Since Playboy magazine has evolved to a no-nudity policy, we realize what we liked the most about the magazine: The nudity. It’s sad to see such an institution fall by the wayside, but like so many other things, it proves that the Internet is not always good for our world. Sure, it’s provided a world of information the likes of which our grandparents could never have imagined and it has connected people across the globe, allowing communication as easy as talking to the person next to you. With 40,000 search queries per second, 3.5 billion per day and more than 2 trillion per year. That breaks down to 280 searches per year for every man, woman, and child on Earth. While the Internet has expanded our access to information, so has the world’s appetite for celebrity news. Social media and hundreds of cable channels have created a world where following the famous, or trying to be famous, is a priority for many. Twitter has become the go-to device for celebrities and wannabes for connecting directly with fans, and society has decided the best way to connect with fans is often through a scantily-clad selfie.
Back when Playboy sold millions of copies every month, it was seen as the place where up and coming female celebrities of all types (or those unfortunately on the downslope of their careers looking for headlines) would show up. Models like Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, and Stephanie Seymour all posed, as well as sports celebrities like Katarina Witt, Gabrielle Reece, and Amanda Beard. Sometimes, Playboy scraped the bottom of the barrel for C-level celebrities when the best turned them down. Now we’re living in a world where it’s hard to imagine anyone would turn the magazine down, but unfortunately, it’s that world that made the magazine irrelevant. With that in mind, we’re going to pretend that we have a time machine and return to a day when the Playboy Mansion would host parties most of us could only dream of attending. Check out our list of the 15 celebrity reasons we’re sad Playboy is PG-13, and reminisce about the glory days of Playboy.
15 Ronda Rousey
When women are at the beginning of their careers in the media spotlight, they can tend to be very vocal in their disdain of showing off too much skin. In a 2012 interview with MMA website, BJPenn.com, Ronda Rousey discussed how many of the ring girls in boxing and MMA have posed provocatively in men’s magazines. Rousey stated, "Whatever I’m not gonna show on a beach, I'm not gonna show in a magazine. These girls are going to have to explain to their kids one day why mommy's a** and vagina are all over the place." Yet, she turned around and posed for ESPN’s The Body Issue without a stitch of clothing on. Theoretically, this means we could find Ronda Rousey on the beach in her birthday suit. If Playboy had come a knockin’ we think she may have had to revise her statements. Assuming that never happens, we're just going to be walking up and down Venice Beach looking for our favorite MMA hottie.
Her real name is Catherine Joy (C.J.) Perry and while she was born in Florida, she did spend several years of her youth living in Latvia, which lends some credibility to her WWE manager character, the Ravishing Russian Lana. Serving as the stereotypical 1980s eastern European bombshell, she accompanies her real-life husband, Rusev, to the ring for his matches. Before hooking up with the WWE, Perry was just starting to build her acting resume with appearances in both of the Pitch Perfect movies and an episode of the Showtime series, Banshee. She lost her top in that appearance and did at least one other time for a photographer in pictures that can easily be found on the Internet. We can’t help but think if the WWE still had a working relationship with an R-rated Playboy magazine, Lana would have been one of the ladies to share more than a bad accent with wrestling fans.
13 Natalia Dyer
There are stranger things than being upset that this beautiful 19-year-old just didn’t make the cut to be in Playboy because of age restrictions. A year ago, nobody really knew who Natalia Dyer was, but after appearing on the Netflix summer hit Stranger Things, she’s become someone who a lot of young men suddenly have an interest in. Her first role was in the Hannah Montana movie and she’s done a bunch of independent movies nobody has ever heard of, with the sexiest being I Believe in Unicorns where she stripped down to a bra. Dyer's situation of gaining notoriety through the streaming capability of Netflix is ironically directly related to why Playboy has made the decision to forego nudity. There will be a generation of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime actresses who can never appear in Playboy and Dyer is just one casualty of this general inconvenience.
12 Ariana Grande
There are two ways Ariana Grande’s career can play out. One way is going the route of Jennifer Lopez by mixing music with acting, modeling and making appearances as herself on shows like American Idol. The other entails a short time in the limelight, and fervently trying to stay relevant as the public grows tired of her. Back in the day, she’d just have to appear in Playboy to breathe a little life into her career like Debbie Gibson or Jody Watley. While she did become of legal age while Playboy was still doing full frontal nudity in the pages of the magazine, it was just a matter of bad timing. When Debbie Gibson was tearing up the charts as an 18-year-old, it didn't make any sense for her to pose for Playboy. The magazine asked another five times until, at age 35, she finally said yes. If Playboy was still showing the good parts, we might secretly hope for Grande to be in that second category of stars who needed to pose to stay in the spotlight.
11 Christina Hendricks
If there was one “Oh, yeah, of course” person who should be on this list, Christina Hendricks is it. The busty redhead had bounced around Hollywood for seven or eight years, guest starring on plenty of TV shows but never reaching the level of fame that Playboy demanded prior to landing the role of Joan Harris on Mad Men. Once she got that gig, posing was unnecessary. Now that Mad Men has concluded for over a year now, her resume once again is a patchwork of independent films, minor guest star TV roles, and voiceover work. If this were the mid-90s, the next logical step would be to accept the decline of career options or fight it with what God gave her, and we’re not talking about her acting chops. Nude selfies of Hendricks have appeared on the Internet, so we know she’s not opposed to posing for a camera, we just wish it were one of Playboy’s photographers who had got to her before it was too late.
10 Mila Kunis
Aside from Ashton Kutcher, it's a little difficult to name something popular Mila Kunis has done in the last six or seven years. The first Ted movie? Bad Moms? Those Jim Beam commercials? Family Guy doesn’t count since we can’t see her. She made her debut as an airhead teenager on That '70s Show and was projected by many to have a huge career on the horizon, but it has seemed to fizzle out. Instead, she's had to take third and fourth billing in forgettable movies (it’s the Christina Applegate template). Like the once-Kelly Bundy, Kunis opted not to share the goods with Playboy during the early years of her career. She’s never given the indication that she would ever consider doing nudity (her topless picture in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was Photoshop magic) and now that she’s going to be a mother, so we’re done thinking things are going to turn around. Yet, one can dream that Playboy will one day change its nudity policy, and she might take advantage of a chance to make a comeback on their glossy pages.
9 Aly Raisman
Do you hear that ticking noise? It’s the clock on Aly Raisman’s 15 minutes of fame. For a few days in 2012 and again in 2016 she was one of the most famous people on the planet. The other 207 weeks, not so much. This multi-medal holding Olympic gymnast was 20-years-old when she captured another set of neck decorations at the summer games in Rio. If Playboy were still doing R-rated work, you might immediately think someone like the attractive brunette would not pose, but plenty of Olympians were seen in its pages during its heyday. Raisman hasn’t ruled out a return to the Summer Olympics in 2020 when she’ll be 24, but that’s elderly by gymnastic standards. If she’s willing to return to her former glory, we’re going to hope that Playboy makes a one-time exception to return to its former stance on nudity and put out an invitation for Raisman to appear with nothing but the gold and silver.
8 Becky Lynch
From 1999 to 2007, Playboy and WWE formed a partnership whereby one of its female competitors (although calling them wrestlers at that point was a joke) would appear in the magazine to coincide with that year’s WrestleMania. Well-known WWE stars like Chyna, Torrie Wilson, and Sable appeared in their birthday suits, along with has-beens and never-weres like Ashley Massaro, Christy Hemme, and Candice Michelle. WWE’s migration to a more family-friendly form of entertainment dictated that they move away from the men’s magazine market, much to the dismay of male wrestling fans everywhere. It’s nice to dream about Playboy still having that relationship and who would grace the pages these days. One of our top picks would be Becky Lynch, the Irish-born “Lass Kicker” who was one of the females dubbed “The Four Horsewomen” in her NXT days. We wish this electric-orange haired beauty could have changed out of her wrestling gear but the universe just got the timing wrong by about a decade.
7 Hannah Simone
Zooey Deschanel gets all the headlines as the star of New Girl, but we’d pass on the “adorkable” geek and head straight to Hannah Simone if Playboy suddenly dropped its new skinless format and made a casting call to its set. You’d never know it by looking at her, but Simone is 36-years-old, which means if she’d only been a little more famous a little sooner she would have had plenty of R-rated Playboy years available for her. Her career was floundering for years before New Girl, with her biggest gig being a video introducer for MuchMusic, which was Canada’s version of MTV, in her mid-20s. You could say, “Why didn’t Playboy make an exception?” but for every famous woman who lost her top for their magazine there was 100 in line behind her who would have done it, but didn’t have the filmography to back it up. We have no idea if she would have been open to the idea, but we would have at least seen an offer made before it was too late.
6 Cecily Strong
The beautiful Cecily Strong has been with Saturday Night Live since 2012 (before Playboy banned the breast), but it’s only been in the last two years that she’s expanded her profile beyond the late-night sketch show. She’s appeared in the remake of Ghostbusters, along with guest spots on Superstore, Angie Tribeca and Scream Queens, making her more visible than ever. Yet, if she were looking for a mainstream print media outlet specializing in celebrity skin to increase her celebrity status even more, she’s out of luck. Think about what a travesty that is. Where can a smart, attractive, funny woman go these days if she wants to show us what her boobs look like? She’s certainly not the best performer on Saturday Night Live, but she is arguably the best-looking performer and that still counts for something in our eyes. Most likely that will never change, even if Playboy’s dumb policy on nudity did.
5 Danica Patrick
The notion of one of the most beautiful females in NASCAR gracing the pages of Playboy seems like a marriage made in heaven, but for some reason it never came to pass. Maybe NASCAR has some rule against its drivers appearing nude, a policy we would have supported 100 percent (even suggested it be made a federal law) before Danica Patrick appeared on the scene. Maybe GoDaddy, the web hosting company who signed her to be their spokesperson, put in a contract clause where she couldn’t go full monty while working for them. After appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2005, Playboy did ask her to pose, but she declined. This was when the world still wondered if she’d be a world class race car driver. She’s good, but she’s never been great, having only won one minor race in Japan and has never seen anything higher than fifth place in the IndyCar Series. Knowing what we know about her career trajectory now, we wonder if she’d give Playboy more consideration if they had come calling a decade later.
4 Selena Gomez
There was once a time when Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Victoria Justice all had shows on either Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel within a couple years of each other. Is it any real surprise that the admiring 13-year-old girls and hormone-infused 17-year-old boys of those days have made these women such big stars? History, however, tells us that the odds of all five of these ladies having huge careers was very unlikely. Cyrus would have already been in Playboy 12 times over if it were still pro-nude, Lovato wouldn’t do it because of her stance on the media and body issues, Justice is trying to build a legitimate acting career (though did appear in her bra through most of The Rocky Horror Picture Show remake on Fox), which brings us to Ariana Grande, who you’ll find elsewhere on this list, and Selena Gomez. She’s had a few Top 10 songs, but like 95 percent of Britney Spears’ catalog, they’re completely forgettable. This is true about the acting career of Gomez since she's only had a few roles in independent and mainstream films, and they have all received mixed reviews. The public is going to need more to stay interested in Gomez for much longer. She would have refused Playboy at least twice by now if this were the ’90s, but it would have at least been a safety net she could have counted on and one we’d like to have seen her land in.
3 Sofia Vergara
This is another one that leaves us scratching our heads. Prior to becoming Gloria on Modern Family, Sofia Vergara was an international model who had no trouble appearing in sexy pictorials. Although she rarely went nude, the opportunity has presented itself. This is another one of those “not famous enough to be able to pose” straight to “too famous to need to pose” situations. She’s been nominated for a ton of Emmy Awards, has endorsement deals with companies like Covergirl and Ninja Coffee Bar and is reported to be the best-paid woman in television (although some think it’s Kaley Cuoco, who we also wouldn’t have minded seeing in Playboy), and has a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. If Playboy still did nude photography, the only way to pitch the idea of a spread in the magazine would probably be the “Show the world a 44-year-old woman can be sexy” route. Yet, we still wonder whether or not she would have thought that ship had already sailed now that her star has flown so high.
2 Midori Francis
The obvious choice for sexy girl from a TV commercial that will likely define her career is Milana Vayntrub, but now that the AT&T commercial girl is starting to pop up in real shows, we’ve gone looking for a different one-hit-wonder to admire. The truth is, she’s been there for a few years now and we never gave her enough credit. We had a dream about a beautiful commercial spokesperson appearing in Playboy. We’ve had this dream for four months, and we named her Midori Francis. We loved Midori but then Playboy totaled us. We’d been through everything together: two Family Feud hosts, three new Kardashian reality shows, we’re like “Nothing would be better than Midori in Playboy.” Then Liberty Mutual calls, but we don’t break into our happy dance. We explain we’re doing fine with Geico but we’d much rather see the girl from their commercials than a naked gecko in the pages of what was once our favorite magazine.
1 The Rest Of The Kardashians
Many have admitted that the only reason they watch those faker-than-fake Kardashian shows on TV is because they like to look at this group of sisters who hit the DNA jackpot. Everybody knows Kim became famous after her sex tape came out a decade ago, but we have no idea how Kris sold E! on the idea that Kim and the family standing around saying much of nothing would make a popular television show. Actually, we think it probably had more to do with E! seeing a picture of the beautiful sisters. Kim was the only one who made it into the pages of the magazine in her own pictorial before Playboy asked its models to put their shirts back on. Imagine an issue with not only Kim, but Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie and Kendall together. Sure, they’re great at posing in sexy selfies on Twitter, but we think a professional Playboy photographer would have created nothing short of a dream come true.
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