Although the topic of female empowerment is controversial when Playboy is thrown into the mix, these series of photographs by Ben Miller and Ryan Lowry prove the two can coincide.
Former Playmates collaborated with Playboy to recreate their iconic covers, and whatever you might think about Playboy itself, you can probably appreciate these images of body-positive, sex-positive and age-positive women.
Along with shooting the new portraits, the women reminisced on their time as Playboy bunnies, shared some of their fondest memories and revealed how they ended up getting the gig that would change their lives.
1. Kimberly Conrad Hefner, January Playmate 1988, Playmate of the Year 189
Hefner told Playboy, “I moved to Los Angeles and – boom – there it was. Hef and I started dating, got married, had kids, and the rest is history.”
2. Charlotte Kemp, December Playmate 1982
Kemp called her experience as a Playmate an “absolute whirlwind.” Kemp told Playboy, “I had a Playmate running team. We’d run marathons, all around the country, raising money for charities.”
3. Cathy St. George, August Playmate 1982
“I had already been married and worked as the executive for a company. When I came to L.A., I wasn’t planning on being a model,” St. George told Playboy. “It was a totally new life.”
4. Monique St. Pierre, November Playmate 1978, Playmate of the Year 1979
St. Pierre told Playboy she loved her experience. “Hef said, ‘Believe me, you pay your rent because you make all the girls feel comfortable when they come to the house.’” St. Pierre now runs a recovery house for women addicted to alcohol and drugs.
5. Renee Tenison, November Playmate 1989, Playmate of the Year 1990
“When I did Playboy, there was a little bit of controversy because I was the first African-American Playmate of the Year and some women were saying I was being objectified,” Tenison told Playboy. “I see it as art. Not everybody sees it that way, but that’s how I see it.”
6. Candace Collins, December Playmate 1979
On choosing covers, Collins told Playboy, “They were always professional and no sooner would they pay any special attention to a nude or semi-clad model than a milkman pays to his bottles.”
7. Lisa Matthews, April Playmate 1990, Playmate of the Year 1991
Matthews shares with Playboy what interacting with fans was like: “The thing they’d always say is, ‘Your name is Lisa, right?’ And then they’d say, ‘I think I’ve seen you in a national magazine.’” Lisa told Playboy, “I’d sit there and say, ‘Oh, which one?’ If you have enough guts to come up and say something, then you’ve got to be able to say Playboy.”
These models prove Hef’s sentiment that there’s no such thing as a former Playmate. No matter what your age, as Hef once said, “Once a Playmate, always a Playmate.”