Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Miss Enigmatic

So here we are, with 2010 winding down. We've got yet another Playmate class almost complete, with all the bells and whistles, props and hairdos. One thing is for sure - the variety in girls in recent years, especially in the past five or so, has been staggering. Playboy reaches out all over the globe to bring girls to their flagship American product, and they do so with often very good consequences.

For this year, they've done exceptionally well. As 2009 was a deep class, the same can now be said for 2010, which has officially become almost as deep with talent. This is due to a strong finish, with Francesca Frigo, Claire Sinclair, and now, Shera Bechard, who comes in as Miss November.

As I've made clear, the upper echelon so far in 2010 consists of Amy Leigh Andrews, Katie Vernola, and Jamie Edmondson. Amy was just a stellar all-around talent, Katie's posing skills were possibly the best all year, and Jamie's unique looks set her apart. The middle of the pack has been good, but ultimately has lacked the intangible qualities to set them apart. Shera, on the other hand, breaks that trend a bit.

Shera is, first and foremost, very tough to figure out. I'll elaborate on this throughout, but let's set it clear that this Canadian beauty queen is not a typical Playboy nude, of modern times. She doesn't have the rounded frame and buxom curviness that manifests itself in girls like Amy or Katie. She's not overtly sexual, bending over and exposing her genitals or getting into pornographic positions to get a kick out of the audience. Instead, Shera is very old-school, with a bit of lingerie model in her. The best way I can put it is: if Victoria's Secret were to issue a nude catalog, this is how they'd shoot it, and Shera would be the kind of model that would be featured in it.

From the onset of her pictorial, you can tell that Shera is a professional model that's not used to doing nudes. However, this sets her apart, showing off an elegant, refined model that's in a whole different element than she is used to. In her first few shots in sexy white lingerie, which I think are the finest of her pictorial, she gives off an angelic appearance that is very fashion model-ish. Her long legs and blond hair combine with a wistful look that really transports you, and shows you the little details that Shera brings to the table.

You see a few things with Shera that are interesting here. She's obviously a bit uncomfortable in the nude, as this is far out of her normal setting as a fashion model, which is her profession. She can get a little misguided with her posing here and there. On the bright side, this discomfort is very endearing, as you realize that here you're witnessing a statuesque beauty that is usually fitted with a babydoll or brassiere, and rarely do you get to see that raw sensuality of a shower scene from this one. It's very candid, and with artful shots like this that complement the model, you have some winning stuff.

The pictorial, though, is definitely not without its faults. Although it starts out well with some candid shots of Shera with simple outfits and minimal makeup, she later gets the full Playboy treatment, looking like any other run of the mill Hefmate blond. This is pretty disappointing, and although she still is innately stunning, with that gorgeously angular face, she almost blends back into the pack with each shot. And, here and there, the photographers throw in another "artsy" shot that tries to complement Shera's pro model background, only to have it flop and look contrived and needless.

You truly realize it by the end of her pictorial - this is a girl with infinite potential, but she's someone that Playboy has blurred into anonymity. In this great photo, she looks fantastic and goddess-like, but also looks completely unrecognizable as her previously innocent self. It's puzzling, since the pictorial gives you such a mixed image of Shera, it's difficult to make up your mind about whether she truly is a contender in this year's PMOY race. How can someone go from this to this in one set of photos, and still carry on a consistent showing of who she really is?

  • Face: A-
    One of Shera's greatest strengths, her face has a lot of definition, with high cheekbones, penetrating eyes, and the look of a veteran model. It's interesting, though, to see her look completely different in separate photos due to the level of makeup the editors choose for her. Au natural, she's stunning.
  • Body: A-
    Shera's body is well-balanced, without a doubt. There's nothing overly special about any part of her, but when you see her photos, her lack of colossal features helps her be the overall stunner that she is. Her breasts can look a bit odd in side shots, however.
  • Talent: B+
    In her photos, Shera shows off her professionalism with convincing prowess. She moves gracefully, and knows how to deliver a good pose. On the other hand, sometimes she seems lost in her pictures, and her posing is not always consistently active.
  • Pictorial: B
    Playboy really does a disservice to Miss Bechard by turning up a pictorial that plays very poorly to her strengths. Although they mean well by trying to introduce more complex and artful photos, they ultimately fail by not realizing how to deliver a model as nuanced as Shera to the audience.
  • Centerfold: B-
    Although Shera looks pretty, as usual, in her centerfold, it's extremely uninspired, and fails to show off enough of her excellent body.
  • Overall: A-
    Shera probably could go down as one of the most memorable models of 2010. At first, I had high hopes that she would come in to be a real game-changer in the Playmate race, and she actually is, in a lot of ways. She definitely has increased the level of depth in the field this year, and has raised the bar as to what risks Playboy should take in photographing their models. Shera seems to be a rather unimposing figure at first, but she's a deeply complex and nuanced model, with greater facial definition and emotional capability than other girls this year. It's difficult to shoot a woman who is rooted in professional modeling for something that is so different, since nude modeling requires a sexual energy on a different level altogether. She did a great job, however, and sits as a contender for Playmate of the Year 2011. Although there's some stiff competition, Shera should carry fans through her refined posing, albeit a weak pictorial.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Talent In Bloom

With recent posts, I've just been sticking to the Playmate races, more or less. I have my routine of reviewing every single Playmate of the Month, culminating in year end reviews. But sometimes, girls come along in Playboy that truly capture my attention, and they're worth a special mention.

That's what happened yesterday, when two spectacular young talents launched their Playboy careers and immediately caught my eye. I really, truly believe that these two girls have all the talent to become future PlayboyCritic hall-of-famers, and that's no exaggeration.

First off, yesterday's debut of Cyber Girl of the Week Casey Lauren completely blew me away. The 25-year old has a sleek, slender body (only 95 lbs worth) and has a clean cut, smooth look that is beyond words. With the dismal showing of Playboy's Cyber Girl class lately, it's so refreshing to see an exotic fresh face like Casey hit the scene. In a photo like this, you notice that she obviously isn't the voluptuous bombshell that characterizes models of late, but she sure does have an intriguing look that's helped out by her petite figure.

On top of it all, Casey's face is very unique, and her smile bright and youthful. There's something about her face structure and her nose that make her very unlike any girl I've seen, and her dark black hair laid out on those white sheets makes for an immersive experience when looking at her. Not to mention, her posing and posture are excellent.

The thing is - we won't see if Casey pans out to grab a spot at CGOM until 2011. And thus, she's out of the 2010 race, anyway. That's very unfortunate given the boost that this Cyber Girl class could use this year - Casey is probably the best CGOW since Elizabeth Mendez (who flopped miserably in her turn as CGOM).

As for the other girl who absolutely wowed me yesterday: she wasn't a Playmate or a Cyber Girl at all. She was actually part of a forgotten breed of ladies in Playboy - the Coeds. Christine Veronica made her appearance as Coed of the Week, and boy, she was something else. The busty 20 year old is a combination of spunky youthfulness and great posing prowess, with the face of an absolute angel.

Even Christine's outfit got me going; the way she energetically tugs her clothes off is an utter joy to watch. What you notice at first in her fantastic pictorial is how buxom she is. Her body has some meat on it, and that's a good thing. The way she holds her posture, too, complements her fine breasts.

The real kicker about Christine, though, is her face. She has an absolutely spectacular smile, and one that she (thankfully) sustains throughout her pictorial. She never lets up with it, and I loved every little bit. When she flashes those pearly whites, and her eyes squint and glimmer with that beautiful hue, it's heavenly. This is the stuff that elite Playmates are made out of, not amateur college girls. And when you pan away or zoom out, and you see that her picturesque face is coupled with perfectly curved body, you start to appreciate just how special Christine is.

It truly is great to see talent like this come around, but we need to see it cultivate. I beg you, Playboy, to give Christine her due, and move her up the ranks. Give her a Coed of the Month feature, then promote her to Cyber Girl... and please, do it well. You don't want to mess this great talent up. Since she's so comfortable in her own skin, and strikes poses with incredible ease, Christine is without a doubt the best Coed of the year, and easily the best since Jessica DeCarlo of April last year.

Now go, Playboy! Get these two awesome ladies some gigs! They have my support, without a doubt.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Claire the Playmate Time Machine

Of all the ups and downs during the calendar year, and in each year's class of Playmates, there are times when Playboy botches pictorials and does a poor job underrepresenting gorgeous girls in front of the camera. They sell them short. However, if there's one thing you have to give Playboy credit for, it's this: the editors of Playboy are definitely looking to take risks in recent years. There was a boring slump in the 80's, and the lack of creativity in the 90's was made up for by some stellar models. Nowadays, though, they need to spice things up to keep audiences interested. And this, they do quite well.

So, it should come to no one's surprise that they throw a monkey wrench into the works for this month's Playmate, Miss October Claire Sinclair. This girl really has surprised readers, in a positive way. She certainly took me by surprise, in that her style is like nothing I've seen in years. There's been several times that Playboy has tried to throw in a 'retro' style pictorial or two, but they didn't quite have the models to pull off such a look. However, Claire is a whole different breed of woman. At the impressionable age of 19, she is highly reverent of the models of the magazine's lore, including pinups like Bettie Page.

Back in the magazine's early days of the 1950's, models were unabashedly curvy, had milky white skin, and often were dark brunettes without highlights in their hair or frills in their posing. Because their range of nudity was limited, they used great creativity to pull off majestic themes. How could a girl who's only a teenager living in 2010 replicate this? Amazingly, Claire does it, and boy does she do it well.

Claire is an homage to those great nude stars of yesteryear, but also with a refreshing twist of youth. In some of her first photos, you can tell that she's taking this theme seriously, spreading out but taking some more conservative shots. Then, her pictorial shifts gears for the better, with a more agressive shot of her entire body. As she shows in subsequent photos, her passive posing style, which she overwhelmingly prefers, is actually effective because she's just so mesmerizing. Claire is a tough model to figure out, because it's almost as if she lives in two different eras. She hits you with an exceptional starlet-like pose, but then shifts gears, relaxes, and lets it all loose by putting her body on full display.

To really pinpoint what it is about Claire that makes her unique, and that keeps her apart from both the 50's and the 2010's, you need only look at her mixed features. She has a unique face that's without sharp, angular features that come in today's models. This is one of the elements that keeps her "retro" feeling. Obviously, the costuming helps, but we can go deeper than that. To keep her from getting too disconnected from this year's crop of ladies, she also has a leaner, more sculpted body than women did in Playboy's infancy. For example, in this photo, you can clearly see her accentuated hips and rather slender waistline, which wasn't always so prominent with the old gals.

As she continues her pictorial, you can notice that the quality of this model is truly something to appreciate. She does get lost in her posing here and there, and that's the issue with her. She isn't a very skilled poser, but her passive looks are very intriguing. Through all of her novelty, this really is a great model. However, the lingering question follows throughout the pictorial: is this really a serious contender in today's Playboy? The answer? Probably not as serious as if she was just a straightforward model. We applaud her for taking risks and producing a wonderful pictorial with winners like this great shot, but in the end, does it really satisfy?
  • Face: B+
    Claire's face is beautiful, and her smile is infectious. Her face really sets her apart from other Playmates of recent years, and is her defining feature. However, it still lacks some distinctive features that can make her more memorable.
  • Body: B+
    Claire is voluptuous and busty, with a milky white complexion, which lends itself to her "pinup" motif. She is really far more cut than most photos would lend you to believe, but it doesn't touch the rock-hard bodies of other girls.
  • Talent: B
    If there's a true Achilles' heel to what Claire does, it's that she models her style too closely to former pinup girls. Back in those days, it was more about the presentation and the idea of nudity than the girl's skill. She just doesn't have the knack for the camera that she would have if she was more active in her movement.
  • Pictorial: B+
    Claire's pictorial is not particularly well-done by the editors, nor does it truly harness the multidimensional beauty that she has. It could use more photos that center on her surprisingly tight body, but instead they focus on the thematic quirkiness of her style, losing the focus that should be placed on the model herself.
  • Centerfold: B-
    One of the poorer centerfold shots of the year, it just doesn't do her justice at all, and misses the point entirely.
  • Overall: B+
    I, as the magazine has, have highlighted Claire's posing style and motif in my review as the highlight of her Playmate reign. It's obviously what makes her stick out in a year with some above average talent, and so it should be taken seriously, and not just some kind of schtick. That theme crosses over a bit into being real substance, but ultimately, it can't carry itself into the PMOY race. Claire is just not a pure talent like Amy, Jamie, or Katie were this year, and so she should easily slip into the middle of the pack. It was amazing to see such a young girl pay homage to her heroes in such a nuanced and fun way, but in the end, it won't take her to the finish line on top.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Playmate Blitz!

For all the fans who've kept checking this blog, even throughout the weeks without an update, I thank you. There is certainly some catching up to do even though Playboy has been pretty quiet in terms of any 'groundbreaking' updates. Nothing really eye-catching has gone on for quite some time now, and I see it as sort of a slow period for the magazine. The quality of both Playmates and Cyber Girls has stagnated in an otherwise strong year to start (for PMOM's at least), and so there hasn't been much on that front. However, I do want to highlight the past three ladies to take the stage - Misses July, August, and September.

For July, we find Shanna McLaughlin, easily the weakest entry into the 2010 race. Shanna is a complete train wreck of a Playmate, but earned her stripes in the "Playmate Shootout" competition, where amateur photographers shot their own models in an elimination challenge on Playboy TV. Shanna was absolutely not the best of the bunch, but some lucky breaks got her through, and thus she earned a berth as a Playmate of the Month.

Shanna is not entirely devoid of talent, but she suffers in an even bigger aspect: her looks. She is, unfortunately, just not very attractive. She tries, but just hits some horrifically bad poses time and time again. There really is very little that she truly does right, and in fact her pictorial wouldn't even normally cut it in the Playboy "amateurs" section. She simply has no pizzazz, no spark. In fact, her pictorial gets progressively worse, showing off her terrible breasts and her complete lack of sense for the camera.
  • Face: C Shanna's face is angular and unattractive - it's plain and simple. There isn't a single shred of beauty in it.
  • Body: C Shanna's breasts are overly large and soft, which completely destroys any sense you can get of her curviness. If they were a bit more firm, she could pull off a lot of poses with more strength and poise. Instead, she flops - literally.
  • Talent: C+ She has no sense for what looks good, and does not belong in the category of Playmates.
  • Pictorial: D Being a completely clueless model, Shanna produces absolutely no memorable pictures, and she only fails in doing what she wants to do. Whatever the photographers were thinking, it certainly didn't work.
  • Centerfold: C Shanna's centerfold looks like just another entry in her pictorial, and is one of the most forgettable centerfold shots we've seen in quite some time.
  • Overall: C- Is Shanna the worst Playmate of the new decade? For sure. Is she the worst Playmate we've seen in years? If you go past 2009's Jennifer Pershing, you could go as far back as another decade to look for a Playmate as poorly conceived as Miss McLaughlin. There has not been a more undeserving girl in a long time, and she looks to be a waste of space in such a prestigious position.
With a performance like July's, there's pretty much nowhere to go but up. But Playboy didn't
settle for that, and instead went way up, injecting some spice into an already reasonably competitive Playmate class. August brought Francesca Frigo, a Venezuelan firecracker with juicy sexuality and a gorgeous body. Francesca was a polar opposite of her predecessor,
demonstrating a penchant for the camera and a beautiful Latina style.

Francesca's unique look is captured wonderfully in her pictorial. Although its theme is drab and uninspired, it evolves from the traditional beach scene, showcasing her body at its most natural. The scene tops off with a very attractive view of Miss Frigo from head-to-knee, showing the photographic style with which she is most palatable - with shadows in her lower half, and a split open pair of lips that shows off her unique facial structure.

All this aside, Francesca then comes into her own, without gimmicks, and settles in the bedroom. In one of my favorite entries of her pictorial, she spreads her tip-toed legs and exposes her bottom, while coyly covering her top with a sparkling smile. It comes together in a more subtle, girl-next-door look that really shines. From here, she takes the bedroom scene to ridiculous heights. Her side shots show off her immense proportions (with a perfect waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7), and her overhead shots are particularly sexy. When she curls her legs up, you get a cozy sense that she is unbelievably comfortable in the nude. If you still don't have an appreciation for Francesca's milky skin and spectacular measurements, one look at this photo will make a believer of you. The pose takes advantage of her picture-perfect thighs and gorgeous calves. Her great pictorial closes off with an overhead close-up of her shadowy curves. Brilliant!
  • Face: B Francesca's more unusual facial structure may be her biggest flaw. Her jawline is often very edgy (hearkening back to Tamara Sky), and she doesn't have the soft features that characterize other girls this year. Although her smile is bright, this is certainly her biggest drawback.
  • Body: A Francesca's body is nearly perfect, with a powerful frame and excellent proportions. One of her greatest assets is her amazing legs, which complete the look of her rock-hard core.
  • Pictorial: B+ She certainly looks much better in her comfort zone, and in the bedroom photos, she excels. However, the pictorial has some repetitive scenes, and wastes time with a silly series of beach photos.
  • Centerfold: B+ In a year of very good centerfolds, Francesca adds to the goodness. It's a bright, beautiful picture with a great representation of her body and energy.
  • Talent: A- Francesca's pictorial hinders her ability to really showcase her style, but it does a good job of showing how much energy and vitality she has. She truly knows how to move her body, and what looks good on camera.
  • Overall: A- Francesca Frigo is certainly in the race for 2011 PMOY. Although her pictorial quality held her back in her ability to really show all she could do, it gave a good overall look into her knack for the camera. Francesca's poise and Latina flair come together with a hard, strong body to make for a gorgeous girl to look at. Although she doesn't have the intangible qualities that girls like Katie Vernola and Jamie Edmondson possess, she definitely is beautiful enough to make plenty of noise this year.
To top off the trifecta of new Playmates that I'm adding reviews for, we find our current entry. Olivia Paige makes an appearance as Miss September 2010. At first glance, Miss Paige comes off as yet another cookie-cutter Playmate with bright blond hair and a plastic frame. Olivia, however, is quite a bit more than that, putting her at a high spot in this year's Playmate collection.

Olivia also competed in the "Playmate Shootout" contest with Shanna McLaughlin. Although she didn't win, after viewing her collection, you might wonder what the judges were thinking. First and foremost, Olivia's body pretty much carries her through her pictorial. She's tall, slim, and statuesque. Although she isn't as meaty as girls before her, her slender appearance lends itself
well to her posing style. As she lays out the goods in lingerie, you notice that she's also very nicely proportioned. Because she's slimmer, her curves are sharper and leaner. Her style is more crisp, and the pictorial is done nicely to complement this. Shots like this one, where she pushes out her curves intentionally, are common.

You should also notice Olivia's major flaw when going
through her pictorial - her talent level, and her face. In a photo like this, she comes off as tacky and downright strange, with a facial expression that is quite puzzling. Although it's nothing against the way her face is structured, it's moreso her sense for the camera that leaves you disappointed. She often has to try very hard to distinguish herself in photos, leaving her overreaching for poses that would otherwise come easily to other models. Through inconsistent looks combined with this lack of awareness, her stock is brought down on what is otherwise a very promising girl.
  • Face: B- Although Olivia's face is not structurally flawed, she has some issues with her facial expressions that have the potential to ruin major parts of her pictorial. She often looks clueless and awkward, changing the looks of an otherwise fantastic pose.
  • Body: A- Obviously Olivia's greatest strength, her body is slim, cut, and sharp. Her 120 lb. frame is not voluptuous by any means, but she knows how to set shots up so that she can accentuate certain attractive features.
  • Talent: B- On the other hand, Olvia's greatest weakness is her inability to use her beautiful build to her advantage. She has very little clue on how to position her body for maximum potential. Although she takes on an active posing role, it doesn't always come across well.
  • Pictorial: B Olivia's pictorial is ultimately very forgettable. There is very little costuming or setting going on, and it all seems very contrived and hastily put together. When it all comes together, it's just a little bit of shadowy lighting and cookie-cutter sets.
  • Centerfold: B The centerfold is attractive, and does a good job of showing off her muscular body, but doesn't really do much else. Not very creative at all.
  • Overall: B Olivia is a prototypical middle-of-the-pack Playmate. She has lots of tangible qualities that make her beautiful - a great body, radiant looks, and photos where she looks spectacular. On the other hand, there is nothing intangible that really puts her in the PMOY race at all. There are no breathtaking moments that really set her apart from anyone else. In the end, she's just another Playmate with not much talent to go around, but worth checking out on one pass.
There you are! Three new Playmates that offer a whole variety of looks for you to ponder. As for me, here are my best Playmates of the year so far, with only three left to go:

1. Amy Leigh Andrews
2. Katie Vernola
3. Jaime Faith Edmondson
4. Francesca Frigo
5. Kassie Lyn Logsdon
6. Olivia Paige
7. Kyra Milan
8. Heather Rae Young
9. Shanna McLaughlin

Monday, July 5, 2010

The One To Beat

I haven't posted in a little while, and Playboy's been mostly quiet on new releases... for the most part. While we've seen a new entry in terms of Playmates (that's a little inconsequential), I want to comment on a girl that I'm seeing as a turning point for another big contest for 2010: Cyber Girl of the Year.

If any of you follow the Playboy world, you obviously know that it's Bethanie Badertscher, Cyber Girl of the Month for June 2010. Just to put
it out there, this young lady is easily the best Cyber Girl we've seen since Jamie Graham of last year, and possibly the greatest talent in the CG world since Jo Garcia (who made some serious waves two years ago). Bethanie is a force to be reckoned with, for a whole series of reasons.

First and foremost, she is possibly the most surprisingly multi-faceted talent we've seen in a long time. Beth knows how to hit some tight, professional poses with relative ease. She knows exactly what looks good and how to play to the camera. There are countless photos of hers where she looks good, but what's amazing is that her girl-next-door personality and wholesome looks don't detract from the fact that she's wildly sexual. She hits some poses that make your jaw drop and wonder where all the "badness" came from. She can get as down and dirty as possible, and does it with extreme ease.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a body like hers. Bethanie is spun
ky and slim, which makes her a real pleasure to look at. The way she contorts that sinewy body to hit some really adult moves is beyond comprehension, but even when she's passively standing by, she glows like an absolute angel. Even with a whole lot of material in her CGOM shoot, she hits consistently amazing poses, like this one, which aren't overstated, but use her physical ability and subtle touch to deliver a breathtaking scene. Even her smile takes center stage throughout her videos, with a cute, young look that is stunning.

I could go on and on through Beth's material, showing just how consistent her posing prowess can be, but really it's even more than that. Miss Badertscher has some real star quality that sets her apart from everyone so far in 2010, and beyond. This is the sort of girl that we may only see once in a lifetime, and she should certainly be in the top spot for CGOY.
  • Face: A+ Bethanie's glowing, cute smile comes across especially well in her video close-ups. It really completes her wholesome, girl-next-door persona, while still allowing her to go the distance with a sexy stare.
  • Body: A Beth is slim and petite, but more than that, she can move herself in ways that accentuate her best features. Although she doesn't have the most pronounced butt, the overall trimness of her frame makes her absolutely gorgeous in front of the camera, and complements her persona quite well.
  • Talent: A+ After a more traditional retro-style CGOW performance, few could see just how much firepower Beth had in her tank. She brought it in her month's pictorials, with flawless posing knowledge and body control. She's easily the most talented CG in years, with an intensity that rivals even the best Playmates.
  • Material: A+ It's what makes the model, and Bethanie has plenty to offer. Her pictorials are varied, dramatic, and always develop into something more. She never sits idly and always has movement, and each picture and video is different from the next.
  • Overall: A+ As if I haven't given enough reasons why Bethanie is in my hall of fame, I could still paraphrase it all. Beth is easily the greatest Cyber Girl since Jo Garcia won it all in 2007. She has immeasurable talent in posing, and seems like she was born to be naked. It's not even just a cliche - Bethanie just looks unbelievably natural in the nude, baring it all and then crooning for the camera with absolute ease. The lighting and production value carry her far, as they are as minimalist as possible when shooting such a naturally beautiful girl. Still, the bottom line is that Beth's firecracker sensuality is a shocker, especially coming from such a seemingly innocent young girl. It really all comes together in a tantalizing feast for the senses.
Welcome to the A+ club, Bethanie!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Love The 90's

The developing Class of 2010 is getting better and better by the day, after the appearance of Amy Leigh Andrews, one of my top rated Playmates in years. It seemed initially like last year's group of ladies would be very difficult to top, but this year, it looks like we have a great shot at an awesome Playmate of the Year when all is said and done. Jamie Edmondson kicked things off with a mature flair for talent, and Amy's well-rounded performance really set her up at the top of the heap. Kassie Logsdon offered a great little departure from the trend of voluptuous Playmates, as well. Could things get any better?

Well, they actually just did. This month, we get Katie Vernola, Miss June 2010. Katie's claim to fame is being the first ever Playmate to be born in the 1990's, at the fresh young age of 18. We haven't seen a girl this young in quite some time, and it doesn't come at a better time. Playboy's Playmate lineup is getting increasingly diverse and interesting by the day, and Katie comes in as a stunning and eye-opening entry.

Not only is Katie developed well beyond her age, but she has loads of talent. She may just match Amy Andrews in that department, being one of the most dynamic, sensual Playmates we've seen in a very long time. Katie's youthful charm is well utilized, being her greatest strength. Indeed, it would be upsetting if Playboy producers downplayed the age factor. This is, after all, what makes Katie tantalizingly cute, as her teenage status makes her an intriguing entry as Playmate. The juxtaposition of this young age with her extraordinary talents is the key to making her a success.

And surely they do that, with awesome precision. They initiate her pictorial with a flowy, rustic theme, almost reminiscent of Corinna Harney. Katie looks absolutely angelic in these photos, and unbelievably buxom. You can't deny that she looks far more mature than she is, especially when you look at her very voluptuous stature. I would want to point out Katie's biggest flaw, however, which is simply her body type. Her body just doesn't seem as chiseled and polished as someone like Amy Leigh, but most of the time that's just fine. The voluptuous look doesn't hurt her much, since it's almost astonishing to see such a young girl with such a full, womanly body.

The real meat and potatoes of the pictorial are her bedroom photos. It's the centerpiece of her performance, and she is absolutely breathtaking in them. When you see those engaging eyes and that tight little tank top, it just pulls you in. This photo is my favorite shot of her body, giving you a feel for her feminine innocence and pairing with great posture. Again, Playboy's production value is spot-on. Her skin is deliciously glowing, her face is made up with pure perfection, and the costuming is extraordinary. This shot of Katie offers a great view of her lying down, a classic shot that she executes with such precision. It's a photo like this that really conveys just how far beyond her years Katie is.

Katie's pure talent is undeniable. She strikes a wide variety of poses, never relenting or remaining passive. That's the real key to her performance. She can switch it up, looking coy and engaging, and then let her hair down, get on her knees, and strike with cat-like sexuality. And speaking of that hair - oh that hair! - it is unbelievably hot. The Playboy stylists have fluffed it up and made it almost tangible through photos. It sits on her face and gleams with color, beautifully complementing her soft skin tone.

Ultimately, Katie is intriguing because of her age, but it isn't just a gimmick. This isn't a "kid Playmate" who's not ready for the bigtime. If you see a sitting pose that looks this awesome, or a backside shot that conjures up some devilish thoughts, you can tell that Katie isn't your average teen nude model. She doesn't play the youth card, but instead gives it her all, sizing herself up against the very best Playboy has to offer. She can strike every single pose and execute to perfection, even trying an upside-downer to everyone's surprise. It's hard to define what it is about Katie, but you can't argue that she has an "it" factor that true stars all have.
  • Face: A Katie's face didn't intrigue me at first, but it is absolutely one of her best assets. Her eyes are engaging and deep, and her soft features and smile convey her youth subtly.
  • Body: B+ This is easily Katie's biggest weakness (and it is a bit of nitpicking), since it isn't as chiseled as most Playmates'. Still, she has some eye-popping features that really help her stand out from almost every angle.
  • Talent: A+ For an 18 year old girl, Katie sure knows how to play to the camera. She is a very dynamic poser, able to hit every pose in the book, and has a knack for knowing how a photo will turn out. She very well may be the best poser of 2010, when all is said and done.
  • Pictorial: A+ Katie's material plays wonderfully to her strengths, with the bedroom shots in particular showing off her body's finest features. The production is amazing, and she comes off outstandingly poised and mature, but still playful and young.
  • Centerfold: A Katie has the best centerfold since Ida Ljungqvist's in 2008. It's not overdone and very representative of Katie's style. The slinky, teasing thong is particularly attractive.
  • Overall: A Katie Vernola is a very memorable Playmate who definitely ups the ante for the race for 2011 Playmate of the Year. She has the most talent this year, and that's not a small feat, given the likes of Andrews and Edmondson. As I've mentioned, the melding of her youth with her buxom body and powerful sensuality is nothing short of amazing. Playboy did this with exquisite perfection, and it was all due to the caliber of the girl. Katie is a testament to how much talent can factor in to a great Playmate. At this age, it's incredible that she can do what she does, and it's hard to describe how great it is to look into her eyes in a photo and witness the emotion she can convey. I would gladly pencil her in at #2, just behind Amy Leigh Andrews, for the race for PMOY '11.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

California Dreamin'

It has been a decently strong year so far, in terms of Playmates. Continuing the streak of great girls after the 55th Anniversary Playmate Search, we've seen some excellent women, like Amy Leigh Andrews and Jamie Edmondson. Playboy, as of late, has done a wonderful job in getting a wide variety of girls to pose, with all sorts of body types and posing styles. We've had our bombshells and voluptuous, tall beauties so far, and it's about time they mix it up.

So in May, we get a completely different kind of entry, the gorgeous Kassie Lyn Logsdon. A SoCal native with a lean beach body, Kassie brings a youthful, spunky look that contrasts sharply from the buxom beauties thus far this year. Her body is very slender, and her height is accentuated by her razor-thin waistline. We haven't seen a girl with this type of body since the Shannon Twins of last year, but Kassie does it a whole different way.

Unlike the Shannon girls, Kassie is not a gimmick. She offers a different type of look that really depends on your preference. If you like skinny girls that look youthful and have their own way of crooning to the camera, then Kassie may just tickle that bone. A more voluptuous girl with obvious physical features is not what Kassie is, but if that's your thing, Playboy already offers plenty. Indeed, Miss Logsdon is a talented young girl, and her physical stature is balanced by the fact that she has a truly angelic face. Now, the only thing is, with a girl like this, pictorials need to be well-done... so how did Playboy hit the mark?

The main thing I'll say is that Playboy was very inconsistent in producing the pictorial for Kassie. It's not really her fault, but the first nine pictures in her pictorial are just awful. She just looks pale, washed out, and too free-form in these pictures. I understand that the nature of the pics were meant to be unhindered and personal, but they were produced terribly. It's a good thing they didn't take this part of the series too far, since she quickly changes it up with some really great material. Here, she looks absolutely statuesque, almost like a porcelain doll. Her nudity isn't "in-your-face," but that's almost like a breath of fresh air, as she relies more on her innate beauty to compensate for her lack of punch.

Kassie is no Pam Anderson, and that's a good thing. She doesn't need to offer the gratuitous boob-shots, or the brash, sexual offerings that other ladies feel that they need to show. Instead, she uses some subtle moves, showing off a coy, almost inviting side of her personality. A really interesting move is when Kassie tries to go more sexual, and it works on and off. At first, she sends off a vulnerable side, laying prone and looking fantastic. But then, she has trouble following through, spreading her legs but looking a bit awkward because of the angle at which she's photographed. You can easily see that photographers had issues with getting good shots of Kassie, since her thighs and abdomen aren't proportionate in the same way that other girls' are. You almost need to get her lengthwise, or prone on the bed, in order to photograph her right. Otherwise, she looks a bit too slim.

The best example of how Kassie can look extraordinary is in her "sock" photos. The dim lighting and straight posture, combined with her lack of awareness of the camera, make them very intriguing. The way her body is stretched out and shot is particularly sexy, and her slim body type really helps her out here. When she shrivels up and looks away, and in nothing but those little socks, she looks amazingly vulnerable and spectacular. She really is great in these moments, because she just makes them so intimate by bringing along her unassuming personality.

The last part of her pictorial finishes it off in decent fashion, with some nice swimsuit pictures. This one was a particular favorite of mine, showing a rare sultry side of Kassie, while exposing her skin as being outstandingly smooth and creamy in texture. Overall, the short shorts and bikini strip tease were great for this time of year, although the photographers don't consistently get her good side, once again.
  • Facial: A- Kassie's beautiful face is her greatest asset, with inviting eyes and soft features. Her larger forehead, however, can be a detriment.
  • Body: B+ It's all a matter of preference, but you simply cannot deny that Kassie has a hard, toned body, albeit quite slim. It is her truly distinguishing feature, giving her a petite size that few others can pull off. It can be a problem for her at times because it is quitedifficult to photograph properly.
  • Talent: B+ Her posing skill isn't anything to write home about, but Kassie has good awareness of the camera and knows how to hit some awesome poses, although it can be more of a product of her body and overall good looks.
  • Pictorial: B The first few pictures in her pictorial series were a disaster, but luckily, some decent production value and some nice stylistic themes saved it, and fit her personality very well.
  • Centerfold: A- One of the better centerfolds we've seen in a while, it looks like any other photo in her pictorial, but doesn't try too hard, and plays to her strengths.
  • Overall: B+ Kassie won't be immortalized in Playboy history for anything she's done, but she also won't be forgotten this year. A solid pictorial performance (with some hitches here and there), and a gorgeous face and a nice, tough body make her a force in 2011. Kassie is not for everyone, but you shouldn't let that get in the way of being able to see how sexy she is. She certainly has ample talent, and is truly Playmate material. She should be a contender for Playmate of the Year, although I do expect some stiff competition to muscle her out in the end. Overall, it's been a pleasure... thanks, Kassie!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Two Cents On Miss 2010

So I'm a bit late to the scene to talk about the Playmate of the Year selection this year, I apologize. We did all see this coming, what with Playboy's obvious hint and all, and it was made official last week: Hope Dworaczyk is the 2010 PMOY.

As you all know by now, I ranked Hope a paltry #8 on my rankings for 2010. It was perhaps the lowest I've ever ranked a PMOY winner. Some might have thought I was crazy, and may still call me crazy for what I'm doing now - standing by my choice. Hope still stands low on my rankings for all the Class of 2009. There is no way Hope deserved the title above many of the other lovely ladies, especially Kim Phillips, Jessica Burciaga, and Dasha Astafieva, who were all incredible Playmates.

I've argued from the very beginning that Hope's fatal flaw has been her utter lack of material. Sure, she is a very beautiful girl, what with her great height and interesting features. But, she's no Dasha, or Kimberly, or Jess. She doesn't deliver the way those girls do, and she still hasn't with her PMOY pictorial.

An examination of her winner's pictorial shows that she just doesn't have the range and versatility to carry an entire collection of photos. Although she's incredibly curvy and beautiful in certain angles, she ultimately has a difficult body to shoot properly. Oftentimes, her thighs look too large, and her head too small. The way to photograph a girl like Hope is to accentuate her height, not her proportions. This comes across great when she's prone, or when her entire body isn't shot full-on.

Now, before you all get enraged at my denouncing of a clear fan favorite and the rightful winner of the crown (democratically, that is), you need to know that I think Hope has great potential to be shot well. The proof? Hope's Playmate Preview pictorial was spectacular, before her PMOM series took her out of the race, in my eyes. Shot for shot, it offered the very best of Miss April, complete with a very flattering outfit, just the right amount of touch-ups for hair and makeup, and had great poses. Hope was meant to kneel on the bed and lay down prone -- exactly the poses that such a sizable girl should be making. The preview pictorial is proof that what we have here is a very capable and beautiful model, but once again, Playboy overthought the concept, and ruined the moment.

Can we have that old Miss Dworaczyk back? The one with the fluttery hair and the bright lighting? Unfortunately, no. What we have here is a girl who probably didn't deserve to win in a deep and incredibly talented Class of '09. In terms of talent, perhaps we haven't truly seen what Hope can offer to justify the choice.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cyber Girl of the Year - Surprise, Surprise

After seeing the Playmate of the Year choice unveiled as someone who didn't even appear in my top 5, I, as many people, felt that the Cyber Girl of the Year nomination would be limited to two simple choices. Both girls were in my top two, and both were to be sure locks as soon as their monthly pictorial sets were released.

One was Hillary Fisher, who was a huge star as soon as her CGOW pictorial was unveiled. She had the talent, the looks, the body to truly be a major star as CGOY. She had tons of potential, although her CGOM showing fell a bit under par. The other, my #1, was Jamie Graham. Miss Graham easily had the best body I saw in 2009, of any model. Her picture-perfect proportions and incredibly down home good looks were paired with a wonderful knack for posing. I just dreamt of all the amazing pictorials she could bring in an entire year.

Instead, my #3 Cyber Girl won the nomination. It was recently announced that Tess Taylor Arlington won the grand prize of the year. It's easily the most prolific position in the Playboy world, and it immediately ignited mixed reactions in the community. I put Tess as my #3 girl in a pretty weak class - in any other year, I'm not sure if she'd even crack my top 5. However, Tess showed some amazing promise, with a great posing style and an agressive, sexual look.

The huge caveat, though, is Tess' tattoos. Much discussion has been thrown around about them, and if you look at her new CGOY pictorials, she's gotten a couple new celebratory tats, right along her arms. Without the body art, could Tess be broadly accepted as a unanimous winner, but because of her incessant lack of taste, it definitely has cut into her fan base.

As I've said, Tess is extremely talented and cute, and has a very nice body... but Cyber Girl of the Year?? Not even close. Tess' inked up skin is a disaster, and brings down the standard of holding such a high position. Indeed, this is a title that has had some amazing girls, like Amy Sue Cooper, Monica Leigh, and Jo Garcia, some of the best models in Playboy's history.

Now, to be fair, I'll stand back and assess Tess over the year. She has many chances to show that she deserves the title. If you remember, last year I adamantly wrote off the selection of Sharae Spears as CGOY. Although Sharae had an inconsistent showing throughout the year, she was awesomely talented in many of her photo sets, with an extraordinary physique and a load of talent. Do I still think other candidates would have done better? Definitely. But she certainly proved her might.

Will Tess prove me wrong, as Sharae did? I have full faith that she will. Although Jamie Graham would have been the dream girl for the job, Tess will listen to her detractors and turn in some very memorable performances.

Speaking of Sharae, where does she rank in my ranking of the
best Cyber Girls ever? Take a look...

#1. Amy Sue Cooper ('05)
#2. Monica Leigh ('06)
#3. Jo Garcia ('08)
#4. Merritt Cabal ('03)
#5. Sharae Spears ('09)
#6. Erika Michelle Barre ('02)
#7. Alicia Burley ('04)
#8. Breann McGregor ('07)

Monday, April 19, 2010

PMOY: Unveiled (almost)

Playboy's latest teaser has the fans going wild about speculation of who is behind the mysterious teaser photo of Playmate of the Year 2010. The full photo, featured here, is quite revealing for a teaser. You can clearly make out her hair color, body type, and features on her hands, arms, and hips.

From the twelve options for the year, fans have easily narrowed it down to two candidates: Hope Dworaczyk and Crystal McCahill. Most, however, agree that Crystal has virtually no shot at PMOY, and I would have to agree. Even though Hope was lower on my rankings, I would still have to say that she has a much better inside shot at the title than Crystal. Plus, the body on the photo is almost 100% clearly Hope's, with a long, slender torso and flatly tapered, almost conical breasts (which Crystal does not have, as hers fold at the bottom a lot more).

So, what does this mean to me? Let's say that Hope Dworaczyk is our 2010 Playmate of the Year...

Many are still holding out hope (pun intended) by saying the photo is unclear and could indicate another girl. However, the picture is obviously of Hope. I put her at #8 in my rankings out of the 12 (well, more like 11) girls. That's very low, but she still got a solid B rating from me. Given how deep the class was, I even mentioned that Hope still had a good chance at PMOY, given her large fan following and impressive ratings elsewhere. My problem with her was, and is, that she did not perform very well in her pictorials. This is something I stand by all the time: PlayboyCritic is not a site to grade models on "potential," but on results! A girl's pictorial is as important as her good looks, and although Hope has a beautiful physique and a nice bit of talent, she just did not show enough in her PMOM pictorial to truly prove anything.

Not that she isn't a great model, but there were SO many amazing girls this year. It would be a damn shame if my top 4 did not get a second chance at an Xtra or something. How could Kelley, Dasha, Kimberly, and Jessica all be looked over like this? It is quite an upset in my eyes, as all of these girls were solid contenders with A-grade bodies and talent. If Hope is to win this and show that she truly earned it, she'll have to put on a flawless performance in her PMOY pictorials.

Let's hope that's the case.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One For The Ages

We've seen great Playmates come and go in the past. Through the late 1990's through the early 2000's, we had some of the greatest girls ever to appear in Playboy appear, and they did a magnificent job. Year after year, girls like Shannon Stewart and Karen McDougal graced the pages, and these were girls in a class all by themselves. They were the embodiment of perfection in the art of nude photography, and in recent years, Playboy has lost this ability to produce consistently classic models.

Especially in the past 2-3 years, the American version of Playboy has been seriously lacking in impact models. Sure, there have been some solid classes, like the 2009 group that was great from top to bottom, but there were still no true stars that would endure the test of time... until this month.

To get straight to the point, Miss April 2010 is Amy Leigh Andrews, who climbed up the Playboy ranks with relative ease, given what she brings to the table. Amy got her humble beginnings as Coed of the Week in August of 2008. Even back then, you could see that this girl had some future star quality, but it's still tough to tell that she could be so good. After a stint as Coed of the Month, she graduated to Playmatehood, where she debuted this month.

Amy Leigh is a great model - there are no two ways about it. She executes every photo to
perfection, using stellar technique and always looking bright and radiant. She has the perfect Springtime look that makes her a great sight to see at this time of year, and her pictorials fit her personality beautifully. Amy always keeps the audience engaged with her active, dynamic posing style, which exudes professionalism like no other girl we've seen in quite some time.

I could go on forever just talking about Amy's posing prowess, but let's take a real look at her pictorial. Amy leads by showing off a few clothed pics, with this one setting the stage for Amy's schtick: she's a down-home, hard-partying college girl. The thing is, though, that her range is extraordinary, and she doesn't just resort to being the bubbly blonde all the time. This majestic photo kicks things off, with her face taking on a totally different look. Indeed, one of the strange things you'll notice about Amy's photos is that her face looks dramatically different in many of them, which is an unusual effect. This photo has a subtle, summery charm that is amazing and very appropriate. After she pulls off the covers, her body is exposed: a voluptuous, natural marvel.

So now, let's get to the coup de grace of it all... her body. Amy Leigh has one of the drop-dead sexiest bodies of any Playmate in quite some time. The next stage of her pictorial concentrates on her small frame and considerable curviness, like in this surprising shot. With her preview pictorial, I didn't notice how rotund and curvy her butt was, but it's definitely worth noting. Her smallish 5'2" frame does wonders to accentuate her twisting, winding figure. But through it all, the main improvement that Amy has made to her physique is her toning. Since her Coed of the Month/Week pictorials, Amy has seemingly slimmed down a large amount. You can see this in her photos, where although she has plenty of body to look at, her waistline is chiseled and spectacular. Her hard, washboard abs seemingly wrap her body in an hourglass form that tantalizingly brings the whole package together.

When Amy gets inside the bedroom, you can tell just how slim she is, albeit her size and curves. Her body is the epitome of perfection in the 21st century, with every little line and detail coming together with that gorgeous face of hers. And speaking of that face, it really comes across beautifully in these photos. She has an effect where she has a set of "smoky" eyes, which are cute and squinty. They are mysterious and attractive, and really put it all together. And when you combine that gorgeous face with those thick, gorgeous thighs, you have quite a sight to see.

The grand finale of Amy's extensive pictorial lies in her amazingly lit bedroom shots. First, she lays flat, exposing her full curvature. Then, she lays flat and flashes that incredible look of hers, but in this perspective, you get a whole different view of the way her thighs mesh with that amazing ass of hers. To finish it all off in dramatic fashion, she gets up and kneels, with a dark, artistic shot of her lower body contrasting with a bright, engaging smile with those pearly whites.
  • Facial: A Amy's face is extremely unique, and it's what sets her apart from other models of her type. Her smoky, mysterious eyes are very interesting and engaging, while her face itself always looks new and refreshing in every pictorial.
  • Body: A+ Miss Andrews has an impeccable build, with outstanding proportions, and a thinner waistline that comes across amazingly in photographs. Her slim, sleek abs beautifully complement a wonderful set of thighs that feed into a voluptuous, small frame.
  • Talent: A+ Amy has an innate knack for the camera, offering a variety of refreshing poses. She is very dynamic in her photos (while not so much in her video sets), striking a vast array of poses in a limited number of photos.
  • Pictorial: A Her photos followed a consistent theme, which took a bright, colorful approach given her Miss April status. Still, the pictorial picked up a more mature tone at times, which was fitting, since Amy does not always look her college-aged self, given the goods.
  • Centerfold: A- Amy's centerfold is clean-cut and easy on the eyes, with bright colors and tones. It does a good job showing off her body, and allows her to exude a mature confidence.
  • Overall: A+ I have gushed on and on in this post about Amy Andrews, and here is how I back it up. Amy is the first model to garner an A+ rating since Jo Garcia did back in 2007, and my 2nd A+ rating ever since starting this blog. On the right side of my blog, you'll notice my all-time A+ ratings, which constitute my "hall of fame." As you can see, no Playmate has received an A+ rating since Raquel Gibson in 2005. Amy is truly the best Playmate we have seen in years. She has outstanding talent and a congenial, accessible look that can draw in audiences with just a glance. Her physical stature is magnificent, with the effort she has put into improving her body being immediately visible. This is, in short, a wildly talented, once in a long time girl who positively shines in every photo.
It's taken quite long since my last A+ model. If you look at my list to the right, the last time we had a year without an A+ PlayboyCritic rating was 1996. Since Jo Garcia in '07, there have been no girls as talented and worthy of the title as Amy is. This year, we truly have a shoo-in for Playmate of the Year who would be unbelievably hard to top, unless we have yet another picture-perfect Playmate that busts on to the scene. Until then, enjoy the beauty that is Amy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 Cyber Girl of the Year Candidates

As we close in on April, the announcement of this year's Cyber Girl of the Year is imminent. The most prolific and perhaps most important position in the Playboy world, their fans all know that the CGOY has a chance to display her talents for a full year. That means, she'd better be good! This year, however, the field of Cyber Girls is extremely top-heavy. There is some great talent in the top 3 or 4, but there is a major dropoff after that. Anyone outside the top would be a very unfortunate choice. Let's take a look...

#12 Rebecca Lynn (January)
How She Got Here: Rebecca beat out Stephanie Strong, one of the best Cyber Girl of the Week candidates of 2009. That's saying something about how bad the voters screwed up. Stephanie would easily have been a CGOY contender, but sadly, she didn't get the chance.
The Good: Not a whole lot to say about Rebecca... but she does have a bit of variety in her poses.
The Bad: She doesn't have even a shred of talent in her pictorials. Her body is disproportionate, her photos are washed out, and her costumes are atrocious. You can fault Playboy all you want for their terrible production quality, but the bottom line is that Rebecca is just not very attractive.

#11 Jessa Lynn (October)
How She Got Here: Jessa beat out two great candidates: Heather Hughes and Anna Lynn. Heather was particularly clean-cut and beautiful, but Jessa's CGOW pictorial was deceivingly alluring.
The Good: Jessa's got a very interesting face, and her platinum locks make her an interesting girl to watch. She has a presence that may catch the audience's attention.
The Bad: Jessa simply is another repeat of the other "Lynn" on our list. Her interesting face is counterbalanced by a bawdy, gaudy look, with big hair and a full-on style that is anything but subtle. Her posing style is nothing but old and tiring, and we've seen this sort of Cyber Girl time and time again.

#10 Victoria Ivanova (December)
How She Got Here: Victoria certainly had the best performance of all of the August CGOW's, with a cute and polished pictorial. There's no mystery there, though Summer Lena was an intriguing number two.
The Good: Victoria certainly has a very intriguing look. She has an Eastern European look that sets her apart, and her posing style is both sensual and dynamic, with the producers doing a good job of showing off her versatility.
The Bad: Yes, it's true... Victoria's horrific boob job has dropped her from a potential top 5 all the way down to number 10. That's how bad it is. They look like large balloons hanging from her chest, and are a huge distraction on an otherwise pretty girl. It's a huge shame, since Victoria has ample talent, but that physical caveat truly hinders her position.

#9 Netty Maj (August)
How She Got Here: Netty was part of a very weak group of CGOW's back in April. None of the others are even worth mentioning, since Netty's pictorial was very sexy, unique, and spot-on.
The Good: The way Netty got here is through her main strength, and she displayed it in even more detail during August: she took on an all-natural, flowing style. Netty was always mesmerizing, and definitely the toughest girl to figure out... perhaps the most enigmatic model of all 2009. Netty's unique posing style is very passive, but deep and interesting. She's raw, doesn't wear a lot of makeup, and does everything very naturally.
The Bad: Perhaps Netty's strong points are her biggest problems, as well. While she is intriguing in her au natural look, she also lacks a whole lot of "pop" in the process. Netty's shy, reticent style puts her on a different stage from the other contenders, and puts her at a low profile. She's a bit less accessible than the others, but that's what makes her interesting. Still, she's not downright pretty enough to stand by passively.

#8 Jennifer Lewis (February)
How She Got Here: Jennifer's CGOW pictorial was gorgeous and mature, with Playmate-esque poise. She faced up against a strange and unique group, including Jane Taylor and Jennifer Kohut, who generally didn't have much of a chance.
The Good: Jennifer's look is very girl-next-door and outrageously stripped down. She is the ultimate "everygirl," with minimal makeup and no signs of enhancement. Her easy going style is also very endearing, and her overall friendliness makes her the "Miss Congeniality" of the 2009 class.
The Bad: What keeps Jennifer from being truly great, and in the top half of the 2009 class, is that she is woefully unpolished. The production team did absolutely nothing to help her out here... all of Jennifer's flaws are there for the public to see. This is a problem with many girls who make the transition to CGOM: they just don't have the natural looks to punch through the production quality of their CGOW pictorials. Jennifer suffers from this dearly, as she looks pale and disproportionate.

#7 Lauren D'Marie (March)
How She Got Here: Lauren had what was possibly the best CGOW pictorial of 2008. That's saying quite a bit, considering the competition. She was absolutely immaculate, and wholly engaging; Lauren was destined to become one of the great African American models in Playboy history, in my eyes.
The Good: Lauren has a perfect balance of natural beauty that really makes her worth looking into. Her face is beautiful - with a pouty stare or a wry smile, she delivers a very unique look. The production quality of her pictorials is also great, as they put her in perfect situations to perform at her very best. Her body proportions can't be argued against, as they complement her style wonderfully.
The Bad: I have a major question for the Playboy producers here: what happened?!? Lauren was a lock to be a major contender for Cyber Girl of the Year, as soon as I saw her CGOW pictorial. It was amazing to watch her soft features clash with color and style. In her CGOM pictorial, Lauren was reduced to a completely mediocre entrant. Her posing was boring and long-winded. Her hair was curled and frizzy, completely ruining the look that accentuated her legginess and height. The pictorials were overly dark and uncharacterized. What... happened?? Lauren turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments of 2009.

#6 Carlie Christine (May)
How She Got Here: Carlie had another one of the best CGOW pictorials we saw in 2009. She was truly a bright spectacle that completely outshone her competitive opponents, Krystie Lena and Danielle Fornarelli. They had no chance against Carlie's bright eyes, though.
The Good: Carlie makes it to the top half of my ranking by simply being a beautiful girl. Her body is voluptuous and stacked proportionally, her face is gorgeous, and her eyes continue to twinkle as they did in her CGOW pictures. She continued to have a refined, stately look that gave her a clean but sensual feel. Her pictorials have some good costuming, and do a good job with matching her passive intensity.
The Bad: It seemed that Carlie lost a huge amount of her luster when she transitioned to the CGOM role. As with almost any of the other ladies, such as Lauren D'Marie, a lot of production quality is lost in the transition to the monthly crown, which exposes flaws and forces girls to tough it out with raw talent. Carlie is a beautiful girl with a great body, but that twinkle in her eyes just isn't the same at this stage. Her intriguing look is roughed up a bit, and you tend to see the flaws in her pale skin and inconsistent posing. Definitely not a CGOY-caliber performance.

#5 Cassie Keller (June)
How She Got Here: Cassie had an admirable debut pictorial in January of '09, but I felt that her selection was a pretty sizable upset over Chase Medley, who had a very wholesome and cute look. Cassie's pictorial held its own, though, with some bright colors and solid posing.
The Good: Cassie's strengths are not immediately apparent. Her style and appearance take some getting used to, but ultimately her greatest qualities are in her height and her posing. Even her great posing abilities do not come across that well in her pictorials, but as a Cyber Girl, videos are fair game, so you would be obliged to check them out. Cassie's video performances are easily some of the best of 2009, and she truly shines because of her congenial personality and her outstanding size. Her sinewy, leggy body is amazing to watch in motion, as she contorts and moves herself in ways that would boggle your mind. Not to mention, she's quite a sight to behold.
The Bad: The main problem with Cassie is what can keep her from being immediately attractive to all viewers: her posing ability and performance don't translate that well to her pictorials. In fact, most of her photos are poorly produced, with a complete lack of quality lighting or proper photography. Cassie is often made-up wrong, and has unflattering poses taken of her. However, if you haven't been able to give her a good look, skip the pictorials and check out her videos, as she definitely shines when she's in motion.

#4 Kaytee Bees (April)
How She Got Here: December 2008 was where it came time to select the "Cyber Girl 100" winner, who would become the 100th CGOM to be selected all-time. Kaytee shone in her pictorial, with a soft, exotic look that truly stole the show. She was understated in her looks, beating out the competition, with contrasting styles of the other candidates being shut out.
The Good: Though not as wholesome as she was in her CGOW days, Kaytee put on quite a show due to her posing prowess. Her flash and pomp throughout is hard to match, and she deals out dynamic poses and juicy sexual positions in every photo. Kaytee is very true to her style, and that style is one of unrelenting sensuality. She isn't very subtle with her actions, and delivers sizzling hotness with every picture. Having a body like hers also helps -- she's very voluptuous and buxom, with colossal breasts and a curvy body that brings the point across.
The Bad: Kaytee's got the style and body that fit what she's trying to bring to the table, and there's no doubting that. However, she ends up being very one-dimensional for the same reasons. In her CGOW pictorial, she had a good mix of everything, and came across as a wholesome girl-next-door who could "flip a switch" and turn into a sexual goddess in a flash. However, she loses that multidimensionality with her monthly debut, cutting out any sense of intrigue. Kaytee looks far too artificial, always made-up and overly enhanced. Her breasts look larger, and although they might not actually be, they are overstressed in her pictorial, and her body takes more precedence over her own skills.

#3 Tess Taylor Arlington (November)
How She Got Here: Tess beat out some pretty strong candidates with some pretty weak material. Brook Ericson seems like she had a chance, but Tess's performance was far more nuanced and mysterious, and was by far the most intriguing CGOW pictorial of the month.
The Good: Tess Arlington is, without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the 2009 Cyber Girl class. Not only is she a scrappy 20-year-old with a very unique face and personality, but she is outstandingly talented. She knows how to wear a sexy smirk in just the right way, just enough to tickle your curiosity and please the audience. She poses with unbelievable confidence, and carries herself with great professionalism. It almost feels like she's been doing this forever, and it just feels very natural. All in all, her pictorials are done beautifully, too. The producers capture her skin tone and style in a great way. Tess has a great balance of sexual passion as well as innocence, and is a great girl-next-door persona when she wants to be. Above it all, she has a chiseled, awesome body... probably one of the top 3 in the class. The style, the poise, the beauty... It's hard to express just how amazing Tess is.
The Bad: It is very unfortunate to say it, but Tess would be easily the #1 or 2 girl of the year if not for one fatal flaw: her tattoos. Normally, I can ignore some body art as long as it doesn't get in the way of most photos, but Tess has huge tapestries carved across her picturesque body. How she can mar such amazing skin is beyond me, and really brings her down to #3, in my eyes. If she didn't mess with perfection, Tess could catch the attention of many more fans, and could have gone down as one of the best Cyber Girls in history.

#2 Hillary Fisher (September)
How She Got Here: It was a simple path for Hillary - she started out in Playboy's "Girls of Hooters" feature, after which she became CGOW back in last May. There, she was an immediate hit, providing what was easily the best Cyber Girl of the Week pictorial of 2009. In doing so, she blew out her competition as a major fan favorite - the other girls aren't even worth mentioning here. Hillary's CGOW pictorial was extraordinary, and hit every good angle of her luscious body.
The Good: It's simple: Hillary Fisher is the epitome of sexy. She is probably the most outrightly photogenic model of all the CGOM's in the 2009 class, with a beautiful face and an equally busty body. Her slim stature and respectable proportions complement her incredibly tough, hard body. While not the best body of 2009, Hillary's certainly stacked far up there. What makes her my #2, however, is not her physique, but more in her overall friendliness in photographs. When Hillary hits a sexy pose, she does it with passion and a charming accessibility that gives her a massive fan following. On top of all that, she is very overtly sexual, but in a playful way. She could be your girl next door, but you can also picture her being outright raunchy when she feels it, and she does a great job of conveying attitude in her pictorial.
The Bad: Hillary could easily have been the best model, far and away, of the year. The caveat that kept her from reaching the summit was, without a doubt, her poor CGOM performance. If you add it all up, she has a perfect face, an amazing body, and a photogenic quality that makes her timeless. However, her CGOW pictorial was far and away her best work. Her CGOM series was an utter disappointment. The production quality vastly suffered, and besides her final pictorial series (May 18th), she didn't offer much in the way of quality photos. In fact, she has a hard time being consistent in these photos, and oftentimes looks uptight and misses her poses. It's actually incredible that I could rank her so high, but that is just a testament to how gorgeous she is, inherently. Without those striking good looks, she would have been a disaster, given what she had to work with. This amazing girl deserves a shot at CGOY, to showcase what she can really do with lots of time.

#1 Jamie Graham (July)
How She Got Here: Jamie created loads of fan buzz when she appeared in a spread for last year's "Girls of the Big 10" college issue, where she showed off her serious body for all to see. She then took a feature as CGOW, where her legend grew through a series of playful, college-themed shots that easily blew past the weak competition. Still now, Jamie carries this close following as she heads into the CGOY race.
The Good: There is only one place to start when you talk about just how hot Jamie Graham is: she has a fantastic body. There are no two ways about it, Jamie has what is probably the best body of any Playboy model of 2009. That's a tall order, but just take one look at her picture-perfect physique, and you should agree that it's better than perfect. Her breasts are taut, her back is curvy, and her butt is absolutely perfect. Her whole body, from head to toe (and yes, including those amazing legs) is absolutely toned, muscular, and the ultimate picture of femininity. Ok, all of this gushing aside, Jamie isn't just a (hot) piece of meat. She is also an impeccable poser, with an amazing attention to detail and a great sense for the camera and environment. She has a very general, girl-next-door demeanor, yet unleashes a tide of sexual energy in every photo, making her a very enigmatic model, and one that always stays interesting. Jamie is truly the strongest candidate for Cyber Girl of the Year, given her cult-like following and near perfect execution of nude modeling. She is absolutely the most promising Cyber Girl since Jo Garcia, and that's saying quite a bit.
The Bad: It's tough to pinpoint flaws in Jamie, but to be straightforward, her looks are not for everyone. Sometimes, her face may be her ultimate flaw, as she is uneasy with her smiles, and looks different from separate angles. Her hair can also look too conservative at times, and she can sometimes use a rougher look to complement her physical beauty. Still, Jamie's got the most momentum in the CGOY race, and should be formidable. Wouldn't it be amazing to see 12 months of that body?