Tuesday 25 July 2017

Ready for take-off: The stars who say 'Playboy' really can get you to the top

If Rosanna Davison does jet off for an LA photoshoot for Hugh Hefner's mag, she'll be in good company, says Deirdre Reynolds

Kim Basinger.
Kim Basinger.
Rosanna Davison at the Munich Film Festival, Germay, July 3, 2012
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

The sky's the limit for Rosanna Davison as she prepares to jet off to meet Playboy boss Hugh Hefner in LA. Former Miss Ireland Rosanna revealed she's been invited to meet the soft-porn king after stripping off for German Playboy last month.

And her incredible figure could earn her six figures if rumours that she'll grace the cover of the US edition of the magazine next April prove true.

"Playboy Germany were so happy with their European sales that Hugh Hefner got in touch and asked to meet me and to see whether I wanted to feature in the US magazine," says the 28-year-old.

"He said he loved the idea of having the first Miss World to pose for Playboy in his American edition. It's a much bigger market and the highest level you can reach, but now that I've done it once, I'll probably feel much more confident about it."

Despite being a household name in Ireland, Chris de Burgh's daughter is little known in the States. However, all that could change with the Playboy stamp of approval.

Since first hitting top shelves in 1953, some of Hollywood's biggest stars have bared all for the magazine, including Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve and Ursula Andress.

But even more aspiring starlets have found fame and fortune only after appearing in Playboy.

Motown star Barbara McNair revealed how posing for the lad's mag "helped my career immensely". Before posing for the publication in 1968, she worked as a nightclub singer; afterwards, she was starring alongside Elvis on the big screen.

Similarly, actress Joan Staley told how she was cast in Ocean's Eleven and Breakfast at Tiffany's thanks to Playboy: "It gave me name recognition factor -- that helped."

Meanwhile, former Playmate Barbi Benton reached perhaps the most high-profile position of all in the 1970s -- as Hugh Hefner's other half.

So could Rosanna's career take off as quickly as her clothes? Here, we look at some of the other stars who went from top shelf to A-list.


As a little known 21-year-old model, Jenny McCarthy was reportedly paid $20,000 to shed her inhibitions for Playboy in 1993. Today, she's thought to be worth around $15m. Not-so-dumb blonde Jenny parlayed her top-shelf fame into a successful career as TV presenter, actress and author.

But the mum-of-one never forgot her centrefold roots -- posing for Playboy for the sixth time earlier this year. "I got tired of hearing people in Hollywood say that women are not sexy after 35," says McCarthy (40). "So when Hef said, 'What about doing it one more time?' I thought, 'Why not?, show people that MILFs still got it going on'."


In 1978 TV movie Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold, Kim Basinger played a small-town girl who goes to Hollywood to become an actress but ends up finding fame as a centrefold. Off camera, the aspiring starlet did the opposite -- baring all for Playboy while making it big as a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again in 1983.

"There are so many beautiful girls (in Hollywood)," says Basinger (58). "It's very hard. I admit I was very ambitious." Her naked ambition later won her an Oscar for LA Confidential in 1997.


On the cusp of becoming a supermodel, Cindy Crawford took her clothes off for Playboy in 1988. By the time she posed for the magazine again, in 1998, she had featured on the cover of over 400 magazines worldwide. Almost a quarter of a century on, mum-of-two Cindy confesses she's still known as 'the Cindy Crawford from Playboy'.

"Some guys will turn up with copies of Playboy from my first shoot when I was 20," says the 46-year-old, who's ironically just launched her own clothing line. "I make a joke about, 'Maybe you want to laminate that magazine now?'"


Swedish star Victoria Silvstedt went stratospheric after stripping off for Playboy in 1997. Just months after the shoot, the young model was snapped up by Guess Jeans. She's since pocketed around $5m with a business empire including her own lingerie collection.

"Thank God that Hugh took a photo and put me in the magazine," says Silvstedt. "That's how I started my career in America and I don't regret any of it. I was lucky to be able to do other things right away -- TV shows and films."


From birthday suit to swimsuit, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson got her big break in the pages of Playboy in 1989. The former fitness instructor first moved to Tinseltown to capitalise on the success of the shoot. And the surgically enhanced Canadian soon made a splash as lifeguard CJ Parker -- not to mention her sex tape with ex-husband Tommy Lee.

"My breasts have a career -- I'm just tagging along," admits Anderson (45), who's since graced a record 13 Playboy covers. "The best decisions you ever make are usually the ones you make even when everyone else says not to do it."

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