When Playboy cancels its nude photo shoots next year, it will be a major change for the entertainment industry. It will also rob us of one of the biggest parts of the magazine: the Playmate of the Year. Since 1959, the honor has been given to the hottest woman to grace the magazine’s pages that year and has helped elevate quite a few women to standout fame. It’s not just the prize money or bigger highlights, a Playmate of the Year title opens doors as shown by how several of its winners have gone on to big mainstream careers.
It’s that beauty that carries them, a mix of stunning sexuality and yet somehow relatable that makes them famous. It’s hard to pick the best of the bunch but still possible even given all the years of various winners, including several famous names. Here are the fifteen hottest ladies to earn the title of Playmate of the Year and a reason we’ll miss that iconic turn as it passes us by.
15 Jayde Nicole - 2008
A model since her childhood in Canada, Nicole’s own mother suggested she give Playboy a try. She was a hit, showing hotness with her sly looks and dark hair but also great humor such as the viral video taking on the 2008 Presidential election. She became famous on The Hills clashing with Audrina Partridge and Kristen Cavallari and appeared on various other shows with fellow playmates. Her charity work includes posing in a leaf bikini for a vegetarian campaign and showcasing a knockout body. Proof once more that Mom truly knows best.
14 Kimberly Conrad - 1989
The 1989 POTY became more famous for becoming Hugh Hefner’s second wife and their wedding was a media firestorm (especially with word of Conrad cutting down on the famous party style of the Playboy Mansion and various legal moves. Her gorgeous body and blonde locks made it easy to see why Hefner would want her around as she even gave birth to two children. Their divorce was famously bitter but it shouldn’t take away from the astounding sexiness of Conrad in her spreads that made you understand why any man would want to keep her around.
13 Raquel Pomplun - 2013
A lovely brunette, Raquel shows off amazingly well with a great chest and rear, rocking barely there outfits and carrying herself with a fun air. The first ever Mexican-American POTY, Pomplun adds some true exotic flair to her looks with acting appearances in shows like Agents of SHIELD and various modeling work. She truly showcases some very hot spice to the Playmates that reminds you of the heat that comes from down South.
12 Stacy Sanches - 1996
An underrated lovely, Sanches gets attention for her fantastic dark curls as well as an exotic look to her face with a nice bright smile. Her POTY spread was famous for out in a desert in just about nothing and looking fantastic through it and Sanches has shown it in spread since. While not as huge a name as others on this list, when it comes to pure hotness, few Playmates ever can touch the wonderful air Sanches put out in her prime.
11 Jaclyn Swedberg - 2012
Her dark hair and ample chest are the first thing you notice about Jaclyn but she more than pays off the rest with a great body that always rocks a bikini or lingerie. The 2012 POTY has gotten quite popular online with her social media pages, always sharing a hot look with her fans, enjoying herself and how Playmates are adapting for the times so it’s not just in the magazines that they can look hot as hell.
10 Heather Kozar - 1999
A former The Price is Right beauty, Kozar was used to showing off her body nicely and thus Playboy made sense. With her great blond locks and fantastic form, she was a perfect choice for POTY and has used it in various modeling gigs showing off long leg to go with her style. She keeps a lower profile now but that takes nothing away from her hotness as a Playmate and one of the better of her time.
9 Sara Jean Underwood - 2007
Proof good things come in small packages, the 5”3’ gal got her start as a Hooters waitress before gaining fame with her spread. First appearing in a “Girls of the Pac-10” spread wearing a shirt of her alma mater Oregon, Underwood was an instant hit that got a bigger spread and later the POTY title. She became a huge geek favorite for her part as a host of the popular Attack of the Show which included segments like taking part in a massive nude bike ride and wild costumes. She may be little but she more than has the hotness where it counts.
8 Ida Ljungqvist - 2009
Actually discovered by Underwood at a clothing store, Ljungqvist made history as the first African-born POTY. With her dark skin adding an exotic motif to her already amazing body, she's done great work with charities while still stunning modeling in various bits to show off a great pair of legs and chest. She also got attention for reportedly dating fellow Playmate Kristina Shannon, winning more approval from male readers and showing you don't have to be a classic blonde to be fantastic in these pages.
7 Karen McDougal - 1998
The 1998 POTY is a fun brunette with the curves of a hot model but a background in teaching. She’s shown a good humor and has gone on to have a great career as a fitness model. It’s no surprise thanks to her toned body, long legs and fantastic flexibility that allows her to show off nicely no matter the form. Even today, she’s a knockout and showcases how the “quiet types” can be very hot.
6 Victoria Silvstedt - 1997
Swedish blondes may be a stereotype but Silvstedt more than lived up to it. She was almost a cartoon character come to life, sheer perfection with a good rack but more notable were those fantastic legs that seemed just perfect for her frame. She had a good modeling career afterward and easy to see why as she exudes pure sexiness in her every step and proof of how Sweden gives us some of the hottest ladies imaginable.
5 Anna Nicole Smith - 1993
Most remember her by her sad fall and too young death and thus ignore how amazing Smith was when she broke onto the scene. She truly looked like a new Marilyn Monroe with bright blonde locks and a body highlighted by an amazing set of knockers and terrific curves. She was an instant star, pushed on well to various movie and TV roles before her now infamous decline to drugs and depression. But in her prime, few could touch the incredible sexiness of Smith and why she deserves a place on this list.
4 Jodi Ann Paterson - 2000
A former Miss Teen USA, Paterson grew up quite nicely when she was named POTY in 2000. Her Indonesian heritage makes her stand out with darker skin and lush black hair, still a terrific smile to things and quite smart as she was the first POTY to have a college degree when she posed. In her fantastic pictorials, she got quite a lot of attention and proved that you don’t have to be the classic blonde to get famous.
3 Brande Roderick - 2001
The 2001 Playmate of the Year is another classic blonde bombshell but still putting her own spin on things. Her ample chest is a sight as are her terrific curves and a nice smile to win you over nicely. She’s had various TV and movie roles, including a stint on Baywatch that rocked a bikini big time and showing that blondes do have more fun, especially when it comes to Playmates.
2 Jenny McCarthy - 1994
The Chicago native was an instant hit with readers, not just for her fantastic body, bright laugh and killer rear end but also her wonderful sense of humor. Something about McCarthy felt so alive and bright that you just wanted to get to know her more. McCarthy has used that for a successful career from MTV to various movies and even her own NBC sitcom. She’s gotten a backlash for her vaccine views but that amazing hot style and her persona continue to make her a big favorite of any male of the ‘90’s.
1 Shannon Tweed - 1982
The 1982 pick was already a stunning figure with lush blond hair and sultry looks. While her work in the magazine was good, Tweed found her greatest fame as the undisputed queen of the direct-to-video softcore thriller genre in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. It’s easy to see why with her absolutely perfect body that she had no shame showing off, very toned overall and even though she’s settled down in marriage to KISS frontman Gene Simmons, she can still be hotter than most anyone around her and amazing to watch.