Hollywood Nude Playboy Models Who Went On To Become Mega Hollywood Celebrities

Published on February 6th, 2014 | by Hollywood Reporter

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The Playboy Effect – Nude Playboy Models Who Went On To Become Mega Hollywood Celebrities

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Female Artists who wish to make it big in the film, entertainment and glamour world often go to great extents in pursuit of their dreams. Topics like Nudity in Cinema, The Rise of The Bikini as an attention grabber etc have previously been explored in our discussions. This feature assesses another channel that has often been used by models and talented actresses to enter the limelight in the competitive world of Hollywood; Playboy Magazine.

Choosing to become a nude playboy model and featuring on its cover has launched the careers of many well known Hollywood actresses. We take a detailed look at three such divas while showcasing others briefly and delving into the specific nuances which make Playboy Magazine and Hollywood a lethal combination.

You can also read our other features on similar topics:


In December 1953, Hugh Hefner, a University of Illinois psychology graduate launched Playboy Magazine after raising a $8,000 loan from his brother and mother. The main attraction for the first edition was Marilyn Monroe whose depiction of nudity was rated as the “sexiest” image ever by Hefner. This edition sold 53,991 copies generating $27,000 in sales. From thereon was born an era of “lad magazines” where nudity was tastefully done and presented as art. The magazine itself was also known for its journalism, fiction and liberal editorial stance during its peak which lasted till the 1970s. Post the 1970s, Playboy as a magazine has been on the decline also losing out on its editorial sophistication, largely due to the effects of competition and growth of the internet.

Even so, a nude playboy cover is an honor that is not easy to attain. Those who do feature on the cover of the magazine get plenty of cash, exposure and attention in return for laying themselves out in the open forever. The magazine can instantly propel the career of its main attraction although the decision to do so has its own risks for the star in question. The most recent starlet to turn down an offer to do a nude playboy cover is Margot Robbie who essayed the role of Leonardo Di Caprio’s stunning second wife in the blockbuster film Wolf Of Wall Street. Margot was able to turn down the offer despite doing a full frontal nude scene in the movie since it was a great success (also because she was approached by Vogue to do a less risky cover). If the movie hadn’t done so well perhaps Margot would have considered Mr. Hefner’s request as it would have made for a stunning edition, selling a lot of copies and bringing a lot of attention to the aspiring actress.

Not every artist is as fortunate as Miss Robbie which is why there are a number of leading names in Hollywood who chose to become nude playboy centerfolds at some stage in their life. Wikipedia even lists them out by year starting from 1954 to present. Lets take a look at a few of them in detail;

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe On the First Edition Of Playboy Magazine In December 1953 was the first nude Playboy model

A fun fact about the first edition of Playboy Magazine is that Marilyn Monroe who featured as the cover and centerfold, never really shot for the magazine itself. The images used by the magazine were from a photoshoot which Marilyn did for a sum of $50 in 1949 as a struggling actress in Hollywood. Shot by Hollywood photographer Tom Kelley, these pictures didn’t create a big impact till they were featured on Playboy four years later. By this time Marilyn Monroe was an emerging actress in the industry who was well known in select circles. The Playboy cover however brought about a lot of spotlight on the diva, bringing out her life journey in the public and setting her up as a celebrity.

For Hugh Hefner and Playboy Enterprises, Marilyn Monroe was their lucky charm and the two will always be spoken in the same breath. In December 2012, Playboy released a special edition to honor the 50th death anniversary of the femme fatale (view the images here). Showcasing pictures from beginning of her career to a few months before her demise at age 36, Playboy unearthed a treasure trove of photos from its archives essentially creating a labor of love for their favorite star.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore did a nude Playboy cover in January 1995

While a nude playboy cover can help lift the career of the artist facing the camera, it can also be used to keep an already famous celebrity in the news. The second situation is often a win-win for both the celebrity and the magazine. The latter is able to sell a lot of copies by cashing in on the artist’s existing popularity. The celeb on the other hand gets a fat paycheck for posing nude during a time when she is already top of mind for many people.

Drew Barrymore a wild child of the 1990s who was born into an illustrious family of successful Hollywood personalities chose to pose for Playboy in 1995. She was the face of the January 1995 cover at the age of 19 by which time she had already been nominated for a Golden Globe award and experienced 13 years of stardom. Her decision to pose for Playboy was a sign of her rebellious streak and it only helped to take her popularity to greater heights. A relevant comparison to her in today’s age would be Miley Cyrus who hasn’t posed for Playboy yet but has done much more than just posing for the camera with her hit single Wrecking Ball.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron appeared as a nude Playboy Model for the January 1999 issue of the magazine

When Charlize Theron appeared on the cover of Playboy Magazine for its January 1999 edition she has just started getting noticed in Hollywood. The Devil’s Advocate and Mighty Joe Young were her first movies where she got to play a major role. The movies were successful which prompted Playboy to release her nude pictures which were actually shot many years ago for one of their editions.

Theron sued the magazine for publishing the photos without her consent but she lost the case. Nevertheless, Playboy had already given her a lot of exposure as she got a string of movies after featuring on the magazine’s cover.

Many other well known Hollywood divas such as Lindsay Lohan, Elle Macpherson, Denise Richards, Sharon Stone have done nude Playboy modelling. The list also includes Television stars such as Farah Fawcett, Kim Kardashian, Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson.

Occasionally Playboy also taps into gorgeous female athletes for covers and centerfolds particularly when they are in the news. Sometimes it also reaches out to International models and filmstars but those occurrences are rare. However, Bollywood does have representation on the magazine. Sherlyn Chopra is the only Bollywood actress who has appeared nude for Playboy Magazine.

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Always on the pulse of what's happening in the world of Global Cinema, Hollywood reporter talks about the lives of Hollywood celebrities, upcoming movies, movie reviews as well as general industry gossip.


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