Founded in the year 1953 by Hugh Hefner, Playboy was originally an American magazine featuring photographs of semi- and sometimes fully-naked models as well as fiction and journalism. Over the years, the publication hasn't quite shaken off its slightly smutty associations but it's moved into more serious journalism - alongside the gorgeous girls, of course - boasting interviews with public figures ranging from economists, novelists, and politicians to athletes, artists and film makers. Sine its inception, Playboy has gone from being a controversial top-shelf magazine to establishing itself as a global media fixture and an internationally recognized brand with a broad appeal. What started with nude pictures of the iconic Marilyn Monroe. The hype surrounding Marilyn’s nudity at that time was the ticket to success for Playboy with as much as 54,175 copies sold at the price of 50 cents each. Owing to their success in the very first season, art director Art Paul designed the distinctive rabbit ears and tuxedo bow tie logo, which has remained the Playboy symbol ever since. The November 1972 Playboy edition was the best-selling edition in the magazine's history with a record of 7.161,561 copies sold. Despite ongoing success in other realms, including television, the company hasn't been immune to the death of print media, with its net value slumping from $1 Billion in 2000 to $185 million in 2011.
With the growth of the internet over the years, Playboy established their online presence with an official website for the magazine, playboy.com. In 1995, they developed a website called Playboy Cyber Club to encourage a more reciprocal dialogue with the readers. The digital form of magazine came into existence in 2005 and was made exclusive to Apple users.
Perhaps the most distinctive and most enduring of Playboy’s rituals (other than the legendary Mansion parties!) is the monthly Playmate selection. Each year, one Playboy model is selected to represent the calendar year - brining the lucky 'Playmate of the Month' a $25,000 bonus in the process. At the end of the calendar year, one Playmate becomes the Playmate of the year, netting herself an extra $100,000 and a car.
The girls' profiles typically rise significantly when they become Playmates, and in the digital age there's almost no better way of discerning a celebrity's popularity than checking out their Twitter page. If a Playboy model is gaining popularity, she'll almost certainly gain 'followers' on Twitter, and it's almost guaranteed that there'll be a spike in followers following a Playmate's cover shoot. We've compiled a retrospective of the year in Playmates, and we've usefully ranked them in terms of their Twitter-popularity! #nsfw
13 Karina Marie - January (No twitter Followers)
This gorgeous Playmate is the only one this year who hasn't yet entered the Twitterverse. Born in Basildon, in the UK, Karina Marie made her first appearance on television as a guest on the Channel 4 TV Show “The Salon”. At the age of 17 she graced her first magazine cover and since then she's featured on world-famous magazines like Arena, GQ and Elle. As January's Playmate she was quoted as saying that being in front of a camera gives her a buzz - and she doesn’t like wearing clothes at home! Apparently this British beauty is comfortable enough in a simple pair of knickers. We imagine her boyfriend isn't complaining...
12 Kennedy Summers - December (1,771 Twitter followers)
Born in Berlin and raised in Virginia, this bombshell is both voluptuous and intelligent. With more than a decade of experience in modelling, Kennedy Summers is currently pursuing her Masters degree in health management after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She aspires to be a plastic surgeon in the future, saying she's wrapping up the modelling phase of her career. To be one of the iconic Playmates wasn't top of her list of plans this year, but after an impressive nude shoot she made the front page and became the December Playmate.
11 Bryiana Noelle - September (4,809 Twitter Followers)
A pageant coach and an aspiring costume designer, this Northern California model has an exotic mix of Spanish, Chinese, Filipino and Irish ancestry. She was named Miss Teen U.S.A. in 2008 and followed up by winning the Miss California Teen in 2010. She's not big on extramarital flings, saying she believes physical intimacy should be reserved for the person you love - cute and classy! Having been named as the Playboy Playmate for the month of September this year, she aims to launch her own fashion label and also try a hand on acting.
10 Val Keil - August (6,602 Twitter followers)
In her hometown of Philadelphia she's better known as a gorgeous bartender who adores her customers, but there was always something bigger waiting around the corner for the stunning Val. Her career saw her shuffle between beauty schools and community colleges before she finally parcelled her pictures off to Playboy, encouraged by ex-boyfriends who believed she had what it took. They were right, and she ended up on the front page of Playboy in summer this year, as the August Playmate of the Month.
9 Ashley Doris - March (7,654 Twitter followers)
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Ashley Doris is a mix of English, Spanish and American-African ancestry. She was apparently a bit of a book worm in her school days so modelling wasn't the obvious choice. Inspired by her idol Tyra Banks, she found her way into modelling during in her later teenage years and was by chance spotted at a bikini contest in Las Vegas, which saw her wind up on the pages of Playboy. Once a contestant in the Tropic Beauty World Finals competition, she went on to become the host of the show the following year. This March Playmate is popular for her regular updates and frequent photo posts on Twitter.
8 Carly Lauren - October (7,866 Twitter followers)
Born and raised in the West Hills of California, Carly Lauren has German-Irish heritage and has studied accounting in California State. She says that although people sometimes peg her as 'dumb blonde', she was academically gifted. Carly has been quoted as saying she always wanted to be a part of the Playboy team and she made inroads as an Amateur in the Playboy Cyber Club, going on to nab the prestigious position of Playmate of the Month in October this year.
7 Kirsten Nicole - May (10,034 Twitter followers)
Raised in Temecula, Kirsten Nicole was born in Escondido, California. The May Playmate is not just a model - she’s pursuing a course in interior designing and has an ambition to work for elite hotels in future. She told Playboy magazine that she wants to be the smart, beautiful and a girl that every guy desires. She loves travelling and Mexico is her favourite getaway, so she looks forward to representing herself as a Playmate while travelling round the globe.
6 Audrey Allen - June (11,936 Twitter followers)
Also known by the name of Audrey Andelise, Audrey Allen is currently a student of organizational psychology in Colorado. In 2012 when she and her sister, Anna Andelise, went to a casting call, they attracted attention from the Playboy team. As a result, both the sisters went on to pose for Playboy Plus. Inspired by a former 2007 playmate Sara Jean Underwood, Audrey was determined to excel in her Playboy career, and she achieved her dreams in 2013 as Playboy’s June Playmate and one of the most popular tweeters of this year's Playmates.
5 Alyssa Arce - July (11,086 Twitter followers)
Born in North Myrtle beach, Alyssa Arce has both Honduran and Caucasian heritage. She loves driving and describes herself as a tomboy and a model with Latin blood. In her school days, she was fond of soccer and discovered cheerleading as a way to be peripherally involved in the game. It was over the past year or so that she got into nude modelling. In the past, she worked for the prestigious Ford modelling. Alyssa says that having been selected as the Playmate for the Month of July, those close to her has mixed reactions.
4 Jaslyn Ome - April (12,040 Twitter followers)
From age 14, this Hayward born beauty knew that she wanted to have a career in modelling. After graduating high school in 2009, she chose to study communications at Sacramento State College, but left midway to pursue her modelling career. One of her family friends introduced her to the people at the Playboy studios, and so she bcecame Playmate of the Month in April 2013. Before getting involved with Playboy, Jaslyn attracted public attention after appearing a few videos with Youtube personality, De storm Power.
3 Shawn Dillon - February (13,630 Twitter followers)
Florida native and this year's February Playmate Shawn Dillon is a model and a certified scuba diver - and, as her Playboy photo shoot demonstrates, she loves to be in the water most of the time. Shawn has won numerous bikini competitions, from the Bahamas to Vegas, and she says sees herself as a sea mermaid. She also said that being nude seems natural to her, and she doesn’t mind exposing herself on the big screen either.
2 Gemma Lee Farrell - November (15,762 Twitter followers)
New Zealand born Gemma Lee Farrell tops our list as the most popular Playmate of the Month this year, with over 15,000 eager fans following her every tweet. She admits she's a bit of an eccentric girl who loves to get naked and party. She's been on the Playboy radar since she won the Australian Playboy Gold beauty contest about six years ago. In the interim, she has developed her career by with contracts from Monster Energy and Dreamgirl Lingerie. Apart from her work as a Playmate, Gemma's popularity comes from her public profile as an action sports icon, owing to her regular appearances at competitions through her work promoting energy drinks.
1 BONUS: Playmate of the Year, Raqyel Pomplum - 52,225 Followers
The first Mexican-American Playmate of the Year, this Hispanic beauty is by far the most popular Playmate of 2013. She started off in fashion modelling but was encouraged to try something a little more risqué. She made a splash as the April 2012 Playmate of the month and went on to transform her beauty into fame and fortune. Raquel is not just a pretty face-and-body package; she's a trained ballet dancer and a Biochemistry student. She's also the most popular Playmate this year by miles, outstripping (!) her nearest competitor on Twitter by well over 30,000 followers.