Candid Candace on Russian TV? Da!

When I received the email, I thought it was a hoax. A lady by the name of Nataliya Mak contacted me saying she was a producer for a TV show, pust govoryat, that airs on the Channel One Network in Russia and would I be available for an interview. In her email, she said, "We are very touched with you as a person. You are very inspiring to the Russian Community over the world.....etc." Well, she had me at hello with this kind of flattery! Of course, later I found out she had sent exactly the same message to my fellow Playboy Playmate Janet Lupo (Miss November 1975)! At least she was consistent!

Playboy Promotions director James Gonis was contacted for verification of this request. I also checked with friends of mine who spoke Russian asking them to check out the show. On Wikipedia, it said the program, "Let Them Talk" hosted by Andrey Malakhov, was similar to "Jerry Springer" and one of the top rated shows in the country. I liked the fact that it was so popular. In her email, Nataliya said, "We have an audience of over 250 million in 190 countries. Our TV show is as popular and big as Oprah Show in United States," but the association with the Springer show still made my hackles go up. In any case, after a lot of back and forth conversations and emails, the verdict came back that this request was legit so I had to take a chance and make a decision.

During this time, Nataliya called me several times to explain what the segment would entail and even invited my husband and I on an all-expense paid trip to Moscow to film the show in person. When I told her this wouldn't be possible at this time, she said she would come to Chicago. So, on September 7, she arrived at my door with a cameraman (Sergei Zhukov who lives in Chicago) to film me showing off the city I love while sharing some of my Playboy memories. They were both delightful, very professional and well prepared.

We filmed in my apt. and I showed them my extensive collection of Playboy memorabilia. They even filmed part of the 1976 Bunny of the Year pageant, that was originally televised live on ABC, from my VHS tape! Afterwards, we visited the original Playboy Mansion on State Street where I lived for a while and then I took them to one of my favorite shopping streets (more window-shopping than actual shopping), Oak Street. I also introduced them to one of my top restaurants, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, where they both oohed and ahhed over the views from the patio. Co-owner David Flom even said a few words on camera.

As far as the finished product, who knows? I may wind up with my words being twisted around in Russian and wearing a mustache, but for now, I'm very satisfied and hopeful that the interview will be produced in a positive light. It was a fun experience sharing my memories. Thanks again Nataliya and Sergei!

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