Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Christmas Two-For-One

Winding down a tumultuous year for Playmates, I've come to sort of enjoy 2008. Although I was criticized at times for labeling the Class of '08 as a bunch of no-names who'd just become a crowd of mediocre entries, I realize now that I was right... but I have to add to that statement. 2008 has been a great class because the competition is all at the same level, and it's a great year because each and every model has so much potential in her that it would damn well be worth seeing any one of them a little bit more. Some extra Regina Deutinger? Laura Croft? How about some more footage of Juliette? Yes, please.

So, closing off Playmate calendar years has traditionally been a great honor by the models selected. You get to join the company of great December Playmates like Tiffany Fallon, Karen McDougal, Elisa Bridges, Barbara Moore, Kata Karkkainen... the list goes on and on. December's a great month for pictorials; the theme is obvious, the sets are simple and festive, and the costumes and lighting are formulaic but always welcome.

So in 2008, we have a set of twins, Jennifer and Natalie Campbell, who are a slim, spunky bunch of 22 year olds from Colorado. It's a trick tried last in December of 2003, which was coincidentally the last time Playboy introduced a set of twins as Playmates of the Month. The Teles twins were exceptionally beautiful and exotic, and were truly a nice treat at the end of a long year of ups and downs. How do the Campbell twins compare? Well, they offer mixed emotions for me personally.

First and foremost, you can't deny that the Campbells look like something we haven't seen in a while. They're wholesome and adorable, and look young and vulnerable in every single photo. Picture 5 is one of my favorites, with the twins getting physical and interacting well. That has always been the main thing I look for in a twin pictorial moreso than in a regular girl-on-girl feature: the chemistry. Sisters should have a nonsexual but intimate interactivity throughout the pictorial, and should be playful and flirty, just like the Teles twins or the exemplary Bernaola twins in 2000. That's something that the Campbell girls need to work on -- they simply are too standoffish about their relationship in the pictures. They barely ever touch each other, and it seems almost like one girl was photoshopped and copied to the other side of the picture.

On another note, I just feel like these girls look too young and inexperienced to be Playmates. Individually, it feels to me like either Jennifer or Natalie would not have a striking chance at becoming a full fledged Playmate, but combined, they made it this far. How is that fair? Just because they are identical twins, it hardly means they look better multiplied. They have very mediocre posing talent, and instead look like a couple of robots that were positioned by the photographer into the right spots.

That all doesn't take away from the fact that these, again, are very, very cute girls. The Campbells look like perfect little porcelain dolls in some photos, which is a complement because of how bright and lovely they seem. But without that little sexual tinge, they can't really pull off the "Playmate" factor that the other girls could this year.

In the end, the Campbell twins are just so stale together that it's hard to even give them the "twin bump" that two girls enjoy by simply appearing in the same pictorial. Where's that grinning, playful touching of the belly or the splashing of the water or the pillow fights? Nothing specific, but twins are there to make room for active posing, and there's none of that here. Where's the winter/Christmas pictorial theme? Where are the expressions on these girls' faces? We all need more than cheap tricks, Playboy.

Consensus... B-

Jennifer and Natalie Campbell
Misses December 2008

Well, the year is over, and that means I'll be recapping all the Playmates and Cyber Girls of 2008, ranking them and opening the floor for debate! There's plenty to mull over, and lots of candidates for the coveted PMOY crown this year. Also, congrats to 55th Anniversary Playmate Dasha Astafieva, a truly deserving girl. I'll have more on that when we lay our eyes on her sure-to-be-fantastic pictorial in a few days.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh, Aden...

I can't contain myself when it comes to today's new pictorial release. I've been following the "Real American Girls" feature in the Cyber Club for a while, but never has a girl really intrigued me to the point where I considered her a true find and a future star. Today was different, when I laid my eyes on New Jersey beauty Aden Bianco.

Aden is an amazing talent with a gorgeous body with all natural features. She is a real girl next door, but the way she looks at the camera is breathtaking. Those amazing eyes... that flirty hair... it was enough to get me right to writing this. Aden should be, at the very least, a Cyber Girl in the near future, and perhaps even more if she gets more talented in the posing department.

Again, I'm loving EVERYTHING about Aden. Those big, dark eyes are really engaging and that glistening smile complements her slim, athletic body so perfectly. It'd be a real crime to keep Aden from us in the coming months! Don't let me down, Playboy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Xtra Sexy, Xtra Hot

We've had very good selections for the "Playmate Xtra" feature in recent months, with Monica Leigh (one of my top Playmates in recent years, as well as all-time) putting up some more pictures. That was especially surprising, since Monica's given us loads of material after holding CGOW, CGOM, CGOY, and PMOM titles. Hey, I say the more the merrier, since every inch of her voluptuous body is pure perfection. What a hottie.

But the real story is the return of Spencer Scott last month. Yes, that's right, Miss October 2007 Spencer Scott, who was a massive fan favorite for this year's PMOY race. You knew this was coming; everyone who knows anything about Playboy has been wondering when Spencer would release more material after her paltry showing in her PMOM pictorial. Well, here you have it, and boy am I surprised.

I knew that Spencer is a great looking girl, but I felt like she didn't show me quite enough in her portfolio last year. I rated her a C+ back then, which seemed harsh to many, but which I thought was justified because of her weak material. Now, she's back, and there's one word for her: stunning! You'll notice right away that Spencer looks "new and improved," complete with a slimmer, trimmer body that's absolutely amazing. Just look at it! It's sleek and looks way taller than her 5'4" frame, and when she's giving you a full frontal, you wonder why she isn't our current Playmate of the Year.

When I look at these pictures, I wonder why Spencer didn't show these flashes of brilliance earlier. Although her final black-and-white pictorial is a poor attempt at an homage to pin-ups, Spencer is an absolute fox, and loaded with pure, sexually charged posing talent. If she put up a performance like this in her pictorial last October, she would definitely have had my vote for PMOY, and would probably be our current titleholder. A real shame... what a model.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Catching Up

After my brief hiatus, it's time to catch up with the current Playmate world as we head to the end of the year. There have been two entire Playmate pictorials released since I've been gone, with Miss October, Kelly Carrington, and Miss November, Grace Kim. It's an important time of the year, since the Playmate race has never really picked up in terms of competitiveness this year, and it's time to see if it can keep up with the increasingly exciting Cyber Girl of the Year race.

The race for PMOY 2009 hasn't really picked up much. There are plenty of differing opinions on who should win out. At first glance, it appears that the strongest opinions on who should win are coming from fans of Ida Ljungqvist and Juliette Frette. I myself believe that these two girls are rightfully leading the race, after seeing a very disappointing performance by Valerie Mason put a damper on the whole thing for me.

So lo and behold, Miss Carrington comes around in October to change things up a bit. Kelly was absolutely not someone I expected to really make a big splash in the race for the year's top girl, but she turns out to be a really refreshing shift in Playboy's thinking. At first glance, Kelly might seem like just another bright eyed blonde with a sleek body and pearly, polished smile. She's all of those things, but she's not "just another" blonde, looking at her pictorial. This girl has the element that makes every good PMOY: TALENT!

There is no doubt that Kelly is really radiant and eye-catching in her looks, just by sitting idly and not really striking any poses. Right off the bat, she has some unique qualities that offer a mix of maturity and a youthful zeal. One of the things that makes Kelly a truly spectacular Playmate is how young and vibrant she looks. She is the annual "college girl" Playmate, who makes her appearance every October, and Miss Carrington certainly personifies the ideal coed in every way. Kelly doesn't really hit on all cylinders when she's decked out and forced to be made into a personality she's not. While her great body does shine, Kelly shouldn't be made to look more refined than she is.

Instead, Kelly looks great when she's rough around the edges. When she's being a spunky, natual girl out in the locker room and in her common element. She really grabs you with her personality; it almost comes through the camera and creates an imprint to your mind, and a memorable girl is truly one of the key aspects to greatness. Just take a look at Kelly draped in an oversized jersey, and pay attention to the bright, innocent mood of the pictures. She's unfettered, and completely relaxed in this role. The seamless transition between this effortless aura and the fully nude unveiling of her more intimate side is really something special.

One other thing about Kelly that really makes her adorable and memorable is that her body isn't overstated, and she never really takes it to a pretentious level in her pictures. She always works it to a level where it's tantalizing and perks up your curiosity, and never overdoes it. It's safe to say that, with all of these very engaging elements, Kelly has that certain "something" that makes her stand apart from the crowd. Other girls this year may have been prettier or more confident in their intense sexuality, and women like Regina Deutinger and Laura Croft may have had more to offer, but Kelly has that one little element that came through: Talent. She has that "it" factor, which is why she should be in the discussion for PMOY alongside Ida and Juliette.

Consensus... B+

Kelly Carrington
Miss October 2008

Meanwhile, we have also seen the debut of another fresh face to the Playmate world, Grace Kim, our Miss November. While I was excited about the prospects of an Asian Playmate after such a long drought, Grace has been less than favorable in her performance.

Asian Playmates are a rare sight, and not since the incredibly beautiful Hiromi Oshima in 2004 have we seen one, let alone a girl so rife with sexuality. To hold Grace to the same standards would be unfair; Hiromi was buxom and well-proportioned, and innately talented with a strong sense for the camera. But surely, Miss Kim should be able to hold a candle to her.

This Los Angeles-born Playmate, however, doesn't come close. Grace made her debut with a very bland and disappointing pictorial, showcasing little talent. She has a cute, radiant smile in some photos, but it often feels like she's being underutilized, or that there's at least something we aren't seeing. When Grace is nude and posing in the dim light, she can shoot off a few moves that catch your attention, like this well done pose. However, when Grace puts her effort towards her Guitar Hero rocker pictorial segment, she seems unprepared and uncomfortable.

I recall seeing previous photo shoots of Grace before her Playmate debut, and she really looked promising. It's disappointing to see that her charm and... ahem... grace... didn't translate as well as I had hoped. Still, you can give props to the fact that she is beautiful, just not a girl who was born to be without clothes. Ultimately, she's too slim, too pale, and lacks any talent to truly make a run at PMOY, or even come close.

Consensus... B-

Grace Kim
Miss November 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Finest Hour

Folks, sorry that I haven't posted in quite some time on this blog... it has had to wait. But in that time, so many things have transpired in the Playboy world, it will be very hard to catch up. Heck, we've had two new Playmates, a slew of Cyber Girls, and plenty more. I'll start playing catch-up by reviewing two of the important new Cyber Girl of the Year contenders for 2009. These girls might be old news to some, but their debuts make them very important in the race.


Although I believe we've been seeing a string of some odd choices for Playboy Playmates so far in 2008, we have come to a climax in terms of Cyber Girls. Playboy Online's signature feature girls have been up and down for most of this year, but the Cyber Girl of the Month class is about to get a whole lot better, almost exponentially. It's surprising that Playboy is starting to just churn out one after another in terms of amazingly talented and gorgeous Cyber Girls, even in their weekly features.

So far in this year, I felt like we only had one serious contender for Cyber Girl of the Year, Trina Marie. Trina was, by far, the most unique and intriguing girl in 2008, because of how well she executed her CGOW pictorial and how comfortable and sexy she looked in her videos. She really has an intangible quality that could take her very far. And she'll need it. Trina had some competition from Heidi Wheeler or Alexandra Penovich, but things are escalating quickly. Now, we have a slew of new and talented women taking center stage, starting with Jia Lynn and continuing with this month's feature girl, Tasha Nicole, and going farther beyond to some old favorites and new faces.

First, Jia's pictorial. Jia has undoubtedly become the frontrunner for Cyber Girl of the Year in terms of sheer fan support and hype. From the very beginning, Jia looked fantastic in her CGOW pictorial, looking sleek and sharp. However, she had an artificial polish that separated her from the natural, flowing beauty that made all the great CGOY winners of the past so memorable, like the Merrit Cabals and Jo Garcicas. Well, Playboy has worked miracles before, and this is another one, right on the head. Jia has been changed from a Photoshopped and airbrushed centerfold to a breathtaking, realistic model with a set of awe inspiring pictorial and video sets.

Jia started out the month of September with a great bedtime lingerie set, where she really came out of the closet in terms of unleashing her full potential. One of the first things that struck me: Jia's body is immaculate. That's not even a stretch of the truth; Jia's body is a perfect 10 in terms of curviness, having an athletic, toned look that's just great to look at. You'll also notice that photographer George Georgiou took extra care in getting a good view of Jia's backside. Have you ever seen a more perfect butt in all of Playboy? It's like a dream, in each and every picture. Again, this was Jia's coming out party, showing that she is capable of incredible depth in her work.

Although her latter two pictorials show a lack of creativity in their themes, it only helps Jia shine more, since she keeps it interesting anyway. The fact that she's able to always hit different poses and keep you locked in is amazing. Jia really is a fascinating girl, and she has loads of talent to boot. Photos like this from week two and this one from week three are examples of just how amazing she can be. As always, Jia comes off like an angel, almost surrealistic, and it's what makes her stand apart from the other girls of this 2008 class, including even Trina.

Sure, Trina is beautiful and a girl-next-door, but when we're talking about Cyber Girl of the Year, you need a bit of an awesome quality, and Jia brings the same sort of variety that we saw in Jo Garcia, who continues to perform amazingly as this year's CGOY. Watch any of Jia's videos or just stop to admire her luscious body, and you'll find it obvious why she's got an inside track to becoming CGOY 2009. But, her race to the finish may not be so smooth...

Consensus... A-

Jia Lynn
Cyber Girl of the Month
September 2008

For the month of October, we were once again delighted with a contender for CGOY 2009, and this time the moods and themes shifted, as we found a girl with a "darker" more sultry look hit the scene, Tasha Nicole. Tasha's style is more raw and sexual than Jia's, and it offered a nice one-two punch for these two important months of entries.

While Tasha's Cyber Girl of the Week pictorial was truly special and spectacular, when she opened it up for more photos and a bigger collection in her month's nomination, she became exposed of slight flaws. Her over the top, big hair, curvy body approach can lack a bit of subtlety that really makes pictorials unfold well. But, when all is said and done, Tasha looks great naked, and that's where she shines. Not with props or outfits that she strips off, but when she's completely in the nude and not trying too hard.

That's what keeps Tasha from being really an elite CGOY candidate... her posing talent isn't as maturely developed as Jia's or Trina's. Oftentimes she attacks the camera with everything she's got, complete with scandalous lingerie and a full range of poses, only to have her more effortless photos really stand out, like this one from her second week's installment. A simple, relaxed smile is sometimes all she needs to really stick out, and that doesn't always happen with her.

Still, with all of her lack of great posing skill exposed, you can't argue against Tasha's looks. She is undeniably exotic, albeit not the "breath of fresh air" that she could have been, but you can't deny that her body is extremely well toned. When she gets it in the right poses, it's hard not to put her in serious discussion for CGOY 2009.

So, when it boils down to it, Tasha is a contender. A major one, at that. She has the looks and the presence to get things done, but a more refined and less explicit posing style can do wonders for a model. It's all about subtle sexuality in Playboy, and Tasha misses that most of the time. You can see her week 4 videos and find a wild girl of your fantasies, but when it comes down to it, she doesn't tantalize and tease the same way that a "girl next door" candidate can do.

Consensus... B

Tasha Nicole
Cyber Girl of the Month
October 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Timeless Beauty? Passing Fancy?

It's been a couple of weeks since Valerie Mason made her debut in the pages of Playboy. You may recall that I've been awaiting her appearance for quite some time, and went so far as to say that she might be the savior of this rather disappointing Class of '08. It hasn't just been me that's been catching the wave of hype; plenty of fans on the message boards and in the Playboy world have been awaiting her appearance for a long time. I first mentioned Valerie back in March, when she appeared on The Girls Next Door on TV. Back then, she looked real good at her photo shoot, and ever since, people have been speculating as to which month would go to this hot southern cutie.

Now, she's Miss September, and it all comes into plain sight: Valerie isn't the girl we've been waiting for. Maybe the "it" girl is down the road in the next three months of the year, or perhaps the "it" girl was Juliette Frette. However, it's not Valerie. Valerie may still be a contender for Playmate of the Year, but she's not the bust-out bombshell that I thought she could be. We can, of course, blame all of this on Playboy, not the model herself.

I've recently been exposed to some criticism about the fact that I've given certain fan favorites low marks although they were stunning girls, but this is not because of the models themselves. We've just had the unfortunate bad luck of having a year where most of the Playmates have suffered from a lack of imagination and production quality in their pictorial sets, pure and simple. A model is only as good as her material, and Sandra Nilsson, Michelle McLaughlin, Kayla Collins, and Laura Croft have been incredibly sexy... but where's the goods?

Valerie Mason takes that concept and runs with it. She is obviously a stunningly beautiful girl, and I'll go as far as to say she is perhaps the prettiest girl so far in 2008. She is just so adorable, and she has a very unique look that brings back a little 60's flair, complete with dark bangs and a bright smile. On the other hand, her poses fall flat, and there's not a whole lot of creativity to her pictorial like there was in Juliette's a few months ago.

Valerie starts out introducing her pink lingerie, and you can immediately notice her eyes and smile. She just captures the camera very well with her innate beauty, and it's something that is refreshing so far in this year. One of Valerie's tradeoffs is that she's very plastic in some scenes, and I wouldn't completely attribute this to production and airbrushing. Sure, there's some of that, but Valerie seems almost lifeless in some shots, and although she's a pleasure to look at, you almost wish there was a little more to her that made her seem "real." It pervades in the magazine pictorial: an image that pleases at first, but fails to stick with you due to its lack of any passion.

Still, in a straight up beauty contest, Valerie wins hands-down. It's hard to beat an angelic, almost flawless face like hers, and it's tough to argue that her body isn't curvaceous and strong enough to be one of the year's best. Wherever Valerie tries to inject a bit of sexuality, it usually doesn't come off very well, and she just has such a playful, carefree attitude that her "bad side" comes off as more forced than she wants it to seem. One thing I like is the way Valerie looks towards the end of her pictorial, where the photographers try to make her moves more subtle and less in-your-face, transforming her into almost a blast from the past. She has that old school look of the mid 60's down, and that classic face and haircut make it all the more believable.

The bottom line...

Ultimately for me, Valerie is probably the biggest disappointment so far in 2008. Here's a disclaimer to that: I still think she is the most gorgeous girl to contend this year, and if she's got some hidden talent left in her that she hasn't shown us, she absolutely deserves a shot at PMOY. That said, I don't think she's got the talent. In 28 photos and a (pretty decent) centerfold, she's shown some pretty dull posing that is simply a waste of her breathtaking beauty. She has wowed me with her looks, and her pictorial was fun to see once or twice, but it's not the sort of thing that sticks to you, and that doesn't make a PMOY.

So there we have it, another girl, another hope that October, November, and December salvage this down year for photography. I'll attribute all of it to Playboy, since all the ladies this year have been stunning, but just haven't been able to express it quite so well. Next month's Kelly Carrington is starting to surprise me by being a bright little firecracker, and I do have some high expectations for her. She kicks off a three month stretch into the holiday season, which is historically a great time for Playmates. I'll be crossing my fingers.

Consensus... B

Valerie Mason
Miss September 2008

On a more optimistic side note, we've got some real hotties stepping up to the plate for a real promising few weeks to come. Jia Lynn has kicked off her Cyber Girl of the Month reign, and I have been floored by just how sexy she is. We might have a brand new CGOY contender on our hands there. Also, Stephanie Strong is Cyber Girl of the Week, and might have the best CGOW pictorial I've seen since Trina Marie way back when. It looks like the Cyber Girl stars are beginning to align for one fantastic finish to the year. Oh, and I'm really hoping for Linsey Rene to take next month's Coed of the Month crown!

Friday, September 5, 2008

55th Anniversary Playmate Candidates

Every five years since the beginning of the Playboy name, 1954, the magazine celebrates by naming the first Playmate of the year in January the "Anniversary Playmate" of that era. Becoming an Anniversary Playmate is something of a marathon competition: there is an extensive search all over the country complete with several casting sessions and auditions for thousands of talented ladies.

Having an operation this big for finding the lucky girl lends itself to disappointment. You just can't survey so many women and find someone who will tickle the fancy of each and every Playboy fan. However, Anniversary Playmates include lovely ladies like iconic 20th Anniversary Playmate Nancy Cameron, golden year Playmate Candy Loving, or 45th year girl Jaime Bergman. Then we have the other end of the spectrum, with the most recent search for the 50th Anniversary girl, who was anticipated to be a huge pick due to the implications of a whole 50 years of Playboy. After an extensive search, we were left with a boring, forgettable Colleen Shannon.

So this year, Playboy is trying to get it right. The 55th Anniversary Playmate is slated to become Miss January 2009, and she's bound to be one for the books. Playboy has already initiated new and creative ways of looking for the lucky girl, including a YouTube contest where thousands of contestants have submitted videos and six women have already been chosen. Playboy isn't saying whether the 55th Playmate is absolutely coming from this final pool of six, with various casting calls taking place and a plethora of beautiful Cyber Girls who could very well be candidates. Right now, things are up in the air in terms of rumors, but anything is possible.

In my opinion, the final pool of six winners from the YouTube contest will likely yield the final girl chosen, since it's just such a structured competition that can't just lead to nothing. Otherwise, perhaps the final girl can come from a recent Casting Call, or maybe one of the overlooked Cyber Girl of the Week candidates we've had recently. Now, I'll assess some of the girls and their chances of making it to the coveted title.

Ashton VerrengiaYouTube Finalist (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: Ashton is one of the YouTube finalists, so she's got an upper hand there. As the first YouTube finalist revealed, Ashton's got a lean, hard body that's sinewy and long, despite her short height.
  • Why She Won't Win: Ashton doesn't have nearly what it takes to become the 55th Anniversary Playmate, and if she won it would be a major upset. Her face isn't the most photogenic of the bunch, not to mention she looks like just another Plain Jane.
  • Odds: 1 in 30
Autumn AdeleYouTube Finalist (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: Autumn is a tall drink of water with long legs and sizeable features, with an eye-catching set of proportions and a cute face. She's also got a bit of talent in the posing department, which is always a plus.
  • Why She Won't Win: Autumn's chances of winning are slim, to say the least. While her short hair and unique face set her apart from Playmates of recent times, she suffers from a bit of an aged look, and her body is way too tall to proportionally fit most of her pictures; she just looks oddly sized in some photos.
  • Odds: 1 in 25
Jamie BradfordYouTube Finalist (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: Jamie is different from the other three YouTube blondes chosen, since she's a baby-faced cutie with a really photogenic feel. Jamie is a sight to behold with those blue eyes and pearly whites, not to mention her voluptuous body and DD breasts. Simply put, she's nice to look at. She also fits the common mold of Anniversary Playmate because of her outward appeal and star-power.
  • Why She Won't Win: When it comes down to it and you get past the glitz and initial polished exterior, you can't help but think that Jamie is like all the others in her sameness. She doesn't really leave any lasting images, although she "wows" from the start. If Hef had his way, Jamie would be strongly in the running, but since fans have a bit of a say, she's got trouble.
  • Odds: 1 in 18
Mary PiemonteYouTube Finalist (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: Mary is a home run hitter, pure and simple. A real fan favorite at the moment, Mary is very unique in appearance. She has a calm, almost sarcastic face that's a fresh breath of air when compared to all the cookie cutter blondes of late, and would make a real statement about the direction that Playboy is trying to go toward in 2009. Her body and breasts are outrageously sexy, and her thick thighs and squint-eyed grin are parts of a winning formula. If the 55th Anniversary girl is coming from the YouTube finalist lineup, Mary is by far the strongest of the bunch.
  • Why She Won't Win: Mary may not be the "archetype" of what Playboy wants for a 55th Anniversary Playmate. They may just be picking Mary to put out a diverse group up front only to choose someone like Jamie. However, there's not much to dislike about Miss Piemonte besides the radically different look and a bit of an oddly proportioned body compared to the Playboy norms.
  • Odds: 1 in 5
Amy Lynn GroverYouTube Finalist (pictorial)

  • Why She'll Win: When Amy arches her back and lays out on the bed, those long legs spread out, few can deny her posing ability. She knows what looks hot. Her body is really well-toned and slim, too.
  • Why She Won't Win: Even though Amy is a YouTube finalist, I think it would be quite an upset if she won. She and Ashton are probably the weakest of the bunch, and there are plenty of girls outside of this competition who would be far better qualified. It was fun while it lasted, Amy.
  • Odds: 1 in 30
LaurenNew York Casting Calls (feature)

  • Why She'll Win: Lauren's combination of classic New York sass and a girl-next-door sparkle make her a good choice, and she translates that energy into making great photographs.
  • Why She Won't Win: Obviously there's the lack of leverage of a YouTube nomination or a Cyber Girl spot. Also, Lauren could suffer from the fact that she might find it easy to get lost in a crowd, which plagues most women trying to become an Anniversary Playmate; you need to be quite a special girl.
  • Odds: 1 in 40
StephanieColumbus Casting Calls (feature)

  • Why She'll Win: Stephanie has one hell of a cute face and a sort of youthful vulnerability that makes her very appealing.
  • Why She Won't Win: It's like running for President: you need credentials, and for lack of better wording, "experience." Well, if that's the case, Stephanie's like the mayor of a tiny town. Just being in a casting call isn't enough... oh, and she's got very small breasts.
  • Odds: 1 in 55
Dana DicilloCyber Girl of the Week, March 17 (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: Remember Dana? She's still one of the most popular girls to come around this year, and she didn't even win her month as a Cyber Girl (Heidi Wheeler took that spot)! Don't let that take anything away from Dana, who's shown how gorgeous she is, and had only 15 photos to do it. Fans are craving more of Dana's silky smooth body and exotic looks, not to mention her wealth of deep nude posing talent.
  • Why She Won't Win: Unfortunately, Dana's chances of getting to January might be slim. She didn't even get the nod for Cyber Girl of the Month, and might only be able to hope for a Cyber Girl "Xtra" bid in the near future. There aren't a lot of rumors flying around of a possible Playmate appearance for Dana, let alone the Anniversary Playmate slot. Still, she's a fine woman for the job, far better than most of the YouTube winners, anyway.
  • Odds: 1 in 35
Jia LynnCyber Girl of the Month, September (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: Like Dana, Jia is a Cyber Girl with a chance at striking it big. Jia, unlike Dana, won her month's title over her competitors, and is the current Cyber Girl of the Month. Although her pictorial isn't as polished as her weekly entry, you can bet Jia's got the qualifications, just take a look at her first video. Jia takes absolutely stunning pictures, and has a soft face combined with the right bit of lighting makes her positively angelic. She has a sleek and trim body that just looks great nude. She'd make a perfect Playmate.
  • Why She Won't Win: Jia's already won the CGOM nomination, so she's got that out of the way. Now, she's got to make the case with it. Jia needs to have a strong showing and shore up her accomplishments, and then there's a possible chance of her getting a back road to the Anniversary Playmate title. However, I wouldn't bet on it, since the YouTube girls still hold a strong presence and are the likely nominees.
  • Odds: 1 in 27
Tasha NicoleCyber Girl of the Week, June 23 (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: Tasha is a singular fan favorite who hasn't yet conquered a tough month for winning CGOM, but she is predicted to win. If she does, she'll have a chance as good as Jia to reach January. Tasha is really a fine display of female beauty, with a very exotic and sultry look and a Euro-Asian face that has a mean stare that captures the scene without fail. Add to that her slim-but-curvy body and photogenic perfection, and you see a girl who's got all the stars lined up for a potential CGOY run and a shot at Playmate.
  • Why She Won't Win: If Tasha doesn't win her month, she'll have trouble just like Dana in proving herself. She's got to beat out a couple tough contenders, like Lexi Lombardelli, but in the end Tasha should prevail. If she does, she's still got the disadvantage of being a Cyber Girl looking in to a sea of competition.
  • Odds: 1 in 32
Linsey ReneCoed of the Week, August 14 (pictorial)
  • Why She'll Win: I might be going out on a limb here, but this is a girl I strongly believe in. Linsey is HOT, and should easily win Coed of the Month. Hell, if there was a Coed of the Year title, she'd take that, too. Linsey is better than her inexperience would hint at; she's spunky, gorgeous, and has the "it" factor it takes to be a Playmate. Although anniversary Playmate might be a long way away, she certainly deserves to compete on Playboy's biggest stage in the near future.
  • Why She Won't Win: Linsey's been Coed of the Week. Despite her extensive posing talent, she's no pro. She's got to win her month, and even then she's got a ways to go against all the stiff competition in this. Still, she'd be a wise, albeit odd, choice.
  • Odds: 1 in 60
So there you have it. There are plenty of other names floating around, so I'm asking my fans to list some of the names that you think should be mentioned in this race for the 55th Anniversary girl. I honestly feel like Mary Piemonte will be the eventual winner, but it'll be an exciting few months of speculation before that decision is announced.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Calm Before The Storm

So here we are, in August, deep into 2008. We've got plenty of girls under our belt, and we see an erratic array of Playmates in the new class of '08 with little semblance of any momentum. We had a weak start with Sandra Nilsson and Michelle McLaughlin, and had disappointments like Regina Deutinger and Laura Croft. Ida Ljungqvist is the only challenger to fan favorite Juliette Frette so far, but not very convincingly. Ultimately, we've got a situation where we are still looking for a good contingent of 3 or 4 girls, as in most years, that can compete for the 2009 Playmate of the Year crown.

This month, we were dealt another middle-of-the-road girl. Sure, we saw another Playmate with beautiful, charming qualities, but Kayla Collins, Miss August, isn't PMOY material, that's just the truth. Kayla looks beautiful and radiant, and is a pretty decent poser with quite a bit of talent, and has promise in that she's an atypical Playboy blonde. She has a look that is distinguishable, which earns her some points on many fronts.

Kayla's first engaging photo is this one, a nice side shot with a nice bit of lighting and a contrastic look reminiscent of Michelle McLaughlin earlier this year. That face of hers, also, is a thing of beauty. Kayla is certainly a fun girl to look at, and her pictorial isn't as weak of Regina's or AJ's... it's got a bit of substance. A lovely picture like this is something that we haven't seen so far this year, so it was very welcome. That shot really is a nice one, complete with that platinum hair contrasting with her cherry tan and full body underneath subtle lingerie.

Through the photography that Playboy introduced in Kayla's pictorial, the audience is shown a fair amount of her gorgeous skin tone. That's a major part of her look: her soft and passive features. They go very well with her natural-looking breasts and fuller body figure. Yes, as you go further in her pictorial, you can notice Kayla's smaller frame coming through in photos, and also see that she's a slightly voluptuous girl with wider hips and a full frame. It's sexy and different, and so it sets her apart from the platinum blonde look that plagues Playmates of her genre so often. Kayla ends her pictorial by laying back and getting sexual, showing her lusty legs in a great vantage point.

Ultimately, I spent some time with Kayla's pictorial and, honestly, it grew on me. Kayla is very cute and very beautiful, and it would be unfair to overlook that and label her in some way. She's really good at what she does, and I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to seeing her as PMOY, but I'd be afraid that she'd turn into another Kara Monaco, and Playboy doesn't need that this year. In the end, Kayla's good, not great.

Consensus... B

Kayla Collins
Miss August 2008

In the meantime, Friday is bound to be a highly anticipated day in the world of Playboy, as we wait to check out the long-awaited Valerie Mason who is slated to be Miss September. Valerie was first featured on The Girls Next Door, Playboy's TV show. Since then, her personal photos have caused plenty of hype, and she's suspected to be the first major contender for PMOY frontrunner Juliette Frette. I must say, if anyone can do it, Valerie very well can. She looks absolutely stunning, has a knockout body, and looks unlike any other girl I've ever seen in Playboy. Starting Friday and into September, we'll be looking forward to seeing how Miss Mason can change 2008 for the better (finally...)

Monday, August 4, 2008

#2 - Shannon Stewart

Kicking off the new millennium was what I'd call the turning point of the "Playmate Golden Era" I so often refer to. This was a time that began in the mid-to-late 1990's and went up until about 2002-03, and contained some of the iconic Playmates that really caused a shift in our way of thinking about the Playboy brand. Before the impactful girls of this time, Playboy girls were low-key women who were certainly eye candy, but weren't necessarily the superstars that we see cropping up today. Today's Playmates are figures of statuesque power, and not just women in magazines. They represent a lot more than just women on a page -- they are a sign of the times, and follow trends in fashion and generally show what Americans and men all over the world value in their women. The girls' figures changed with time, mimicking the mentality of the era. As curvier women were more favored, more full-bodied Playmates made appearances, and as more exotic non-blondes were sought out, Playboy followed suit.

The turning point, as I have mentioned, was in the years 1999 to 2000, the dawn of the new millennium, when Playmates were substantially more advanced and were top quality girls all around. 2000 was a great year, with millennium anniversary Playmates Carol and Darlene Bernaola (#18 on my countdown) kicking things off, along with Suzanne Stokes, Nicole Lenz, #4 Playmate Brooke Berry, Neferteri Shepherd, #10 Nichole Van Croft, and Buffy Tyler. That's quite a lineup of lovely women. It really was a year for the fans, with the talent booming and busting out with extremely tantalizing pictorials of sizzling models.

No one, by the turn of the century and throughout the new millennium, epitomized all that is sacred in the Playmate world quite like 2000's Miss June, Shannon Stewart. Shannon took Playboy by storm, gaining a fair following of fans and spreading her beauty for quite some time to come. She had a plethora of photos to share, and posed for quite some time after her Playmate appearance, giving her loyal following a taste of what Playmate perfection looks like. However, I don't think Shannon ever got the love that she truly deserved. This southwestern beauty, making an appearance at #2 on my longtime countdown, is someone I believe to be the "holy grail" of Playmates, and may show outright Playmate sexuality and perfection better than the best of them.

Shannon Stewart's attributes alone are astounding. A young girl from Louisiana with an hourglass 34-24-36 figure at a sparing 112 lbs., Shannon has all the measurements of an archetypical Playmate. Her body was that of a Greek goddess, with all the right curves in all the right places, like you wouldn't believe. And her face! Shannon's face was one you could stare at for quite some time, taking in the beauty that was simply uncanny for a girl of only 22 years. I mean, Shannon looked and posed like a mature, grown woman with loads of experience under her wings, but at only 22 years, she brought a youthful zeal into the picture that took the experience of watching her to a whole new level. I simply rank Shannon so high on my list because of how much of a pleasure it is to take her in. Her Playmate pictorial is perhaps the most comprehensive and well-produced pictorial in Playboy history. That's a bold statement, but I'll try and explain.

The first thing you'll notice about Shannon Stewart's classic pictorial is how extensive her body of work is. Shannon's material isn't just lengthy, but it's also top-shelf stuff. There are almost no bad shots, and Shannon really knows how to work each and every photo. You could start off with her defining pictorial: an "office girl" shot surrounded by mirrors and in some ruby red lingerie. Shots like this classic strip tease can blow your socks off, with every little coreographed move done flawlessly, taking off her pants, and kicking off one of the symbols of Playboy perfection. Shannon continues to flirt with the camera in front of the mirrors, which is a great way of showing different angles of her spectacular body. In Picture 15, where Shannon eyes the camera through the mirror and every glistening curve of her body complements her face, there is a real sense of complete control.

Jumping on top of the bed, Shannon shines in a totally different light. Here, Miss Stewart looks different because of a different approach to production and editing, where a dimmer lighting scheme shows off a more sensual and subtle Shannon. She is a master of posing, getting behind the post in that ragged lacy pink top, and proceeds to unleash her sexual side, laying down on the bed and letting loose. One thing is certain: Shannon is undoubtedly one of the most, and arguably the most, dynamic posers in the history of Playboy. She's always striking interesting shots and never repeats herself with the same old, tried-and-true techniques. This dark photo exemplifies this, giving an idea of some of the exotic looks Shannon could offer. Behind her back, Shannon looks undeniably sexy, with suggestive themes pouring through and letting the audience's imaginations run wild. The pictorial continues by showing side profile vantage points of Shannon's figure, offering details of the hourglass figure and the subtle posing techniques that were employed by this once-in-a-lifetime talent.

One of the finest photographs in Playboy history is this behind-the-back photo of Shannon, with a look that could melt any man and lighting that delicately shadows her perfect buttocks and dreamy arched back. It's textbook posing by a not-so-ordinary model. Other highlights of this pictorial series included the emotional and expressive doggy style photo seen here.

After a radically different, brilliantly executed brighter look at Shannon swinging in a southern country-style setting, we get back to her office bowtie pictorial. The results are chock full of feminine power combined with a slightly masculine charm, slipping off work clothes to unveil a work of art. Fully nude and with a pair of wireframe glasses on, Shannon looks like a goddess, and the pictorial is a brilliant testament to how Playboy used ingenuity and radical ideas to suit models perfectly (something that can't always be said about the company today). She then squares her shoulders, looks to her right, and lets off another glance through the mirror. It's a shot for the ages, and shows a full frontal view of Shannon's tantalizing crotch as well as a view of the tapering quality of her hips. Photo 53 uses the mirrors to perfection, focusing on a bent over Shannon's butt but also exposing her toned frontside amazingly.

Shannon finishes off the pictorial by returning to the purple top, leaning back and just letting her body do the talking. This really shows off the stunning way in which Shannon alternates between "passive" and "active" posing styles, sometimes just laying back and showing off her fantastic breasts and stacked abs. Passive posing can be taken to another level, showing this risque shot as she parts her legs and lets the viewers in on an obviously candid look between her thighs. Shannon finally tops off her pictorial full of big hits with this dreamy look into the camera, penetrating with her amazing gray eyes and her beautiful face.

To top all of this amazing production and quality, Shannon's Playmate centerfold is one of the finest, with a great smile and excellent detail on her curves and a lovely tan without overproduction. As she loosens off those dress pants and tugs on those suspenders, Shannon exudes the ultimate confidence a Playmate can bring, and takes all of the ingredients that make a seminal Playmate and combines them together to perfection.

Perfection is a word I've used often in this reminiscent view of one of the great Playmate beauties in history. Shannon was a young lady from Louisiana who really had the goods to share with the world. Her face was that of eras gone by, when Playboy models were starlets with luscious hair and twinkling eyes. Shannon's glistening smile is something of legends, and does indeed hearken back to the 50's and 60's and girls like the Marilyn Monroes of the classic era. She then takes that winning formula and combines it with a body that is truly of the new millennium, complete with well-proportioned breasts and a body that has been refined and worked on. You can taste the hard work and sweat poured into her Greek goddess-like body in every photo, and every drop of her talent was squeezed out for each photo to make each and every one count.

The greatest Playmates have the greatest photos, and it's hard to argue that Shannon didn't have the goods. With all of her material, it's uncanny how it all was just so incredibly good. Not a misstep here or there, but she really was able to milk it for all it was worth. That's why she's my #2.

After taking care of the second girl in my countdown, it's been a long time coming. I'll reveal the #1 Playmate of All-Time very soon. I started this countdown way back when I selected Carrie Westcott as #25 in October of last year. Now, we'll finally uncover my favorite, and yes, there will be debate. I'll welcome it, and I would like to welcome all of you to debate my entire list as soon as it's over. Until then, look over #2-25, and place your bets...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Summer Surprise

With my assessment of the candidates for Cyber Girl of the Month up until October, I truly thought that lovely Vegas-bred beauty Dana Dicillo was a clear frontrunner for the July CGOM spot. Dana was positively brimming with talent, and we had one real superstar in the making. I also claimed that Dana should get her Cyber Girl of the Year aspirations in line, since she couldn't have been too far from that title, given the lack of competition so far this year.

Well, now at least she can leave that dream on the back burner. Dana's lost the July CGOM position to my 2nd place pick, Heidi Wheeler, who also impressed me in her weekly spot. It was a shock to me that Dana, a certain fan favorite, was passed over, but we all know why. Playboy has made no secret of the favoritism it's shown for its own girls. If you're already internal to Playboy's business, meaning that you are a model who's been working inside Playboy in some capacity other than just being a random girl they picked up from the streets, chances are you've got some credibility with them and you have an inside track to the higher ranks. It's not always the case, but it happens from time to time.

Heidi is also a Las Vegas-based lady, but she worked at Playboy's club in Sin City as a dealer at the tables there. I wouldn't normally be in favor of a colossal snub like the one dealt out to Dana, but I'll make an exception here. After a month of seeing Heidi's pictorials and videos, I can safely conclude that Heidi is a knockout of a model, and if enough people catch on to her wave, she might have a pretty solid chance at Cyber Girl of the Year, barring competition from Trina Marie and others down the road.

Heidi's first pictorial starts off without a whole lot of flair, but proves a point that is obvious: Heidi's body is cut from stone, pure stone. She has one hell of a body, with all the right curves and fanastic obliques and an unbelievable set of breasts. Although her first two pictorial themes weren't perfect and her looks were a bit flat, her body delivered and she knows how to strike a great pose. Heidi is certainly full of talent and knows how to work it, and she deserves plenty of credit for that.

Heidi's Week 3 and 4 features are where she truly takes off and looks like a seminal star. A simple, lengthy tank top combined with perhaps the best body I've seen this year gives the pictorial a great flavor. Just take a look at that butt popping out of that shirt, and tell me it's not one of the most glorious things you've seen this year. As Heidi gets fully nude, you can notice her fantastic abs tapering down to a hard set of legs, and everything above and below in perfect harmony. I'll say, Heidi's body was MADE for the camera, and it's just a pleasure seeing her move in each of her videos. And speaking of videos... her Week 4 videos are unbelievable, with the first in a sultry sheer outfit that complements her body perfectly, and a second one that's the obligatory shower shot that captures the attention because of how chiseled and breathtaking Heidi's body is.

I'm not saying Heidi is perfect in every way. If that was the case, she'd be in the spotlight far more than she already is, and I'd have crowned her the 2009 nominee already. She's not. She's a great girl with a near-perfect body, which has been conditioned and perfected to the point that it's a dream to look at. However, her face isn't always striking and picturesque, and sometimes she can look spaced-out and a bit clueless about how to form her facial expressions. Lovely eyes and lips, but otherwise she has a tough time with that part of her game. Also, the first two pictorials could have used some work. Other than these flaws, Heidi's physique and posing talent make her very exciting and definitely worth a look. Certainly, she's the best Cyber Girl besides the beautiful Trina Marie this year, and could make a run for it with her connections with Playboy already.

Consensus... B+

Heidi Wheeler
Cyber Girl of the Month
July 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Finely Crofted

So here we are, starting off the second half of the year in terms of Playmates, and we've got a class that's slowly starting to pick up. The pace at which the Playmate race has been going is frustrating; we started out with some beautiful models who had plenty to offer but gave us very little, like Sandra Nilsson or Regina Deutinger. We also had some questionable candidates like AJ Alexander or Michelle McLaughlin, who perhaps weren't "cut out" for the elite role of being a Playmate. Then, we finally had a savior in the year with Juliette Frette, who had plenty of talent and really set the bar high for the year, and who will be very tough to compete with for PMOY 2009.

Now, we have Miss July, Laura Croft, who seems to be taking that upward trend and running with it. Laura is, indeed, a lovely girl, and from her modeling previews that have been circulating around the internet, you can tell that Laura's had a bit of experience with non-nude modeling, and she looked so fantastic that I was really pumped for her nude debut. I was floored by her silky hair and cute and fresh smile, and I knew Laura would have something new to offer and maybe brighten up this dull year.

I can safely say that Laura met my expectations, and even surpassed them in some ways. On the other hand, she might have disappointed in other ways still. First of all, Laura is a fantastic model, and one with tons of talent that really carries her far. I'll also say this: Laura is probably the most beautiful girl that we've had so far in 2008, meaning that she just has raw beauty, and is just physically more appealing than all the models so far. However, that said, Laura doesn't always deliver to her full potential, and sometimes it feels like she's holding back. I think it feels that way because she had to follow the fantastic Juliette Frette, who wasn't as beautiful, per se, as Laura, but knew how to work it as well as anyone.

Laura's pictorial is fresh and perky, and takes on a summertime feeling, given the month of July. Comparing Laura's "Playboy makeover" look to her previous bikini shoots, you'll notice immediately that she's just become more of a presence on camera due to her blown up, longer hair and airbrushed exterior. Yes, Playboy seems to have done some editing on many of her photos, but the unpublished photos look far better. I mean, Laura looks statuesque in pictures like this, but it's so processed that she almost looks like a computer-generated image.

Laura's pictorial isn't very long, but it gets to the point. She starts out whimsical and fun, and puts out full body shots like this that really are striking. But still, shots like these don't scream talent, not like her predecessor's did. Some of Laura's photos look a bit awkward, and sometimes it seems like she doesn't fully know how to control or use her body in the pictorial. This is disappointing, given Laura's innate beauty. Laura strikes some uninspired, plain poses before moving into more spicy looks, like this one where she's laying down and having some fun. Miss July is a bit of a clueless model, but this one's a keeper, given just how amazing she looks naked.

When the mood darkens a bit, it all escalates and gets better. She delivers this piercing shot on a speedboat, where her face looks perfect and her eyes tell all. Now that is what her performance should have more of. I think that Laura sometimes doesn't fully embrace her sexuality, and often just fiddles around in front of the camera. Most of the time, audiences want more sex and only a slight bit of girl-next-door charm. I mean, Laura's body is cut out for this, absolutely, and she's a great choice for Playmate, and it's photos like this one that really gather a nice balance for her.

Ultimately, Laura seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity, just like we saw at the beginning of 2008, but considerably less so. The blow is softened by the fact that Laura is extremely adorable, and just a sight to behold. Again, she's probably the prettiest, most visually pleasing girl since Spencer Scott or even back to Jayde Nicole of last year. In fact, her appearance reminds me of Jayde, but I guess that she just didn't have the opportunity to prove her sexual appeal like Jayde did. I doubt that Laura will be in major contention for PMOY 2009, but it all depends on the next 5 candidates, which includes the highly-anticipated Valerie Mason in September.

Consensus... B+

Laura Croft
Miss July 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Out With the Old, In With The New

There's a sad truth to life, and many may get on me when I say this, but it's inevitably true: people get older. That's it, people do. And women do, as well, and as they age, things aren't necessarily the same in terms of appearances and how they look in front of the camera. Posing nude ain't easy, there's no doubt about it... all your flaws are exposed in front of the camera in each and every shot. It's tough to hide from it, and I'd give plenty of props to any young lady who takes the bait.

Well, there's been tons and tons of hype about the Playmate Xtra feature for Miss September 1998, Vanessa Gleason. Now, this is coming from me, someone who ranks Vanessa in his top three Playmates, when I put her at #3 in my list of the greatest. So, you'd believe that I was ecstatic whenever it was revealed that, after 10 years of inactivity in the Playboy realm, Vanessa would do an encore performance, at the bubbly young age of 29.

Yeah, she is only 29, as she did her Playmate pictorial at the very young age of 19. But, to my amazement, Vanessa looked considerably older in her pictorial. Granted, Vanessa still looks gorgeous, and is an absolute knockout, and I suppose the problem here is that I am comparing her former self to her current pictorials, but I can't help it. Vanessa is one of my favorites, and seeing her as a pale, unexciting girl is saddening. Vanessa still has plenty of talent, and in many instances she shines. However, she looks aged and tired in most instances, and most angles on her are tough to shoot. It's hard to blame the photographer when many of Vanessa's pictorial photos just came out too pale and boring, with no curves and a stale figure.

I hope no one gets too upset at my opinion, because I've heard lots of people praising Vanessa's courage and poise in coming back after so long to do another set. It is unfair to compare her younger pictorial to this one, but I'm just saying that I wish she'd avoided it. It's really great that she would choose to do so, but times have come and gone for Vanessa.

Consensus... C+

Vanessa Gleason
Miss September 1998

Playmate Xtra June 2008

On the other end of the spectrum, we had the total opposite of what transpired with Vanessa. One of my favorite Playboy models in recent years, Kortnie O'Connor, who was Cyber Girl of the Month in January 2007, and whom I wrote my very first post in this blog on, didn't get a whole lot of love from the audiences for her encore performance, and didn't get the outpouring of support that I thought she deserved. Figures.

Kortnie was given a major snub in the race for Cyber Girl of the Year, finishing close to last place in most fan polls. I'm glad the lovely Jo Garcia was there to take it instead, otherwise I would have been very disappointed with how hard Kortnie got dissed. I don't really see what people don't pick up with Kortnie: she's got an out-of-this-world body, she has an awesome, unique face, and she has a feminine quality that she pours into every photo. She's wildly talented and is very multitalented, and she showed it with her new pictorial.

She took on a whole new look in this one, from her amazing look in blue lingerie, to her fantastic strapless bikini poses. There were numerous pictures where she looked stunning, and she especially looked different because of the way her hair looks newly untethered and longer, and her body looks extra conditioned and stacked to the max. It's true, her body looks extra hot. It looks like she's been working that body out hard, and it positively ripples with curves. She's so incredibly talented because of the way she always reinvents herself.

The reinvention goes through lots of different looks, with the first pictorial showcasing Kortnie's body and offering a look at a wide range of interesting poses like this coy one or an inverted burst of temptation. Her second week comprises of two hot videos, complete with some fantastic looks at the camera and some spunky smiles that Kortnie flashes from time to time. Those giggles are worth everything, and maybe that's the kicker for Miss O'Connor... the fact that she's always seeming to have fun. Her third week showcased her body in a tight little bikini, and honestly it was a masterful pictorial. It's too bad it didn't come with a video, because it was just a great performance. The last week topped it off just like it started out: just a simple, straight on set in a lacy little teddy.

And it's wildly hot, sultry shots like this one that prove my point. Kortnie was very short-changed in the race for CGOY, and I really wish more people saw what I see in this great model. Kortnie deserves great accolades, and some are calling for a Playmate nomination of her. Lemme tell ya, she'd certainly be way better than a lot of what we've seen so far this year (*cough* Sandra, Michelle, Regina, AJ *cough*)!

So it's out with the old, in with the new, with great new talent coming into Playboy. I know that the oldies are goodies, but let's just leave them at that... oldies. Vanessa was great then, and girls like Kortnie or Juliette Frette are the stars of today. Let's treat them as such.

Consensus... A-

Kortnie O'Connor
Cyber Girl of the Month
January 2007

Cyber Girl Xtra June 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Race Is On

I'll say it right now: the race for Cyber Girl of the Year 2009 is about to heat up quite a bit. That's right, after a relatively slow start to this year's lineup, I'd say we're about to have a tight one on our hands. This is mostly due to the great selection that Playboy's been making for their Cyber Girl of the Week features.

The standard was raised, in my opinion, way back last year with Trina Marie's CGOW pictorial, which set the bar higher than I'd ever seen before. Trina really pushed it, since before her, most Cyber Girls debuted with rather shoddy weekly pictorials, with no videos or embellishment, just a little blurb, some stats, and a set of 15-20 photos. But the quality was all changed by Trina.

After Trina took the CGOM title in March, we've seen only one other great contender, the very talented Alexandra Penovich in May. She was pretty stunning because of her great moves, awesome pictorials, and an overall knockout body. Now, we've set a nice trend, taking it to a greater level with a bevy of excellent Cyber Girls showing up week-to-week, and getting large fan followings.

March (July CGOM slot)

The five March 2008 Cyber Girls are in contention for the slot of CGOM for July, leaving a four month selection and production time. That means we should be finding out the March race winner very soon. The girl I assume to be in the clear lead there is March 17th's Dana Dicillo, who is a fantastic candidate for CGOM and perhaps even for CGOY in the end. She's built up a huge fan following, and some are even claiming that she should transcend the ranks and be a serious candidate for Playmate soon. Even though that's a way off, Dana truly is a gorgeous girl, with a sizzling attitude and an outstandingly natural look. Although there's only a couple photos to judge her on, Dana looks to be the next huge Playboy superstar.

Next for march would have to be Heidi Wheeler for me. She has a superb pictorial and demonstrates some substantial skill, but in the end I think Miss Dicillo is just way too popular and talented to be passed over for CGOM.

April (August CGOM slot)

For me, April just has one clear star: Sharae Spears. Another diamond in the rough, Sharae is a really unique looking girl who's also understated in her beauty and all-natural, complete with a softly lit and radiant pictorial. She's slim, with some nice height on her and some long, glistening legs. Although she might not be CGOY material (or as much so as Trina or Dana), she is a great candidate for the monthly nomination.

Chelsea Co is also a contender for this month, but I don't think she has the goods to take the spot like Sharae has. That being said, April is a relatively weak month compared to March, so Chelsea has a chance, given the slight amount of buzz she's generated in the community.

May (September CGOM slot)

I think May has the most exciting upcoming class, given two of the girls that are huge contenders for the yearly award. I was very stunned by Britney Arianna, who hasn't been getting as much support as I had expected, but whom I would probably give the edge in this month. Britney is really beautiful, and has a very natural and girl-next-door feel, although this might be her Achilles' Heel. She looks fantastic in shots like this one, when she's not trying too hard. She has a killer body, and I'd certainly like to see a lot more of it in September, so she's my choice.

Now, in other months, Britney would gather plenty of support from fans, but May has its own superstar, Jia Lynn, who is a highly touted girl that's gotten tons and tons of fan support. It seems like some are on board to take Jia all the way to CGOY already, and perhaps even further past that, but that's just initial buzz and speculation. She certainly is a gorgeous model, and I'm sure some would take issue with me saying that she shouldn't even win in her own month, but that's what I think, since Britney is curvier and looks more natural. That's not to say I would be disappointed with a win by Jia. She has a soft facial structure that makes her positively angelic, and she never seems to do too much or too little in each of her poses. It's effortless, and I definitely am predicting that she'll be the one come September.

June (October CGOM slot)

October does seem a long time away, considering summer has just started. Not to mention June isn't even over yet. However, we've got a couple girls that are worth keeping your eyes on. This month started off with a bombshell of a model, Crystal Enloe, taking centerstage. I've gotta say, Crystal is a wondrous Playboy model, and someone who has a load of potential, particularly for CGOM, if she does indeed make it. Her pictorial is far more sexual than most CGOW pictorials ever become, with the unusual element of emotion as something Crystal seamlessly tosses in, which is something you don't expect in these debut pictorials. It's strange, because Cyber Girls, at first, always seem a little out of their element when they make their first appearance. Crystal, on the other hand, is completely comfortable in her role, showing off her ample breasts before turning around for this artsy backside shot. I'm telling you, Crystal has the potential to be the true darkhorse success for 2008, so we should keep an eye out for her. She's got talent like no one else so far this year, so maybe she might be the breakout star...

Another intersting entry for June was Lexi Lombardelli, who looked fantastic in her scant lingerie. Lexi was very exotic and enticing, and her body is very well built and looks very hard. Although I think she'll have a tough time against Miss Enloe, it looks like Lexi is well-equipped for any CGOM job, as well.

It looks like we've got a really great lineup of potential superstars in the next couple of months. Every future CGOY comes from humble beginnings as a lowly weekly feature in the Cyber Club, and she works her way up. Before, current Cyber Girl of the Year (and possibly one of the greatest Playboy models of the last decade), Jo Garcia, had her humble beginnings as the June 18, 2007 Cyber Girl of the Week (coincidentally, about a year ago!), and has come quite far to get where she is. Just think of the potential that girls like Dana, Sharae, Britney, and Crystal hold in their futures. So many pictorials, so little time!