Back in the days before computers were really important, I sent actual photographs and a letter to Playboy. They liked me enough to send me a real letter on real Playboy letterhead paper asking me for more photos. I thought this was kind of cool. So I sent them some more photos, and they wrote me back a very kind rejection letter saying that I’d be kept on file for future consideration. I never heard from them again. Then I became completely distracted pursuing things that didn’t involve me being nude in magazines and forgot all about it.
Until I heard about most recent Playboy’s Casting Call being held in New York City. Alas, I am now too old according to their age restrictions. But, my friend, Gwen, was just the right age. By that I mean she was between 18 and 28.
Gwen submitted her photos via email, and they called her to the W Hotel in Times Square for an in-person strip and interview. I went with her for some moral support, and to witness other doe-eyed hopefuls who dream of appearing in Playboy themselves. There were a lot of them.
I asked Gwen why she wanted to do this. “You’re only young once and I’m doing this for fun. I think I look pretty good.” Gwen has a rocking body, all natural blonde hair and is just generally gorgeous. She’s also a photographer who shoots models herself. “I thought it would be fun to get in front of the camera for a change.”
I hoped everyone wouldn’t be so rational. That would be really boring.
As we entered the hotel lobby, I encountered exactly what I had hoped to see. A cluster-fuck of scantily clad women in Forever 21’s trashiest looks, and some even slightly intoxicated girls with modeling dreams. This was just in the lobby!
We went to the fifth floor where the casting call was being held. They told her that she was welcome to bring a friend along for support. Of course, in the back of my mind I was also hoping to be “discovered” by a Playboy talent scout in the lobby, or mistaken for a model myself, or recognized from my photos I sent in so many years ago. That did not happen. I guess Playboy isn’t ready for bobcats or cougars yet.
“Are you here for support?” the moderator asked me.
“Uh…yeah.” I said, secretly hoping that she’d tell me to take off my clothes and audition as well.
“Well friends can wait on the 7th floor,” she said, “we don’t have enough room for everyone to wait here. ” No! This wasn’t fair! A skinny siliconed nervous blonde was sitting with a much older gentlemen in the model waiting area. I’ve never wished I were a geriatric Hefner-lookalike so much.
I surveyed the area. I wasn’t leaving without meeting aspiring Playmates and talking to them about their dreams of frolicking around the mansion. I hugged Gwen, and made my way around the waiting area to chat with other hopefuls.
There were several different looks girls were going for. Most just showed up in lingerie covered in lacy robes. One girl went the Lady Gaga route and showed up in a glittery homemade headdress with pomp poms, complete with moon-boots and a white fur coat. I couldn’t stop staring long enough to secretly snap a pic (I’m sorry). Some girls wore stripper attire, like gowns with Lucite heels. The wait ranged from 45 minutes to a whopping four hours for Kelsey Nicole Brookes. Kelsey is an adorable petite brunette and former exotic dancer, who now works in club promotions. She was willing to wait as long as possible to have a chance at having a shot with the mag.
“I want to pose for Playboy because Playboy represents confident women. When I think of Playboy I think of beautiful women who are confident in everything that they are. These women bare everything that God gave them – or doctors gave them. They worked so hard for those bodies, and they’re not afraid of judgement. I am shy, but if you don’t take chances, you only have regret for the rest of your life, not memories. I get very nervous and anxious when auditioning, or meeting someone for the first time; at least until the first couple of words are spoken. And I honestly am very shy about my body. But I’m more shy with clothes on than not! Being naked is freeing and it feels very natural. I’m very happy and comfortable either just being topless, in underwear, or completely naked, way more so then I am in jeans and a t-shirt.”
When I asked her about going back to exotic dancing she giggled, “You never know!”
Other girls weren’t as enthusiastic about the waiting around. One of them being Abby, who seemed to be slightly intoxicated when I encountered her in the bathroom pulling on a designer sweatsuit over her lingerie.
“I asked them when they’d be making decisions and they said they’d call back within three weeks to a year.”
I asked Gwen how her experience was and she said she stood in nothing but stilettos in front of a camera and they asked her questions, such as “What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?” She told them she had just gotten back from hiking through India for two months on her own with only one backpack and became so ill she was hospitalized for two weeks. I hope they appreciated her answer because I think that’s pretty exciting and dangerous.
In the midst of this all, a major airline was having some kind of conference on the same floor. A group of male employees shyly smiled as they made their way to their meeting avoiding eye contact, as if they were terrified yet ecstatic that the stars aligned their event with the Playboy Casting Call. It was probably the best day of their entire lives.
Before I made my way up to the 7th floor, I exchanged numbers with a few girls I spoke to. None of them have heard back from Playboy yet. Kelsey is ready move into the mansion though, if Hef offers (Hef, are you reading?). “I probably would move into the mansion. That’s a complete honor to be asked. Even if I only did it for a year. How many people can say they’ve done it?”
Eventually I did make it up to the bar area. The vibe was very quiet and awkward. I saw a few suspicious looking males sitting around texting. I noticed another girl closer to my age waiting around as well. I suddenly felt like I was in a place that I wasn’t supposed to be. I became depressed so I decided to leave, but not without pushing the 5th floor button just one more time, and glancing out at the hopeful models waiting for their chance to be discovered. I felt a little annoyed with myself at being “too old” for Playboy. On the flipside though, at this point in life I’d rather have an article I’ve written appear in Playboy than my vagina. I think my family would be quite proud of that.
Want your vagina in Playboy? Go to www.playboycastings.com.
Randi Newton is a writer. Her first book Seduce U, will be released by Digitature in February. Follow her on Twitter @WorldofRandi, and her blog WorldofRandi.com.