Thursday, May 15, 2008

Another Near-Miss

It's kind of chronic, the sort of problem we've been having with Playmates so far in 2008. With a great Playmate of the Year race finished off and a growing field of Playmates halfway through the 2008 class, we've seen a disappointing field so far. The contestants for the 2009 crown mostly share something in common: they've got weak pictorials.

Sure, Sandra Nilsson, Michelle McLaughlin, and Regina Deutinger have all been gorgeous models who had great shots at giving it their all, but the one point comes to mind when looking at the year so far: a Playmate is only as good as her material, and her mere presence can't do it alone (well, not most of the time). A girl can be as hot as they come, but without great pictures, that beauty can't be conveyed, and she just goes to waste. Every single girl (with the exception of possibly Ida Ljungqvist) this year has had very subpar pictorials, which didn't cross any boundaries or put on impressive displays.

So here comes Miss May, almost halfway through the year, who is the lovely AJ Alexander. AJ is definitely a beautiful, exotic girl from the Midwest, who has an interesting premise of a "racing" pictorial theme, but sees the editors flop on another one. Her pictorial is extremely disappointing, and doesn't do anything to capture the subtleties of this complex beauty.

Actually, that's the best way to describe AJ: complex. She's not an easy girl to shoot, and isn't as basic in her qualities as, say, Regina Deutinger. Early on, Playboy tries out a simple nude outdoor theme, but doesn't really take it far enough. You can see that the editors really tried to make AJ's magazine pictorial flashy and well-produced, but she comes out "plastic" looking and cartoon-like in some of the photos. Still, pictures like this one convey the sexual presence of Miss Alexander, and do a good job of showing that this really is a talented model. Still, AJ tries out the racecar pictorial to no avail, as it comes out to be a dead end for her.

AJ is a model who really was begging for some kind of exotic backdrop or a new, fresh, and creative theme. What she got, however, was a couple of awkward, drawn out photos in a strange selection of costuming (those stiletto sneakers??). AJ maintains her sex appeal, but fizzles out in an attempt to keep things spicy in an otherwise bland pictorial set. AJ needs things to work with, but fails because of her need to hit fresh poses in a limited setting. She also carries over this theme into a bad centerfold, one in which absolutely no creativity is used, and AJ look completely out of her element.

AJ Alexander will just go down as another girl with a poor pictorial courtesy of Playboy. AJ is beautiful, and there are short bursts of hope that glimmer throughout her pictures. However, she's just another victim of the limited brainstorming that Playboy does, which seems to be their gameplan for the entire 2008 class. If Playboy doesn't step it up, this might be one of the lowest points in recent memory. Next month: Juliette Frette, a girl who's gotten lots of fan attention, but hasn't yet wowed me with her coed pictorial or introductory exclusive. We'll have to wait and hope for something better...

Consensus... C+

AJ Alexander
Miss May 2008

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