For a certain group of the population, being featured in Hugh Hefner’s magazine represents a true achievement, as it not only has a high viewership but conveys a status as a sex symbol for a given year or generation. For some, it acts as a springboard to boost their overall profile in the world. For others, it can represent a return to the limelight or to show that they retain an appeal for future projects or events. A change to be included in the magazine shows that for a given moment in time, your look was one of “the” looks people found attractive.
However, Hefner does not own a rubber stamp and allow every single would-be model to appear in his magazine. There have certainly been a number of wannabe Playmates who attempted to get in the good graces only to be rejected out of hand by Hefner, who many believe still has final say on what models make the magazine. Some of the reasons have been because they didn’t fit the correct body or look that he requires of his models, which essentially translates to them being too enhanced for their own good. Others, because they wouldn’t attract the right sort of attention to the magazine itself or more bluntly, just weren’t popular enough to move the needle. As such, here are 15 women who attempted to make the magazine only to be rejected:
15. Farrah Abraham
Farrah Abraham is perhaps best known as a reality TV teen mom who used that fame to begin a career essentially in adult films, as she sold a few sex tapes with some notable co-stars and her engaging in the business end of that industry. Though the reasons why she was rejected by the magazine are not known or usually shared, Abraham herself denied ever trying to get into contact with Hefner or the magazine at all. Rumors abound that, in addition to her infamy, since she had so much work done, she just wasn’t right since the look usually veers more toward the all natural versus the mostly enhanced.
14. Pia Rizza
Another reality TV show “star”, Pia Rizza of Mob Wives Chicago attempted to get in the good graces of Hefner’s empire only to also be rejected out of hand. In much the same way as Abraham, she didn’t really wait for the magazine to come to her to begin to show the world what she had to offer and leaked several nude photos in hopes of catching their attention. However, the magazine after receiving the photos directly from Pia, took a pass and one of her self-confessed life long dreams remains deferred. Still, much like Abraham, for those who feel the need to find out what Playboy rejected, a quick Google search can most likely fix that.
13. Kate Gosselin
There once was a time when Kate Gosselin seemed to be everywhere. Between the success of her reality show to the tabloids going into overdrive when her marriage dissolved, Gosselin was impossible to miss as she graced nearly every magazine in the supermarket check-out aisle. However, one time she found herself shut out was when Hefner refused to do a spread on her. Even at the height of her fame, Hugh wondered aloud actually WHY she was famous at all, or had been featured on Dancing with the Stars at the time and as such, wasn’t deemed worthy enough to get a centerfold.
12. Shirley Jones
Shirley Jones was a bombshell in her time. Most well known for being the mother on The Partridge Family, Jones was talked into doing a test shoot that Hefner saw and apparently liked if Jones agreed to show a little more nudity. Jones, instead, decided against it and was never featured in the magazine. Still, all these years later, Jones can lay claim to having been someone worthy of the magazine but instead rejected “them” instead of the other way around. It would be quite fun to speculate how viewership of her wholesome show would have been affected had she decided to go through with the shoot, but it almost certainly would have become a bigger hit for male adolescent viewers.
11. Kelly Osbourne
Hefner has shown already that he doesn’t pull punches when he is not interested in someone and he certainly made no exception when it came to Kelly Osbourne. In 2006, Osbourne had made mention of perhaps being interested in posing for the magazine but said that it would most likely take some air-brushing. Hefner, in response, at the height of snark and shade said, “We don’t airbrush to that extent.” Osbourne as the years have gone on, has seen a remarkable physical transformation and perhaps now would be chosen willingly by Hef, but based on his comments, it seems unlikely she would entertain that thought ever again.
10. Bridget Marquardt
Bridget’s tale has a happy ending, of sorts. She attempted several times to make it into the magazine but could never quite be selected for the centerfold. Instead, Hefner asked her to be one of his housemates where she became one of the three “Girls Next Door” and was subsequently featured on her own reality TV show as well. Instead of having to pose naked, she was able to keep her clothes on and boost her own brand name in the process. Though the trade-off meant having to spend much more time at the Playboy mansion with Hef than anyone probably should, in the end, this still feels like a victory.
9. Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova aka t.A.T.u.
Russian pop stars t.A.T.u. had expressed a big interest in being included in a spread for Playboy, both in America and in Germany once they hit the legal age of 18. However, as soon as that fateful date hit, they were rejected by both editions of the magazine. Still, t.A.T.u. ended up making it into the magazine later on, this time as a featured blurb in the music section, though to the dismay of their fans and most likely for themselves as well, they were required to keep their clothes on at all times. If any readers have ever watched one of their music videos, it can be stated that this is in fact quite a hard feat to have been achieved.
8. Audrina Patridge
It seems to have become a trend now in this age of leaked sex tapes and nudes. If a starlet is looking to get some attention and notoriety, they somehow have photos “leaked” over the internet, then swiftly deny any involvement… unless it leads to some sort of positive publicity. Add Audrina Patridge of The Hills to that growing list, which most certainly has Kim Kardashian as the patron saint. Patridge had a photographer take topless photos of her and then had them make their way to the magazine who instead of being overjoyed, rejected them out of hand. Patridge then swiftly played it off as an embarrassing mistake and the blurry line between reality TV life and sadder real life continued.
7. Michaele Salahi
Someone else who took their 15 minutes of fame and tried to parlay it into bigger success is White House party crasher (allegedly) Michaele Salahi from The Real Housewives of DC. Another in the long line of reality TV celebrities, Salahi submitted photos of herself hoping to stay in the spotlight as long as possible. Playboy instead rejected her for their cover but gave her the backup “prize” of being featured on their website instead. Unlike some of the other rejections, Salahi was actually told her photos were good enough, but the magazine just couldn’t find the right fit for her in any upcoming issues. It goes to show that just because you aren’t on the list, that doesn’t mean you can’t get into the party anyway.
6. Montana Fishburne
Montana Fishburne took a decidedly different route to fame than her father, acclaimed actor Lawrence. Following in the footsteps of her “idol” Kim K., Montana did a test shoot for Hefner’s magazine, but for one reason or another, it was never selected for publication. So, instead, she took the decidedly more risqué route and began a career in adult entertainment. It is her belief that any sort of publicity is good publicity and while she has found some success as an adult film star, it is looking less and less likely that the magazine will come calling for her again. Now, if she wants to continue in the footsteps of her would-be mentor, expect Montana to announce an engagement to a professional athlete or rapper any day now.
5. Courtney Stodden
Some people go to very extreme measures in order to look beautiful and likewise, to draw more attention to themselves. Such is the case of Courtney Stodden, the teen bride who made a lot of noise several years ago after undergoing extensive plastic surgery to augment parts of her body. She tried to further her own infamy by tweeting at one point that she was saying yes to an offer to pose for Playboy, but the magazine swiftly responded and said in no uncertain terms that she would never be featured in the magazine. As with other cases, their reasoning came down to the amount of work she had done to her body and while she might have struck out with Hefner, she too is said to be fielding offers from… surprise, surprise, the adult entertainment industry.
4. LuAnn De Lesseps
While reality TV celebrity LuAnn De Lesseps from the Real Housewives of NYC may never make the cut for the cover of Playboy magazine, she can take some heart in the fact that she has already graced the cover of its female equivalent. De Lesseps made mention that she had at one point been featured on the cover of Playgirl magazine and eventually it was found that indeed she had, as she showed the world she’d made it on the cover of an issue from May 1990 along with a male model. Not quite the same level that she’d perhaps have been hoping for, but as so many of these entries seem to attest, any level of fame is good fame, right?
3. Britney Spears
At one point in time, Britney Spears was considered among the hottest performers in the world. At first, she represented a wholesome pop star image, but that quickly faded with time to be replaced by a more sexually provocative one. At the height of her powers, she could no doubt have been on the cover of any magazine of her choosing, but a few years later when she had what came to be known as her “breakdown”, Hefner came out and said that until she got her life back in order, she would not be appearing in his magazine. Now, after much turmoil and triumph, Spears is on the other side and doing fine and most likely no longer needs to worry about appearing in any magazines for the fame boost.
2. Debbie Harry
Blondie singer Debbie Harry was already essentially in the world of Playboy as she worked as a Bunny hostess at the club located in London during her youth. However, when she attempted to try out for the magazine itself, Hefner refused her since he thought she was just a tad bit too thin. Harry would have the last laugh as she went from the Bunny job to an iconic career making music, first in the band named after her, Blondie, and then eventually on her own as well. Much like Shirley Jones, she represents a woman who if given the chance again, Hefner might think twice about turning away since they represent the sort of smart, powerful sexuality that can be a big turn on to their readers and fans.
1. Lindsay Lohan
If at first you don’t succeed, you try a second photoshoot. That’s how it all unfolded for Ms. Lohan who had her first photoshoot rejected. After accepting an offer to pose for the magazine for a cool $1 million, there was much speculation as to why perhaps she had been rejected initially. As the world knows pretty well at this point, Lohan has proven to be a somewhat unreliable talent and after her second shoot was accepted, she showed exactly why, as she missed a flight to do some promotion for the shoot on a TV show. Still, being paid that kind of money says quite a lot about her appeal and Lohan continues to try and straighten her life out so thus far, it’s a happy ending for all involved.