big publishing firm. Hefner left Esquire magazine in 1952.
Most Playboy models won’t comment on having sex with Hefner or anyone else at the parties, not on the record anyway. Most of them liked the experience of being a part of the “Playboy family” and treat those subjects as family secrets.
Privately they might talk about it, but unless someone is writing a tell-all book, as was done by Izabella St James, sex with Hefner (or anyone else at the parties) is off the list of things to talk about. The most any Playboy models have said was that people hook up (have sex) at the parties and some of the party guests can get touchy-feely, groping the models.
Five models agreed to share their views with us, on the company, it’s founder and the mansion with it’s parties. None of them spoke about any sex at the mansion, but the four that attended the parties said they loved the experience.
Three of the five wish to remain anonymous, but two are Playmates, two are Cyber Girls and another a model who has appeared online in the Cyber Club and on Playboy TV.
The first Playmate said she could be identified as a “Miss August.”
The First Playmate
On Playboy’s 60th anniversary Miss August said, with a little laugh, “Wow that must make Hef really old. (He is 87 -Editor’s note). It’s awesome that a company can be in business and successful for that long. They are a huge trend-setting and graphic icon and deserve a big birthday party!”
She has been at many mansion parties and said this about the parties, “It’s the best. Absolutely the most amazing party you will ever go to for many reasons. There is a lot of skin showing of course, a ton of hot chicks, great costumes and attire, food is yummy, music is great, and decorations are out of this world.
“If you are a Playmate you feel right at home and its like going to a normal party. If you are a guest it’s awe-inspiring and you can’t stop looking at everything. There is not enough time to explore and take it all in.”
As for the celebrities that attend the parties and make them A-List events, Miss August said, “Most of the celebrities are super nice. They are in a place that can be relaxing because it’s closed off to crazy fans.
“The ones I met that were very cool were Kevin Spacey — super nice, very fun; Randy Jackson — very friendly and relaxed. Toby McGuire — very quiet and seemed to like the anonymity. Pauly Shore completely lives up to his rep. Jose Conseco — not a big talker but a big guy. He is so tall and wide.
Too many to remember them all.”
Miss August wasn’t on the GND TV show, but of Hefner she said, “Hef is an amazing and generous person. He is very kind to those he cares about and in general just likes to have a good time. I didn’t know Crystal well but did know Holly (Madison). Although Holly was a little eccentric, she loved Hef deeply and I was sad to see them split up.”
Finally, I asked her about posing nude. “It’s great! It’s amazing what a team can do to make you look gorgeous: lights, photography, make up and of course the model. I have no problem being nude, you just treat it like any other job. You’re just naked. Ha!
“The only con is weather and long hours. They don’t care if its 105 degrees or 35 degrees and your naked. You still shoot. And the hours are long. You may get stuck in a pose for 2-3 hours and be stiff the next day.”
As for the critics of Playboy, Miss August would only say this, “Everyone is entitled to his or her own belief. I would just ask that they respect my decisions to pose, as I respect their opinions.”
The Cyber Girl
Our second model was featured primarily online with Playboy’s Cyber Club and had the title of Cyber Girl of the Week.
Cyber Girls came about in 2000 when PEI management realized the benefits of having more than one featured model per month, so they created the title of Cyber Girl of the Week, And then each month they would choose one of those weekly Cyber Girls and make her the Cyber Girl of the Month.
Then at the end of each year one of those Cyber Girls of the Month would be chosen as the Cyber Girl of the Year. And of course Playboy takes photos and shoots videos of all the Cyber Girls for those titles, the Cyber Girl of the Year having 20 or more total pictorials and nearly as many videos.
If being a Playboy Playmate was not in the cards, then Cyber Girl was a pretty nice title too.
The first Cyber Girl of the Week was Stephanie Heinrich who went on to be the first Cyber Girl of the Month and then Miss October 2001.
Our Cyber Girl had this to say about Playboy’s 60th Anniversary, “That’s very exciting that Playboy is sill strong. They have come a long way.”
The model has a high opinion of the founder, saying, “Hefner has always been a very nice guy. He loves to entertain his guests and enjoys the company of so many beautiful girls.”
What was it like posing for the iconic brand? “It was a very tasteful and it was a nice layout, very classy. At first I was a little concerned but once I saw the pictures, I felt safe.”
She went to a number of the Mansion parties and said, “Everything is fancy — the food, the drinks and even the music. They always hire an artist to perform at the end of the night. It is a big show.”
Her opinion of the celebrities at the parties was relatively the same as that of Miss August.
“The celebrities are very neutral. I will probably say some of the regular rich people who are invited could be mean. They act like they own the mansion.”
The Cyber Girl did attend mansion parties when GND was on the air, but did she herself ever show up on TV? “I don’t know if I was in one of the episodes. The cameras were there all the time, but you never knew when you were in the shot.”
The Playboy TV Model
Our third model, like the first two, has moved on from modeling, but had good things to say about the experience and has no regrets about posing nude.
Her name is Virginia and she said, “I don’t remember the first time I saw a Playboy magazine, but I was generally aware of the magazine’s social magnitude from a young age. From my early teens, I had aspirations of (among many other things) becoming a fashion model, as well as posing for Playboy.
“Sherilyn Fenn’s pictorial in the ’90s is one of my favorites. Kate Moss is my all time favorite supermodel, and the beauty and boldness of her nude work was a further inspiration for me to pursue nude modeling. I am very excited to pick up my copy of her anniversary issue.”
Fenn was one of the stars of the TV show (and movie) Twin Peaks. She appeared on the cover of the December 1990 issue and was featured in a pictorial. Kate Moss is on the cover of the 60th Anniversary issue of Playboy and she has a celebrity pictorial inside.
Now that she is pursuing other things, I asked Virginia what she thought about her experiences as a Playboy model. “I’m happy that I had the opportunity to pose for Playboy. I worked for Playboy Live, appeared on Playboy TV and Playboy Radio, and had a pictorial in the Cyber Club (now called Playboy Plus, I believe). I began modeling as a fine art nude model before pursuing any men’s magazines or glamour modeling. I think it’s important for women to be completely comfortable with this kind of work on a small scale before pursuing anything bigger.”
One question nude models are always asked is, “How did your family react?”
Virginia’s reply, “My family wasn’t always supportive of my modeling choices, although I never participated in pornography (I think most will agree that Playboy is not pornographic). I have always been a bit of a rebel with my life choices, however, so I don’t think it particularly shocked them.”
Some former Playboy models have found that posing for the iconic men’s magazine did cause problems with employment and even where their children went to school (yes, some Playboy models were mothers when they decided to pose). For Virginia that hasn’t been a problem. “It has not had a negative effect on my life in any other way. Were I to pursue a career in teaching, politics, or working for conservative law or business institutions, I would have perhaps made different decisions.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my years as a model, and I am also self-disclosing and non-censored in my writing and artwork. I simply don’t believe in living a life based on fear of social consequences.
“I have done some acting as well as modeling, and my Playboy resume was of some help to me when I landed a lead role in my first feature film, an R-rated college comedy that required a topless scene. I have never been told that I lost a gig because of my nude Internet presence — quite the contrary!
“All of that being said, I do not think women should feel that they have to pose nude to be successful. One should be completely comfortable with such work, and not be tempted by paychecks or prestige.”
Cyber Girl Carlotta Champagne
Our fourth model is also a Cyber Girl, Carlotta Champagne, who was featured in November 2006 as a Coed of the Week on the Cyber Club and then in June 2007 as a Cyber Girl of the Week.
First thing Carlotta said, when asked the question about sex at the Playboy Mansion, she replied, “I really don’t have any interesting stories about sex at the mansion. I’ve basically been a guest there.
“Outside of a few celebs playing grab-ass, I’ve never been asked to sleep with Hef or any of his friends or any of the other things that get whispered about.”
Many people think every Playboy model that works, or is a guest, at Playboy Mansion parties is obliged, or strongly urged to pleasure the other guests or the host. That’s been refuted by every model I’ve ever asked, including those who didn’t want to be quoted here, anonymously or otherwise.
Champagne has great praise for Playboy, saying it is awesome that Playboy has stayed on top for so long, especially considering all the competitors that followed.
She has met Hugh Hefner, but hasn’t been formally introduced to Mrs. Hefner, Crystal. But Champagne said, “Hugh Hefner is such an icon. I’ve only spoken to him a few times, briefly, but he’s always been a gentleman and seems so happy to be at every event. If I were him I would probably say ‘ladies, please go home so I can listen to death metal in my underwear’ … but I guess that isn’t how he rolls.”
But, he has met Ozzy Osbourne …
During the Girls Next Door years Champagne met the three most famous “Girlfriends,” Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson (now Wilkinson-Baskett).
And it was often at mansion parties that she met the home’s famous occupants. Champagne is in the first episode of Season 4 of the Girls Next Door, “Patriot Dames,” the Fourth of July episode . Carlotta can be seen twirling the tassels of her pasties — with Ron Jeremy. She’s pretty talented.
Like many others, Champagne’s impressions of the Playboy Mansion and it’s parties is beyond complimentary. “It is beautiful and a bit surreal. I remember seeing the mansion on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when I was a kid and thinking how cool it would be to go there. Now I have to admit my favorite thing about the mansion is the food.”
As for the celebrities, she really didn’t have nay problems with them. “I have met some very interesting people at the mansion. Jon Lovitz is a sweetheart, Hugh Hefner is an icon, Leonardo DiCaprio is even more beautiful in person and Ron Jeremy is…well Ron Jeremy.”
For Champagne, the good things about posing nude and for Playboy in particular, “The experiences. Meeting interesting people, traveling, being creative, making art, being my own boss and never working with the same people day after day.”
The flipside of that occupation? “Stalking fans, bad stereotypes of what people think comes with being a nude model, and people using my image to catfish others.”
To those who may not know, Carlotta is referring to people using her images for purposes not related to her, including setting up fake accounts on social media, or claiming her as a girlfriend or wife … it’s a long list of what people do when they “catfishing.”
To those that think Playboy and other men’s magazines and websites are demeaning to women, Carlotta said, “This is such a stale topic. I did not grow up in a household that shunned nudity. I embrace art and have a strong love for pin ups.
“When I was in college I did a directed study on kitsch and camp art and there was an entire section on Playboy and early pin ups. When I was first published in Playboy my professor wrote me a letter to congratulate me on becoming a piece of camp history.
“There has never been a moment where I felt demeaned doing this; this is my body and my choice.”
As for the critics who condemn what she does on religious grounds, “I don’t get it. Proud atheist here.”
For more from Carlotta Champagne, visit the YouTube channel she shares with the Rag Mag Rejects. They’re talented and funny.
Miss December 2005
The fifth model is Playmate Christine Smith, Miss December 2005. You can see photos of her in a bunny costume on Instagram and Facebook, for special parties and events, including charities and advocacy campaigns.
The first question: what are her thoughts on Playboy’s 60th Anniversary? “I’m excited that Playboy is having a 60th anniversary! It shows that Playboy magazine is much more than just classy nudes of beautiful women. The celebrity interviews and countless celebrities who have posed for the magazine over 60 years prove that Playboy is a wonderful part of history. Hef’s TV show, Playboy Penthouse, was the first of its kind at the time. He featured many beat poets, writers, comics, and musical immortals who are now legends.”
Smith has attended many mansion parties, “The parties were too wonderful to accurately describe to someone who hasn’t yet attended them. The property and the history behind it, is breathtaking in itself. The staff instantly treats you like you are a best friend. The general feeling overall is that you are with family.
“The top celebs will speak with you like you’ve been friends for years. The amount of time they spend decorating is incredible, when you first walk in it looks like a fairyland. The beauty of it all you will remember forever.”
As for the TV show GND. “I was staying at The Mansion when they filmed part of the first season of The Girls Next Door and was on a few episodes. It was so much fun to be a part of, I think they did a great job of showing their lives in a way that all ages could enjoy watching on TV.”
So, Christine was around during the GND days and lately, with Hef and his new wife, Crystal Hefner (nee Harris). “It was an honor for me to have spent so much time with Hef! He is known for being a ladies man/playboy, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. He is so funny, charming and intelligent, and a true gentleman.
“He treats everyone he meets with respect and has such a kind aura about him. The reaction people had upon seeing him, when we were in public was incredible! You could tell the men and women who saw him will tell their grandchildren about the time they met the iconic Hugh Hefner!”
One of the big topics in the gossip media is the relationship between Hugh and Crystal Hefner, in particular, Crystal. Smith said, “I have been very fortunate to work with Crystal numerous times. Outside of her obviously being beautiful, she was very fun to be around! It makes perfect sense that he met her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.”
For most people, being nude in public, even at a nude beach, can be difficult. For Miss December, it was “awkward,” at first. “But then I saw how much work went into every setting, lighting etc., and remembered how many celebrities had shot on the same set, and I realized how much of an honor it was to be a part of it all. And to be considered one of the twelve most beautiful girls that they’ve seen that year was such a compliment!”
The critics of Playboy and nude photography don’t go unnoticed by this Playmate. Smith said she doesn’t see the photos as demeaning to women in any way. “The photos are so classy, and so much work is put into showing ‘the girl next door’ in a beautiful light, I feel the photos are like art. Showing how beautiful a woman’s body truly is.”
As for the people who decry Playboy on religious grounds, Christine made an interesting point, “… everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. But I don’t feel Playboy’s photos are any different than the statue of David. It’s just showcasing the human body.”
The statue of David by Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
Miss December is very philanthropic, especially with her time. She has done much for a variety of causes, in particular, animal rescue. “My work with animals has been so blessed by my being in Playboy! I’ve been able to help so many charities just by calling and saying “I’m Playboy’s Miss December 2005,’ and they would give me whatever I was asking for to help the charity.”
It isn’t just Christine the individual. Playboy has a long history of being there for the troops and veterans. Playmate of the Year 1965 Jo Collins was nicknamed “G.I. Jo” for her trips to Vietnam to entertain the troops.
“Playboy is so generous when it comes to charities! I’ve visited veterans on Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving for years, that Playboy had set up.”
“The animal charity fundraisers I’ve helped, Playboy has always been so kind to mail me headshots to sign and let me advertise that I’d be at each event. I couldn’t have helped a fourth of the charities I have if I wasn’t in Playboy. ”
What does it mean to be a Playboy Playmate? “I’m very lucky to be a part of the wonderful Playboy family! All of the autograph signings I’ve done, three fourths of the people waiting in line for a signed photo were women, wanting a photo for their husbands, sons or for themselves. I feel that that shows that being a Playmate is being a part of history, not just a month in a magazine!”
Playboy and the Playboy Mansion are Los Angeles institutions, especially now that the entire company is headquartered in Beverly Hills. The Mansion will continue to host the parties that have become legendary.
Thousands of women will flock to the company’s casting calls and now they pay for the experience and the chance to appear in that centerfold.
In fact, if you wish to try out at a casting call you’ll need to make an appointment. CLICK HERE if you’re interested.
They will get paid anywhere from $350 for one photo shoot to $100,000 if chosen to be the Playmate of the Year. Plus, the models make money from appearances at car shows, special nightclub and other events that comes their way due to their exposure in a Playboy publication or on Playboy TV/Radio.
That’s slightly more than the $50 Marilyn Monroe was paid in 1949 to pose for the photos used in that iconic first issue. The photographer sold the photos to a distributor and then Hefner bought the photos for the magazine. Although they never met, Hefner said he spoke with Monroe once over the phone and at least from his side it sounds like they has an amicable conversation.
Some of the women that attend a casting will find themselves at a Mansion party, covered in nothing but a little jewelry, some stilettos and body paint, which is a paid modeling gig — the way it’s been happening for over 30 years.
After 42 years as an L.A. institution and 60 years as an international icon, the Playboy Mansion shows no signs of slowing down.
Congratulations Playboy and Hugh Hefner on your 60 years of publishing success, becoming an L.A. institution and an international icon. Let the party continue.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.