Even though it is not as popular today, Playboy magazine ranks among the most influential editions, especially between 1960 and 1990s. Because it identifies as a “gentleman’s magazine,” Playboy mostly features female models, which, together with its operation mode, has attracted controversies over time. Its founder also drew criticism and divided opinions throughout his lifetime. Here are some mind-blowing Playboy magazine facts you probably didn’t know.
1. The Youngest Model to Feature in Playboy Was 11
Eva Ionesco is the youngest model to feature in Playboy. She was only 11 years old when she appeared in the October 1976 issue of the Italian edition, posing nude at a beach. Now aged 58, Ionesco has previously sued her mother three times for taking and allowing her naked photos to be used when she was still a minor.
2. Marilyn Monroe’s Picture Was Playboy’s First Centerfold
Marilyn Monroe’s picture, originally taken for a calendar, made the first Playboy centerfold. In what the publisher thought was the “sexiest” image at the time, the former actress’ nude study was the center of the magazine’s marketing campaign. The picture and a few other teasers contributed massively to Playboy’s eventual success.
3. A Female Model that Features on Playboy Magazine’s Centerfold Is Called a Playmate
Playboy magazine often features female models known as Playmates in its centerfolds. The Playmate of the Month refers to a model whose nudes and biography appear in the magazine in a particular month. Other information may include the Playmate’s birthdate, turn-ons, turn-offs, and measurements. At the end of every year, one of the 12 Playmates of the Month is named the Playmate of the Year.
4. Pamela Anderson Has Featured the Most Times on Playboy Covers
Most models would consider themselves “lucky” to be featured on the Playboy magazine cover more than once. Pamela Anderson, a former Baywatch actress and model, holds the record for the most Playboy magazine cover appearances, doing so 13 times.
5. It Was Founded By Hugh Hefner
The first edition of the Playboy magazine was published in December 1953. The entity was founded by Hugh Hefner, a University of Illinois psychology graduate who led a controversial life. His initial capital was about $8,000, which he raised partly with the help of his mother and brother. Interestingly, the first Playboy edition was undated as Hefner wasn’t sure there would be subsequent ones.
6. Playboy Founder Called Raquel Welch “Boring” for Refusing to Pose Naked
Playboy’s founder and longest-serving editor tried countless times to get Raque Welch, a former American actress, to pose nude for his magazine cover. Eventually, Welch agreed to take pictures for Playboy as long as she was allowed to keep her clothes on. Hefner later described Welch as “boring” but still had to pay her.
7. Illuminati Conspiracy Theories Are Popular Today Because of Letters Published in Playboy
The original Illuminati started and was popular in Bavaria in the late 1700s. Today’s conspiracy theories resulted from prank letters published by Playboy magazine in the 60s.
8. Playboy Was Nearly Called Stag Party
When Hugh Hefner developed the idea of starting his magazine, his first thought was to name it Stag Party. However, his plans fell through when the publisher of an unrelated Men’s adventure magazine called Stag contacted him, threatening to file a lawsuit if Hefner launched his product with that name. Before opting for “Playboy,” Hefner and his wife considered other titles such as “Pan,” “Sir,” “Bachelor,” and “Satyr.”
9. Playboy Magazine Sales Peaked in the 70s
By 1971, Playboy magazine had become so popular that it had a circulation base of seven million. In 1972, more than seven million copies were sold, with an estimated one-quarter of the college men in the United States subscribing to it. Model Palm Rawlings was at the center of it all.
10. Some Men Have Featured in Playboy Magazine Covers
Though limited, some men have graced Playboy magazine covers over time. They include Burt Reynolds, Jerry Seinfield, Gene Simmons, Bruno Mars, and wait for it… Donald Trump.
11. It Was the First Gentleman’s Magazine to Be Printed in Braille
With the skyrocketing demand for Playboy magazine copies, the publishers printed the first braille edition in 1970, making it the first gentleman’s magazine to do so. Playboy was among the few with color microfilm formats; most had theirs in black and white.
12. The First Issue of Playboy Sold Out in Weeks
Even though it was undated and Hefner was unsure about its success, the first issue of Playboy sold out in weeks. Its known circulation was 53,991 copies, which was thought to be on the lower side. A copy sold for 50 cents.
13. Playboy Stopped the Print Editions in 2020
In 2020, Playboy’s CEO, Ben Khon, announced the company was ending the print editions because of COVID-19. Playboy is now an online-only magazine; interested parties can subscribe to the various packages available.
14. Playboy Is Popular for its Rabbit Logo
Playboy magazine is famous for its rabbit logo, which has existed since its second issue. It was designed by Arthur Paul, a graphic designer who worked as Playboy’s art director then. Initially, the rabbit was supposed to be an endnote. However, Hefner made it the official logo, stating that the animal had a humorous sexual connotation. This move proved fruitful as it became a famous symbol and brought the company more revenue through merchandising.
15. Playboy’s Playmates of the Month and Year Are Paid
Female models who appear as Playboy’s Playmate of the Month are often paid something in the region of US$25,000. On the other hand, Playmates of the Year are paid US$100,000 with an additional short-term lease car. Playmates are often invited to attend Playboy’s milestone celebrations.
16. Drew Barrymore’s Appearance on Playboy Didn’t Please Steven Spielberg
Drew Barrymore is a famous actress and producer known for her comic roles. She was featured in January 1995’s issue of Playboy. This move did not please her godfather, Steven Spielberg, another heavyweight in the film industry. To let his feelings and stand known, Spielberg sent her a quilt with a note that read, “Cover yourself up!” on her birthday.