Guys, Stacy Collins has your dream job.
As a managing editor of Playboy special editions, she spends day after day looking at the world’s most beautiful, mostly naked women. Some are in photographs, but many meet her discriminating eye in the flesh.
And now that I say that out loud, it’s not hard to understand why she’s in the job and you’re not.
Breann McGregor is one of the beauties Stacy works with. They actually spent a lot of time together this past year and will probably be just as inseparable in the coming year considering that Breann was named “Playboy Special Editions Model of the Year” and “Playboy’s Cyber Girl of the Year.”
BOB ANDELMAN/Mr. MEDIA: Stacy, let’s start with you right now. What exactly are Playboy Special Editions, and how are they different from the monthly Playboy magazine?
STACY COLLINS: Sure. This question comes up quite a bit. And what happened was back in the eighties when Playboy magazine spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on pictorials and photographs, and they only used a select number in Playboy magazine, an archive of material became available. And the powers that be in Playboy said well, we should really be doing something with these amazing images, and viola, the idea of Playboy Special Editions, actually they were called newsstand specials or newsstand flats back in the day, and it was literally just a place to showcase all these beautiful photographs. Not a lot of editorial content, really just a lot of pretty pictures. That’s how it started back in like ’84. Now we actually have 25 issues a year. We do 2 issues every month. They’re thematic in nature so there’s Lingerie, College Girls, and Vixens. We do themed playmate titles. And now, instead of just re-using content that was available from the Playboy library, we actually commission our own images, and we have our own models. And we’ve sort of built our own little business here and have become a content provider for not only our special editions but for Playboy magazine, for playboy.com, for our cyber club, and we’ve got our own little business unit happening here. And we’ve become sort of a brand within or underneath the Playboy umbrella.
ANDELMAN: So I want to make sure I understand cause I’m a little slow. Special editions are for the guys who hadn’t been reading the articles anyway.
COLLINS: That’s correct. That is correct. There’s not a lot of copy to get in the way, no fussy ads and articles to compete with the beautiful women. So, again, it’s really just a way to showcase the beautiful young ladies that we find all around the country. There is a little bit of information about the girls inside of each of the issues, but it’s really meant to showcase the beauty and glamour of our girls.
ANDELMAN: Now don’t tell my wife, but I have a copy of Playboy’s Lingerie in front of me which, of course, has Breann on the cover. And I think after you get past the necessary information, well, there is about four paragraphs of information about Breann right up front, but then I don’t think there’s another word other than the name of the model until maybe the inside back page.
COLLINS: Right, and that is on purpose. And that particular issue is a little bit unique in that we do showcase the “Model of the Year,” which was clearly Breann. But for the most part, some of the other issues we do don’t have any copy whatsoever. And we’ve heard a little bit from our consumers. They do love the photographs, but they’d like to know a little nugget, a little tidbit about the young lady. They like to know is she 5’4”? Is she 5’10”? Is she curvaceous? What’s her cup size? So we’re trying to incorporate a little bit of information in there without detracting from the photographs.
BREANN McGREGOR podcast excerpt: “My grandma is 79, so she’s kind of old-fashioned. She supported me. She went to Barnes & Noble, and she’s like, ‘Do you have a Playboy?’ And they looked at her all weird, and she’s like, ‘My granddaughter’s in it!'”
ANDELMAN: Guys want to know the model’s cup size? I’m shocked at that.
COLLINS: Yes, they do.
ANDELMAN: And, Breann, I just can’t imagine, in conversation, that that comes up very often.
McGREGOR: I’m sorry?
ANDELMAN: I can’t imagine that when you’re in conversation with someone that someone is going to ask you what your cup size is.
McGREGOR: No, it doesn’t happen often.
ANDELMAN: One more thing, Stacy, before we actually bring Breann more into this, but what have been some of the bigger sellers over the years for special editions?
COLLINS: Well, there are a couple things here. We actually publish Lingerie six times a year so that is the only special edition that is available by subscription, and we make it available in print subscription and also via Zinio, which is a downloadable version of the magazine which is becoming incredibly popular. So Lingerie is sort of our staple. It’s sort of our cornerstone of our publishing program. We will continue to publish 6 issues for the foreseeable future. And then we sort of mix and match other titles. Guys have their favorites. Vixens sort of focuses on girls who have a little more…
ANDELMAN: Cup size?
COLLINS: …ample assets, if you will. Curvaceous, bodacious, that type of thing. We have an issue entitled Natural Beauties where only girls who are completely natural, have no enhancements, are featured in that type of a magazine. And then we have College Girls which is, College Girls and Lingerie, are really pretty much our 2 major titles. And I think College Girls just because of the young, fresh coeds and sometimes there are girls from the conferences that Playboy does their searches so it might be the SEC or the Big Ten or the Pac 10 or Big 12, whatever those conferences are. And then we take that film and take it a little bit further because, again, the magazine can only use so much of the images. But, again, Lingerie, College Girls, Vixens, and then a lot of our Playmate titles are pretty popular. They’re all popular, Bob.
ANDELMAN: Well, as a Gator, I can’t imagine that once you’ve seen an SEC girl that you ever go back to any other conferences, but I guess you do.
COLLINS: Yeah. I’m a Big Ten girl, Bob. Be careful.
McGREGOR: Yeah, I have since I was 5.
ANDELMAN: Why, pray tell?
McGREGOR: Well, my dad would…I’d go get the mail, and I just remember asking my dad, “Why was this magazine in plastic?” And he’s like, “Oh, honey, don’t touch that. That’s for daddy.” Well, when you tell a kid “No,” it brings the curiosity out in them. The next month I just remember getting the mail and that one happened to be there so I snuck into the closet and opened it and was just like stunned by all the beautiful women. I was just like, “I want to be one of them.” I was like, “Wow, they’re gorgeous.” I’ve always wanted to do it.
ANDELMAN: This is why when, as my daughter was getting a little older, my wife made me start hiding the Playboys. So when my daughter said to me at one point, she said, dad, I want to be a baseball player, I said well, why is that? She said cause you’ll come and see me play. But it never occurred to me that she would see a Playboy and think I want to be one of those girls. But that’s okay. What was the first modeling that you ever did? Was it for Playboy, or was it for something else?
McGREGOR: No, it was for Playboy.
ANDELMAN: Really? How did you get in the door to do this?
McGREGOR: I went onto playboy.com, and they have their address there. And I sent in four Polaroids and from there got a call back, and then we communicated back and forth. And I sent in some other photos and then they called me to come in in August for a photo shoot.
ANDELMAN: And what was it like to actually do the photo shoot because I imagine thinking about it for years is one thing, but to go in and I don’t know, maybe it’s my own hang-up, but to go in and take your clothes off for strangers, be in a studio setting, that’s a little different?
McGREGOR: I was so comfortable. They made me feel very comfortable. It was surreal. I brought my mom up there with me. She was kind of like, “How do you know this is real? Are you sure?” I’m like, “Yes, mom.” She was a little scared about it. She was like, “I’m not gonna believe until I see the issue.” But when I was there, I remember the first photographer I shot with. The first scene that we did he was like, “Could you show a little bit of your shoulder?” So I dropped my slip down a little bit. He was like, “Okay, show a little bit of your breasts,” and I just dropped the dress down. He’s like, “Okay, we’ll get started there.” I had a good time. It was great. It was a lot of fun.
ANDELMAN: So, Stacy, is that pretty much the way these things go, that someone is either very into doing it, or they get there and they just don’t do it at all?
COLLINS: For someone to go this far into the process of submitting pictures and communicating with us and then showing up on set and not going through with it, that is incredibly rare. Usually, this is a dream come true for a young lady, and we are very particular about the photographers that we work with. We do have seven sets of photographers and producers around the country and in the U.K. and Canada, and they’ve been with Playboy for a very long time, and they know the drill. They know how to make a model feel comfortable. They know how to make her feel beautiful, and it just really sort of happens naturally. I have been surprised sometimes by a girl who’s incredibly green. We’ve just plucked her out of Midwest USA, put her on a set, and she comes alive in front of the camera because the comfort level is there. And I think, again, the excitement level to be affiliated with a brand like Playboy that is world-renowned, that is respected, that they know that they’re going to be treated properly and that the pictures are going to be beautiful.
ANDELMAN: So what was it like, Breann, to see yourself in the magazine the first time?
McGREGOR: I remember the first issue that I was in, it was College Girls. There’s a main girl on the front cover and then on the back, they’ll put a picture from a couple of the pictorials like one of each girl or a couple of the girls on the back of it just to show kind of what’s on the inside. And I was right there in the middle, in the center, and it just drew your attention. It was just like, “Oh, my God, I don’t know!” The Playboy editors called me, and it shocked me, and I’d gotten all excited. Like I was getting into the car, and they called me with some news, and I literally just fell out of the car while they were backing up cause I wasn’t in the car yet. I was just like, “Oh, my God!” It’s like excitement. I can’t explain it. Like she said, it’s like a dream come true. It’s just like wow, this is really happening.
ANDELMAN: Who was the first person you showed the magazine to?
McGREGOR: I showed my mom, and I think everybody went out and got it that day. The next day I was signing forever. Everybody was like, “Oh, my God, I saw your issue!” I think actually my friend had called me ‘cause he saw it first, and he was like, “Oh, my God, you’re on the back, you’re inside!” I’m like, “Oh, my God!” So I went and got it.
ANDELMAN: Was there anyone that you hesitated to show it to?
McGREGOR: No. No. My grandma is 79, so she’s kind of old-fashioned. She supported me. She went to Barnes & Noble, and she’s like, “Do you have a Playboy?” And they looked at her all weird, and she’s like, “My granddaughter’s in it!” She supports me. Everybody’s really supportive. They know this is what I want, and it makes me happy, and they’re happy for me.
ANDELMAN: Stacy, what is it about Breann that made her stand out? And were you the first to kind of recognize that in her? How does that sort of happen when you have so many models to choose from and so many pictures probably coming in everyday?
COLLINS: There is absolutely something to when a girl has the “It” factor, and there’s something about Breann that connected with myself and the executive editor and publisher for special editions, Jeff Cohen. And immediately, it was like this girl has something, not only an amazing, curvaceous figure, but something in her face and her eyes that just lights up with the camera. And that first photo session then led to a cover and then another cover and then another cover. Breann has worked her way through the ranks of Playboy, coming through Special Editions and then becoming a “Cyber Girl of the Week,” a “Cyber Girl of the Month,” and then “Cyber Girl of the Year,” and our “Playboy Special Editions Model of the Year” because the fans, again, connected with her. She also has a very sweet presence about her, and I think that connects with the male audience because she’s kind of sweet, but there’s something sexy underlying and you just want to know more about her. You want to kind of know what makes her tick and is she really sweet or is she really sexy or is there a combination of the two? So, again, there’s an “It” factor that Breann has.
ANDELMAN: I could see that. And I’m on record; I have read the magazine for over 30 years so I’ve seen a lot of the women who’ve been featured. And, Breann, you just seem to have that kind of Playboy look that some of the women who get featured have it, and it’s something you can’t quite put your finger on, and some of the women don’t have it, and they disappear from view very quickly.
McGREGOR: The Model of the Year issue is one of my favorites. I love it, and Stacy was actually on set on that one. I have to say that was probably, by far, out of all of them besides the one that’s out this month that you liked as well, Stacy. I don’t know. Stacy can make you feel very comfortable in your skin, and that photo shoot was just different. I was very comfortable. With Stacy in my presence, I don’t know. She’s a gorgeous woman. She’s five feet, and she makes me feel comfortable in my skin. Just being chosen to be Model of the Year was just…I was just so honored and just so thankful. And everything about that photo shoot was just like…I was so like wow, this is amazing. Very thankful for all of it. But that’s the issue that I believe that you have in front of you.
ANDELMAN: I think we’ve got someone who has a question for one of you.
CALLER: Hello, Bob?
CALLER: Hi, Bob. Pete Williams here.
ANDELMAN: Hey, Pete, a friend of Stacy Collins here, I think.
PETE WILLIAMS: Yes.
COLLINS: Hi, Pete.
WILLIAMS: Hi, Stacy, great to hear you and Breann.
McGREGOR: Hello, Pete.
WILLIAMS: Hi there. Just wondering, Stacy, from a scouting standpoint, I know you go all over the country looking for new faces and figures for your magazine. How do you begin to cull the herd, for lack of a better term, with all these thousands and thousands of sure deserving women that could possibly appear in your magazine?
COLLINS: That’s a great question, Pete. It’s not an easy process, and what we actually do now is we hold a monthly casting call in a new city every month. In fact, we have a crew and a team in Houston today from 9 to 6 and tomorrow from 10 to 6 where we’ve got almost 200 girls signed up each day to come in and have their 5, 10, or 15 minutes with Playboy. And they meet a Playboy photographer, and they take their test shots, and that really gives a young lady an opportunity to let her personality shine through other than just submitting photographs. What’s happened now is you really have to weed through and cull through and really find that diamond in the rough is have a little personality behind it because sometimes a static photograph just doesn’t do a young lady justice. So through these casting calls, we’re finding tons and tons of girls, in fact, so many girls that we can’t utilize them all, but we’re then providing a lot of these girls opportunities within a lot of arms in the Playboy universe. So there are website opportunities. There are catalog opportunities, just any sort of other Playboy opportunities that might not be specific to Playboy Special Editions or Playboy but any number of the other properties that are branded sites that we have under the Playboy umbrella. So we’re trying to make as many young ladies’ dreams come true but still being selective. Again, it takes something really special for a young lady to be accepted by Playboy. Clearly, Hef, Mr. Hefner, chooses 12 girls a year, and every young lady wants to be a Playmate and not everyone can so we try to find as many other avenues and opportunities to give these young ladies a chance to have a Playboy experience.
WILLIAMS: I wonder, too, with everyone seemingly being a figure model, fitness model, their own website, MySpace, everything else, does that help or does it create a professionalism that maybe you’re looking to get away from when you’re looking for fresh faces?
COLLINS: You know what, the quick answer is we take both. We love the young ladies who have an entrepreneurial spirit who are already doing their own thing, but they look at Playboy as a way to take them to another level, and they’re really their own promotional machine and can also drive business back to us, so we’re thankful for that because as big a company as we are, we don’t have enough manpower to support the hundreds and hundreds of girls who appear in Playboy Special Editions every year. So, actually, we’re kind of thankful and grateful that some of these gals have their own marketing machine behind them, and we try to be supportive and make sure they’ve got issues to sign and promote and sell. And then by the same token, we love the fresh face, the girl who this is their first modeling opportunity, and they’ve not really been exposed to all the things that are available in the Playboy universe and otherwise. So we really sort of accept both. Now, I would say we don’t want somebody who’s so over-exposed that someone’s like why would you put her in the magazine? She’s not this or that. But, again, we try to keep that balance of truly fresh faces, new girls, and the girl who hey, this is her career, this is her livelihood and adding a Playboy notch to her resume is great for her and good for us as well.
WILLIAMS: I see. Breann, congratulations on everything you have won.
McGREGOR: Thank you very much.
WILLIAMS: And I hope you can help me in finally convincing Stacy to appear in the “Employee of the Month” feature.
McGREGOR: I know. I tell her she’s gorgeous. She’s very sexy.
McGREGOR: She just has that look that you just can’t put your finger on, as Bob was saying earlier.
ANDELMAN: Or you can’t put your camera on, either, apparently.
WILLIAMS: Thanks everyone.
ANDELMAN: Breann, your picture is all over the internet and these magazines, but Pete raises an interesting point. Tell us about Stacy.
McGREGOR: She is gorgeous. Not only does she have a very sexy voice, but she’s just got something about her, her face and her eyes. She’s very sexy, and she’s got a charm to her. She really does. Doing a photo shoot, to have a gorgeous woman tell you, make you feel comfortable and like I said, just feeling good in your skin was just like…that’s a good thing. That’s very good. I don’t know. She’s got something about her. She really does.
COLLINS: I’m blushing.
ANDELMAN: Stacy, you think it’ll ever happen?
STACY COLLINS podcast excerpt: “I’m incredibly comfortable with the philosophy of Playboy and the way that we do business, the way that we conduct ourselves, the way that my department, for example, goes about recruiting and finding young ladies. We know what we’re doing in terms of giving these girls an opportunity. We know what we’re delivering into the marketplace. We do it with style and class and grace, and no one young lady comes into the door and is in any way made to do something she’s uncomfortable with. That’s just not our style. That’s not what we do. And there are enough young ladies in the world who want to just at least have a piece of this Playboy experience that we don’t have to do anything unsavory or stoop to any level that we’re not comfortable with.”
COLLINS: I don’t think so, Bob, but thanks for asking. I will say that a lot of young ladies will say, “Have you been in the magazine” or “When were you in the magazine?” And what I like to do is sort of mentor and guide some young ladies through this process that, “Hey, take advantage of this amazing opportunity while it’s at your fingertips. Do as much as you can with this opportunity — you’re smart, you’re bright, you can do things after this.” I sort of have that nurturing mother hen instinct. I’m not sure where it came from, but I want to protect them. I want them to enjoy the experience. I want them to get as much out of it as they can. And I think they, in some way, they trust me because I’m not a 400 pound man or bearded lady, so they sort of trust how I would guide them and herd them through this or shepherd them through this process. They can say okay, if you were to do it, I would trust you so I trust you helping me through the process.
ANDELMAN: Stacy, a lot of people feel that Playboy — and this is an old thing — but they feel that Playboy and magazines of this type exploit women. Do you ever feel that you’re in that role? How would you argue that?
COLLINS: I would not and have not ever felt that way only because I’m incredibly comfortable with the philosophy of Playboy and the way that we do business, the way that we conduct ourselves, the way that my department, for example, goes about recruiting and finding young ladies. We know what we’re doing in terms of giving these girls an opportunity. We know what we’re delivering into the marketplace. We do it with style and class and grace, and no one young lady comes into the door and is in any way made to do something she’s uncomfortable with. That’s just not our style. That’s not what we do. And there are enough young ladies in the world who want to just at least have a piece of this Playboy experience that we don’t have to do anything unsavory or stoop to any level that we’re not comfortable with. So if anyone ever has a question about my morals or my standards of being involved with Playboy, I just look to look at what this magazine has accomplished since 1953. It’s iconic. It’s been responsible for some amazing things in the literary arts, with music, with politics, and I have no qualms whatsoever being affiliated with that brand. And like I said, a whole new generation is becoming exposed to the Playboy brand through the show “The Girls Next Door” to our licensing and merchandising. You see rabbit head logos everywhere. So it is something that I defend if anyone has any questions or concerns. And I, in no way, feel as though we exploit women whatsoever.
ANDELMAN: Breann, when Pete called before, he was asking Stacy about whether women who had their own websites, that kind of thing, if that was good or bad for the situation. Did your website come after you did your first modeling? How do you use the website?
McGREGOR: Actually, yes. I did the website about 2 years ago, which was about a year after I had been into Playboy. And I was new to it when I first started it and was kind of doing research on what other girls who had websites did and stuff like that. And then some things happened and a year later, I got “Cyber Girl of the Year,” and with a contract was unable to have my website. But I use it pretty much just to promote any events that I’m doing, and I just can put up glamour pictures, or I have an event calendar, any news that’s going on, any awards or appearances that I’ve done, and it’s basically just for fans to kind of see what’s going on in my life and just a journal and any issues that are out or any upcoming news and stuff like that.
COLLINS: What tends to happen, Bob, is that when a young lady comes through the Playboy family, and they really do start to build a fan base, and we’ve got message boards where our fans are able to communicate back and forth. And they really start to follow these models, and they want to make sure that they get every issue, and they want to see when the new pictures are out, and they want to know if she’s going to appear at a nightclub or host an event. Again, if we’re not able to as Playboy, as an entity, promote that on our site because it’s not really conducive to that, for a young lady to have that opportunity to promote herself and give herself a platform to communicate with their fans is fantastic. And many models have a membership part of their website where, for a few extra dollars, you get to see some never-before-seen pictures or get some little added extras. That takes a lot of management from behind the scenes, but I know that it’s become lucrative for any number of Playboy models to have membership-driven parts of their site.
ANDELMAN: And Breann, where do you want to go with all this? I saw that you are actually up for 2008 Cyber Girl of the Year, I think.
McGREGOR: For Model of the Year.
ANDELMAN: For Model of the Year, I’m sorry. And so the voting is going on now, and guys, you can go to breannmcgregor.net, and there’s a link there to the Playboy page. You can vote for her. But where do you want all this to take you?
McGREGOR: Before I had got into Playboy, I was going to school for a molecular biology. I wanted to go to med school, and it’s not happening. Honestly, like Stacy said, when you have it at your fingertips, take advantage of it and make the best of it. And I’m really, honestly, enjoying my two titles and traveling. I’ve done so much traveling this year. I want to build up my website. I like the marketing and the advertising. I’d like to start my own business of some sort someday. What it is, I’m not sure. It’s just wherever my heart takes me. I’m still, like I said, I’m traveling, and I’m enjoying every moment of it while I can.
ANDELMAN: Some of the girls you see over the years who do this kind of thing, they wind up going in very different directions. Some wind up doing more modeling. Some wind up maybe doing movies. Some wind up doing soft-core stuff. Some wind up, you see them at the, not that I have, but you see them advertised at neighborhood strip clubs. It doesn’t sound like any of that is the way you’re going with this.
McGREGOR: No. No. I’d like to start my own business. I don’t know. Part of me wants to go to culinary school cause I want to learn to cook, and I’m like maybe one day I can open up my own restaurant. I don’t know. This entrepreneur in me is coming out. And I say, if anything, Playboy has definitely given me the opportunity if I take advantage of the exposure that they have given me and use it to an advantage and make something of it. So, again, wherever my heart takes me. Honestly, before Katrina and all this, I thought I wanted to go to med school and go to anesthesia school, and honestly, that’s not really where my heart was. You really can’t plan anything. You kind of have to take each day by day and just be very positive, follow your heart, and make the best of it. Life is short.
ANDELMAN: How far into the future are you obligated to Playboy at this point?
McGREGOR: For Cyber Girl, it’s a year contract.
McGREGOR: But as far as working with them in the future, I’ll always be there. They’re like family to me. They’ve been there through some of the hardest times, and so whatever they need, I’m there for them. It’s not something that’s ever gonna end.
ANDELMAN: I want to ask you both. Strictly by coincidence, I got the new issue of Playboy yesterday, and there’s an interview with Tina Fey. Have either of you read it?
STACY COLLINS: I have not had a chance to read that yet, and I’d actually like to. I took the issue home, and some guy in my house swiped it so I have to find another issue around the office.
ANDELMAN: Some “guy” in your house, huh?
COLLINS: Yeah, I can’t really disclose, but yeah. Some guy.
ANDELMAN: Well, it’s a very funny interview with Tina, but there’s this one part and I can just read it to you. I have it in front of me. There’s this one part that I’m kind of curious to get your response to. She was talking about women who feel that they have to get super skinny and get a fake tan and fake boobs, and the interviewer was very surprised that she wanted to talk about this in Playboy of all places, and she says, “I don’t want to seem like a bad guest, but I have a few general theories. If you look back at old Playboys from the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Playmates represented the girl-next-door and some of them had maybe different size boobies, perhaps with brown nipples or large areolas. There are even ladies with their actual hair, with hair that wasn’t blond.” What she’s saying is that a lot of women feel they have to change themselves physically to be part of this universe. And I was kind of curious what each of you thought of that.
COLLINS: Well, I was gonna let you talk first, but I’d be more than happy to address that. Again, part of what I believe Playboy Special Editions brings to the table is an avenue for all types of different girls. We showcase exotic beauties and natural beauties and the voluptuous vixen. We know that there’s a different taste out there for every customer so we try to accomplish that through some of our themes. But there is, definitely, an overriding social expectation about what the ideal girl is for Playboy: blond hair, blue eyes, big boobs, tiny waist. And there have been any number of those types of girls in the magazines throughout the years, but people tend to forget that there’s always a nice balance of different types of women in the magazine. So I feel like Playboy does get pigeon-holed in that, and I think because Hef’s personal taste has sort of trended that way in terms of his girlfriends and the women that he surrounds himself with, but that doesn’t mean that all of the Playboy universe. There is a spot in the Playboy universe for all different types of women. Different shapes, colors, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, the whole nine yards. So I would like to dispel that myth. If someone asked me do I have to have a boob job, I say absolutely not, but I still have to see how you look naked. I still have to see are your breasts perfectly proportionate? Are they nice? How do you look with…I would never automatically say you have to have a boob job, you have to have blond hair and blue contacts. That is not the criteria that we use to select the young ladies that are featured in Playboy.
McGREGOR: I’ve never felt being in Playboy I had to lose weight. I’m a curvier model. I’m not bone-thin. I’ve got curves. And I feel that Playboy likes that about me and so do my fans, and that’s why I’ve been able to have a career with them for as long as I have. But I’ve never felt that I’ve had to look a certain way or, of course, you have to, like Stacy said, you have to keep up with yourself. I work out, and I diet because I want to because it makes me feel good about myself, but it’s not anything that I felt like I had to do it. I do it for my health and again, because it makes me feel good. But, again, I’m a curvy model. I’m not like a zero or a one. I never will be. And it makes me feel good that I, being a I don’t want to say bigger model, a more curvaceous model, I guess, I don’t know, a curvier model that other women can see that you don’t have to be a size zero to feel beautiful or to be in Playboy cause I’m not. I hope I can help other women feel comfortable in their skin as well.
ANDELMAN: Before we come off of that topic, I have to ask about tattoos. Stacy, I guess this is particularly to you. You see so many women. Are we seeing any lessening of the tattoos on these women? And if you see a woman who is particularly beautiful, but she’s got a tattoo in the wrong place, can you airbrush that? Do you cover it up? How do you handle that?
COLLINS: I will tell you it actually is very regional in terms of ink. We seem to find New York is pretty ink-heavy. Miami can be a little bit ink-heavy. But we were just in Denver two months ago and Memphis last month, and it was not very prevalent. It really is somewhat regional. And sometimes tattoos are a nice enhancement and a beautiful addition to a woman’s body, and then other girls who see their bodies as a canvas, and tattoos are a work of art on their bodies, they sometimes take it a little too far. If, for any reason, myself or Jeff Cohen, the executive editor, find that it’s a little overwhelming or a little too intrusive, doesn’t really complement the photograph and the pictorial, we will remove it. But it’s an expression of a young lady’s personality and how she feels about herself, but sometimes, they are a little too much. I can’t lie to you. We try to leave as much of the natural beauty and inner beauty of the girls shine through in the photographs, but if something detracts from that, whether that be an unsightly scar or a tattoo that’s just a dragon spitting fire, we might use our best judgment and remove it.
ANDELMAN: Breann, I don’t want to look too closely. I looked generally over a couple pages. I don’t see any tattoos there.
McGREGOR: I don’t have any.
ANDELMAN: Okay. Good. Good! My faith in these things is restored.
COLLINS: I do have young ladies email or say, “Will you reject me if I have a tattoo?” and that’s not the case. It would never be something that we would automatically say, “If you’ve got a tattoo, you can’t be in Playboy.” It’s part of the culture. It’s part of the pop culture phenomenon, to be tattooed and pierced, and I hope I don’t offend anyone here but bare down there. We’re in an age where there’s not a lot of body hair, and that’s up for debate with a lot of our customers as to whether they like that or they don’t like that. But it’s just a way that young ladies are expressing themselves these days, and so we let them express their beauty.
ANDELMAN: I’m not gonna touch the body hair issue. I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. When the cup issue came up at the start of the conversation, I didn’t ask what size, and I’m not gonna ask about body hair at this point. So let me change gears slightly before we wind up. Stacy, you were a book editor for, I guess, about seven years before joining Playboy. Now you’re dealing everyday with models, a professional category not renowned for intellectualism. And no disrespect, but what’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard out of a model’s mouth?
COLLINS: I don’t know that it’s necessarily out of a model’s mouth, but we have a bio form that we have our young ladies fill out when they’re coming through a casting and ask all kinds of different questions so that we can really kind of get a sense of their personality. And the one thing that never fails to crack me up is they’ll say, on the bio form it says “birthplace,” and sometimes they put “hospital” rather than Indianapolis, Indiana. They put hospital! That is one that really never ceases to get a giggle out of me. But that’s maybe a little unfair because a lot of young ladies that we see are pursuing higher education, are entrepreneurial, are business owners who just happen to be beautiful and say, “Hey, you know what, I’ve always wanted to try to be in Playboy. I’m gonna give it a try. If it doesn’t work out, at least I gave it a shot. I submitted my pictures, or I came to a casting call,” and they can walk away and say, “You know what, I did something for me, and it made me feel good” and be happy with their decision. And sure, there are girls who might be challenged with spelling or identifying capitals of the states, but that’s not really what we’re interested in. We’re trying to create a fantasy and fulfill a need that still exists in the marketplace whether that’s via print or online or other mediums. And that’s just finding the most beautiful, exotic, sultry young women and giving them a platform to be adored and worshiped.
ANDELMAN: Breann, as a former molecular biology student, I want to give you a chance at the last word here. Do you want to defend the intelligence of models, or do you want to add a story of your own to the legend?
McGREGOR: As far as the women, I just think it’s stereotyped. I guess they think blond Playboys, all blonds, and you know how the blonds have the dumb blond stereotype, but I have a lot of friends that model in Playboy, and they’re in nursing school. A friend of mine has her own body shop where she sells her own lotions and stuff. And they’re very smart, and I think they’re very smart to take advantage of what Playboy has done for them to have given them exposure, and they use that to their advantage. And I think that’s very smart, but I have to say, I think it’s all stereotyped. Yeah, there are some girls that are a little ditzy, but that’s what makes them cute or makes them different. I don’t know. Sometimes I say things that are really dorky or just like did you just say that? Sometimes I find myself saying the dumbest things, but I think we’re all like that. But I think it’s all stereotyped, the dumb blond model. I think there are a lot of very smart, intelligent women in Playboy.