I was floored when I opened the email. It read (in part), “I’m a photo editor on Playboy’s digital team. I’m working on an exciting new project, alongside the Playboy team and Cooper Hefner, for Playboy.com— and we thought this was a wonderful way for you to be involved. Hugh Hefner created the Playmate with the idea that, “Once a Playmate, always a Playmate.” We wanted to celebrate the rich and seductive history by looking back at some of our most iconic covers and cover models, and we decided it might be time to revisit them and recreate them, reminding readers that, once a Playmate, always a Playmate. We would love to invite you to participate and work with us to recreate your February 1979 cover, with full hair, make up, and prop styling.”
Well, you could’ve knocked me over with a bunny tail! I was thrilled and then terrified and then determined–determined to make this shoot something I would be proud of and also, in a way, let the world know that women of a certain age still have a lot of fight and spirit left in them long after their ’20s disappear.
I’m grateful to Playboy’s new Chief Creative Officer Cooper Hefner for realizing that he has two distinct audiences–one that is the next generation and the other, its loyal subscribers who literally brought Playboy to the party and want to see snippets of the past as reminders of why they are still fans. I’m proud to serve as one of those reminders.
The shoot took place in Chicago at Hannah Dunsirn Studio with photographer Ryan Lowry. His first words to me were, “Boy, I really think you’re brave to do this.” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.
Makeup artist Stella Mikhail did the makeup and painstakingly practiced recreating the bunny logo on her hand before painting it around my naval in lipstick. She nailed it except for a minor ear adjustment.
The shoot itself was pretty straightforward as was the original shoot for the February 1979 cover, shot by then art director Tom Staebler at Playboy’s studio at 919 N. Michigan. It’s a 3/4 shot of me in a pink bodysuit. When I received the wardrobe from L.A. prior to this shoot, I couldn’t believe the stylists had duplicated it almost perfectly. But then Playboy always did have the very best people working for them.
The hair was a different story since, as many of you know, I wear it short and slicked back now. I was torn between fluffing it up or wearing it as I do every day. I opted to shoot both styles so they would have choices. (They opted for the fluffy version).
Before the shoot, photographer Lowry mentioned that his grandfather was a club member back in the ’40s. I had to remind him that the clubs didn’t exist until the ’60s. I realized then that Cooper has his work cut out for him bringing in the millennials as an audience.
A note to Cooper—Thanks for remembering your dad’s edict, “Once a Playmate, always a Playmate.” I never forget it and am grateful to be a part of this exclusive sorority.
The seven Playmates invited to recreate their covers were Renee Tenison (November 1989 Playmate, Playmate of the Year 1990); Lisa Matthews (April 1990, PMOY 1991); Kimberley Conrad Hefner (Jan. 1988 Playmate, PMOY 1989); Charlotte Kemp (December 1982); Cathy St. George (August 1982); Monique St. Pierre (November 1978, PMOY 1979); Lisa Matthews (April 1990, PMOY 1991) and me! Read all about them and see their cover remakes here.
(Chicago Tribune reporter/WGN radio’s Rick Kogan, was at the shoot and broke the Playboy cover remake story. Here’s what he had to say about the afternoon).
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Tags: Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios, Anna Del Gazio, Candace Collins, Candace Jordan, Candid Candace, Candy Collins, Cathy St. George, centerfold, Charlotte Kemp, Chicago Tribune, Cooper Hefner, gatefold, Hannah Dunsirn Studio, Hugh Hefner, Kimberley Conrad Hefner, Lisa Matthews, Maya Harris, Monique St. Pierre, Playboy, Playboy Bunny, Playboy cover remake, Playmate, Renee Tenison, Rick Kogan, Ryan Lowry, Stella Mikhail, Tom Staebler