2000 was a fantastic year for Playmates, one I would say is the greatest in modern history. The reasons for this are simple. The Class of 2000 ran the full gamut of Playmate qualities... we saw the year begin with the millennium twins, and #18 on this list, Carol and Darlene Bernaola. Then, a string of influential and beautiful girls, including Nicole Lenz, Playmate of the Year 2001 Brande Roderick, Shannon Stewart, Neferteri Shepherd, and Summer Altice debuted. Not to mention, the year finished off with our busty #10 Nichole Van Croft, as well as hot blonde Buffy Tyler. However, with all the emergence of superstars left and right, there was a girl who truly stood out as a unique and fresh face in the Playboy world: Miss May 2000, Brooke Berry.
Brooke was something of an anomaly when she came about: somewhat of an homage to the Playmates of the 60's and 70's. Brooke was all-natural, tall and leggy, and sported a cute, wholesome girl next door look with a body to boot. Not to mention she was a free-spirited and smart girl, a northern California beauty who backed up her style and sensibility with a liberal outlook on life. It's easy to see how all of this goes together to combine for one of the finest Playmates of all-time. Brooke certainly had a fan base, and was a strong candidate for 2001's PMOY award. While she didn't win it, Brooke still solidified herself as a real superstar in the Playmate world.
What Brooke really did for me was offer a perfect mix of everything you could want in a Playmate. She has a tongue-in-cheek look, able to manipulate photographs to offer an innocent facade, initially. Then, she peels back each one of her layers slowly, exposing a little more of that twisted mind of hers, while she also exposes her sexuality simultaneously. She eventually means to tell you not to forget it -- she's an incredibly sensual girl who loves to be flirty in front of the camera, whether it's overtly obvious or a little more subtle. Either way, she combines the extraordinary posing talent with a natural, innate beauty that you haven't seen before, and she does it through an ample serving of curves... yes, her body doesn't disappoint.
So, to take in her great collection of photos, along with her great talent, let's see her pictorial. You'll notice how readily she shifts gears throughout her pictorial, as she starts off very raw and unfettered, in front of a Volkswagen van. Instead of starting off in soft and subtle mode, she goes all-out and throws in a bunch of suggestive photos in the van, including this steamy and dark shot. One of the best things Brooke does is "pose with motion," where she has a continuous set of shots that flow into each other and give a very realistic feel to the situation. In the front seat of the van, she does this, where she strips off her top, writhes around and flashes her long legs, then goes bottomless and strokes her slender body. This post-magazine shot of her in the car is awesomely lit and incredibly engaging.
In the next section of her pictorial, she shifts gears to her most defining photo series, in the red lingerie. This series defined Brooke's style because of how it mixes her rather innocent and unassuming looks with a strongly sexual, almost porn-star-like role. She's wild in the first shot, showing her scandalous outfit and the sheer panties that expose her pubic hair without going all the way. After she strips off more, it's incredible to see how she moves, clutching her own body and moving her face ever so sexually. The bigger picture is that Brooke does a great job with the "classic college girl" look, where she puts on the intellectual, innocent hat, only to expose herself as a wild partying coed. She does offer plenty of interesting shots, like this one from behind, showing her understated but cute butt. One of my personal favorite shots is Photo 26, which slows down the pace of the pictorial with a more elegant look and softer lighting.
Some of what Brooke does best comes from what she does least. In her "pool table" theme, she climbs on the table and exposes nothing, but seduces the camera in her most feminine way possible. Some of the amazing looks she shoots at the camera, or just the everyday beauty of her perfectly proportioned face, make her incredibly delectable. One of the most interesting photos in Brooke's collection is this clothed, legs-apart shot that is quite a sight to see. Haven't had enough of Brooke's camera presence? Check this photo out, and just see how she takes complete command of every single scene. The truth is, I could link to every single one of Brooke's photos in this post. She's almost flawless in every single one of them, and you just have to see all the awe-inspiring shots towards the end of her pictorial to understand how special Brooke is. She's so intimate and has such a killer body, it's not hard to see why she ranks so high on my list.
Brooke can be summed up this way: she's balanced. She might be one of the most well-rounded Playmates ever, given her amazing body, and notably, her ability to use it to its fullest potential. Throughout the years, Playmates have come and gone. Girls without incredible bodies don't become Playmates, that's easily understood. But not many of them can use their bodies in conjunction with a high level of performance and talent the way Brooke could. Brooke was absolutely laden with talent from start to finish. She knew how to use every inch of her body to her advantage, changing roles from photo to photo from sexy seductress to wild coed, even touching base with innocence, sometimes bringing out the looks of a virgin schoolgirl.
Brooke Berry was a true icon. But, we still have three more to go, the TOP THREE on my list of the 25 best. This list has been a long-running feature on my blog, and it's all coming down to my top three leading ladies, whom I hope at least some of you agree with. If you don't, feel free to post your own opinions, because I know everyone has their own tastes, given the wide range of talent that Playboy brings out all the time.
Here we go...