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)