Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Winds of Change

Here we are, in the post-Cyber Club era, and I've got plenty of mixed opinions about it. The uproar over the creation of the new Playboy Plus platform has a lot of fans perturbed, but there is good and bad here. Sure, there are many kinks to work out, and the lack of a message board system is a real downer. But on the brighter side, we do seem to have an influx of very beautiful and talented models now in 2012.

Amazing girls like Jessica Workman, Sophia Alexandria, and Amber Sym seem to be the norm in the new Plus platform. Namely, a bigger diversity of women with higher quality pictorials, more physical posing, and less cheesy production value. It all makes for some great entertainment.

Lisa, Miss March 2012
Now, shift back to the non-cyber world of Playboy, and we've still got some Playmates rolling into the 2012 class - each with issues of her own. For example, we had Lisa Seiffert as Miss March, who arguably is one of the most under-produced and under-marketed Playmate we've had in years. Lisa seems like an afterthought of a Playmate; a sort of 'transition period' woman who just entered the scene to fill the gaps.

Lisa is a mystery, in that it's a mystery that she ever became Playmate at all. At a towering 5'11", she is the tallest Playmate since 1999's Natalia Sokolova, and certainly looks it in her photos. And although she's certainly not an unattractive woman, she's certainly got flaws in all respects. For starters, her face can't carry a photo at all, with thick, bushy eyebrows and squinty, shallow eyes. Her tall frame sort of makes up for her physical shortcomings, as it is definitely a sight to see her full length on display, albeit her lack of assets in any other respect. Her slim profile is certainly on the "too slim" side, with an unseemly gap between her thighs and a lack of any breasts at all. This model was definitely not  chosen for her physical attributes, to be blunt.

Then we get to the worst part of all - Lisa's pictorial. It is extremely over-processed, leaving little tangible quality to the imagination. The whole thing plays out like a swimsuit catalog, making an absolute mockery of the  Playmate title, and landing Lisa in a difficult position. This is not a model devoid of any talent, but she certainly is given zero chance to flourish.
  • Face: B-
    Lisa's face is plagued with obvious flaws, from her thick eyebrows to her lack of any sparkle or star quality to her facial structure. She doesn't come off subtly, instead looking hard and angular in all her photographs. It really is downright unattractive at times, but can show flashes of brilliance if her eyes are allowed to breathe.
  • Body: B
    Lisa certainly is not a physical heavyweight, by both literal and figurative senses of the word. Her slim and extremely tall frame, the tallest in more than 13 years, make for some interesting pictures, but then again this is sorely underutilized in her photos. She could have used some more prone shots showing her elongation, but instead we are left pondering her lack of an hourglass figure, which is definitely not her M.O. Still, something can be said for her spunkiness.
  • Talent: B
    While Lisa may be a firecracker ready to burst, we are left wondering what more she could give. With a dismal pictorial, that's all we can do. Lisa poses in the right ways and smiles in the right places, but as we ask more of Playmates, we are left wanting much more.
  • Pictorial: C
    Obviously Lisa's biggest flaw, this might be one of the worst in quite some time. It's not really the execution, which Miss Seiffert seems more than capable of, but instead the concept and layout, which seem over-processed and akin to a fashion magazine. We need more touch, and more tangibility to our pictorials nowadays, and Lisa's unfortunately misses out.
  • Centerfold: B
    Not much can be said about this shot - it's overdone and overproduced, which is silly considering the lack of production value in the pictorial.
  • Overall: B-
    After starting off somewhat promisingly with Knox and Bell, Playboy hit a wall with Lisa Seiffert. Surely it was because the magazine felt rushed for some reason, because that's the best word to describe Lisa's Playmate appearance - rushed. There are no subtleties here, just a collection of professional headshots waiting to be sent out. No sexual tension, no artistic direction, and certainly not a model hot enough to carry a terrible pictorial. In the end, Lisa should fall to the bottom of the pack of the 2012 class, and we'll look forward to better things.
Raquel, Miss April 2012
To kick off the Spring Playmate season, we find Raquel Pomplun making her debut as Miss April. This was a model I found immediately exciting once I heard the announcement that she would appear in the magazine. She is initially a gorgeous, tall model with a nuanced face and plenty of intriguing features to make her something of a mysterious entry.

As we see her photo spread, we find that this is both true and untrue. Indeed, Raquel is a great addition as Playmate, and her candidacy is well-deserved. She can take a great photo, not being bashful and laying it all out tastefully and with grace.

Beginning with her centerfold, you'll notice that Raquel has chestnut skin and a lovely glow that permeates her photos. It's probably her most intriguing physical attribute, since there's not too much else to be truly astounded by. She has a great passive posing skill, but lacks in experience and physical posing, where she doesn't quite have an identity to her look.

This is truly the issue with Raquel - it's hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of model she is. Her angelic face can mystify with an intense stare at times, when otherwise her face never really turns the corner and looks spot-on stunning. She has the potential to take it to the next level with her looks, but often blunders by being off the mark with her posing, which makes the photo fall apart. 

These inconsistencies might be easily passed over if Raquel was truly physically gifted, but she falls short here as well. Raquel's body isn't built particularly photo-friendly, with some boney, angular segments that are often set awkwardly in her spread. She never truly looks comfortable with whatever curves she does have, posing as if she is desperately trying to arc herself and accentuate her small breasts. Her body lacks balance, and although she is not that slim, she comes off as even more so, and this hurts her in many ways.
  • Face: B+
    This would have been Raquel's saving grace, but inconsistencies abound. She can sometimes put on an intense stare that is the focal point of the pictorial, with penetrating eyes and a seriously sexy stare that can put other models to shame. At other times, she doesn't get the right angles out of her face, and it alone can't carry her past her shortcomings.
  • Body: B-
    Perhaps it's the photography, or the lighting, but Raquel's body perhaps never gets the fair shake that she deserves. She's got decent height and is definitely not flat-chested, but just looks downright awkward most of the time. Her body sometimes seems like a detriment, especially when put against the backdrop of a great looking face. This is too bad, since it seems to be the posing that really got in the way here.
  • Talent: B
    Although she hits some great moments (like in her centerfold) where she really nails a pose, it ultimately seems like an exercise in randomness for Raquel. She never hits her stride, and it forces photographers to depict her body awkwardly, among other things. Ultimately, Raquel could use some real posing experience, and the Playmate stage was squandered here.
  • Pictorial: B
    While it was a good fit for a model like Raquel, with good costuming and setup, it fell flat due to the lack of execution. Raquel's lack of talent wasn't helped by poor lighting and a confusion about what to do with her flawed body. While the colors and quality are radiant, they can't make up for a poorly planned spread.
  • Centerfold: A-
    One of the few bright spots in her photo collection, Miss Pomplun's centerfold was stellar. There wasn't anything fancy about it, but the prone position was a Playboy centerfold staple, showing off a gentle tapering of the hips with great costuming and lighting.
  • Overall: B
    Raquel is certainly a disappointment, and the biggest of the year so far for me. She really had potential, and the pictorial didn't do anything but showcase all of her flaws. Even her otherwise gorgeous face was obscured by some odd posing choices and a lack of execution. Blame it on the model or the producers, but something wasn't done right here. An otherwise stellar woman was shot down by a shoddy pictorial once again, and that should land Raquel somewhere in the middle of the pack for the Playmate of the Year race.

As we look forward to the next two months, we can see some intriguing prospects. Playboy Plus has done a good job of providing increased quality in the content delivered, and it will only continue. Nikki Leigh is a seemingly good candidate for Playmate, what with her free-flowing posing style and casual demeanor. A nice bit of polish could be quite interesting with her. June's Amelia Talon should round out the first half of the class quite nicely. Her more exotic looks as a darker brunette could hold the key for turning this group around and towards greatness. Still, Leola Bell remains the one to beat.

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