Playboy’s Celebrity Centerfolds
On September 27th we said goodbye to the original ‘Playboy’, Hugh Hefner: magazine publisher, businessman and a character who, to this day, divides opinion as to whether he liberated a generation, was a staunch feminist, a pioneer for women's rights and a sexual revolutionary — or whether he was simply a dirty old man who objectified women using them solely to serve men's desires. The tagline of the magazine was, after all, ‘Entertainment for Men’
Of course the magazine was famous for its naked centrefolds, but it also ran monthly interviews with public figures such as politicians, religious figures, playwrights, architects and artists — and often published short stories by luminary novelists including Chuck Palahniuk, Ian Fleming, P. G. Wodehouse and Roald Dahl to name a few.
Playboy might have come from a liberal standpoint but it always offered balanced content, regularly featuring more conservative celebrities and public figures. In October 2015, Playboy made the fairly surprising announcement that the magazine would no longer feature full frontal nudity. The new-look magazine would still feature a ‘Playmate of the Month’ and the obligatory images of women but it's popular jokes page and cartoons were also given the axe. But little more than a year later Playboy announced that the dropping of nudity had been a mistake, and reinstated its centrefolds once more, with one adjustment — the subtitle "Entertainment for Men" was dropped. The turnaround was hash tagged on social media as #nakedisnormal
Whichever way you fall on the Hugh Hefner debate, he was a well-loved and respected businessman who created and ruled a billion dollar business, started in 1953 out of his kitchen with a $1000 loan from his mom.
I've always been fascinated by the Playboy playmates and the glossy glamour of the cover girls, so in celebration of his life I took a look back at some of the most iconic and best selling Playboy covers and it's best known stars — who knew so many of today's fashion icons also joined the hallowed Playboy ranks over the years?
Perhaps the most famous cover girl of all: Marilyn Monroe featured on the first ever issue in December 1953 when the magazine sold for just 50 cents, the photographs used were not shot exclusively for Playboy but rather came from a calendar shoot. Nonetheless Marilyn set the tone for a publication that would hit monthly circulation figures in excess of 1.5 million in later years.
Pamela Anderson first appeared in 1989 and holds the record for the most Playboy covers: a whopping 14! She is still considered the queen of Playboy and one of its most iconic Playmates.
The ill-fated and Monroe-esque Anna Nicole Smith featured on the cover in 1993 and was later named “Playmate of the Year” this launched her modeling and celebrity career that lasted until her death in 2007.
Celebutante Kim Kardashian adorned the cover in December, 2007 — ever the publicity queen she leveraged the shoot to promote that season of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’.
Then came the “Supers” — most recently Kate Moss who featured in January and February 2014 with an 18 page pictorial for the magazine's 60th anniversary. But she wasn't the first supermodel to go the “Playboy way”. She was preceded by fellow original Supers — Cindy Crawford in July 1998 photographed by Herb Ritts,
Claudia Schiffer in May 1997, Naomi Campbell December
1999, Stephanie Seymour in Feb 1993
and Elle macpherson in May 1994.
Photo: Creative Commons
The original Charlie's Angel, Farrah Fawcett, made her Playboy debut in 1978 and subsequently appeared on four U.S Playboy covers. Her 1995 cover at the age of 48 was the biggest selling issue of the decade.
Although American Playboy is often seen as the daddy of the pack, the title is actually syndicated around the world in more than 20 countries. In 1995 Danni Minogue appeared on the cover of Australian Playboy which to this day is the highest ever selling issue of Australian Playboy.