Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PBC Hall of Fame - Angela Dorian (1967)

As my fans know, all Playboy models who garner an A+ rating from me are on the right-hand side of this blog, featured in my Hall of Fame. To honor these ladies in retrospect, I'm doing a review of each one, using my usual 5-category letter rating system. Enjoy!

In the early second decade of the Playmate era, back when women took on a whole different look from the girls we see today, the times truly reflected the display of the female body in art and print. The early 1960's featured Playmates who were shorter, with girls of 5' 5" and shorter being the norm, with a less balanced body type than we saw throughout the 80's to the present. Women had a thicker upper body, with generally larger breasts and smaller hips.

One girl that truly rocked the blueprint for the 1960's archetype was Miss September 1967 and 1968 Playmate of the Year, Angela Dorian. Angela was a true shoo-in for being the year's overall winner, facing minimal competition from the likes of Lynn Winchell and Kim Farber. It was not a particularly strong era in Playboy history, with a sea of very pretty faces masking the fact that there wasn't very much talent to go around.

Angela broke the mold, in every sense of the word. First, figure that Angela's body was immaculate and unheard of at the time. Her bombastic proportions were truly unseen (36"-21"-35", a 0.6 waist-hip-ratio), especially among the body types of the time. Heck, a 0.6 ratio would put a fight into most of the ladies nowadays, with far wider hips and narrower waists in general.

It's hard to isolate Angela's sheer quality by just looking at her unusually toned and slim body - her overall look is mesmerizing. Angela's face is angular in all the right ways, being perfectly symmetrical and having a level of mystery that was lacking at the time. Her overall look and talent was undeniable, as she put on one of the best shows of the time.

  • Face: A+
    Angela's face was one of the most attractive of the entire 1960's, and that's saying something. The era was one of the best times for spectacular mugs, with Angela's uniqueness shining through. Her eyes are wonderfully interesting, with a perfectly shaped face and gorgeous, flowing hair.
  • Body: A
    Angela's body was unusually tight for the time - the typical 1960's body lacking a decent butt and such a shapely set of breasts. Angela brought a nuanced, curvaceous body with slim contours reminiscent of girls in the 70's and later. Her body was ahead of its time, which truly set her apart.
  • Talent: A+
    Angela's style is that of subtle talent. While never being a bombastic, over the top Playmate in following suit of the girls of her time, Angela also brought a level of sophistication and sensibility in her posing, taking control of every photo. She looks otherworldly in some of them, becoming an instant star.
  • Pictorial: A
    Miss Dorian's superb pictorial truly set her apart from other ladies in 1967, en route to her PMOY win. The pictorial had great variety in posing and costuming, and while it lacked the true punch of Playmates of the current day, it was far beyond the passivity of the old days.
  • Centerfold: A
    Although not the best centerfold of 1967 (that honor goes to Fran Gerard, who had one of the greatest pics in history), Angela's would have otherwise shone through all the way. The outstanding shot of her laying in a hammock was exemplary of the high-quality centerfolds of the time. The dark lighting and great silhouette are mind-blowing.
  • Overall: A+
    Angela did not redefine the Playmate of the 1960's - she came in at the tail end and truly broke the monotony. She was ahead of her time by years, and perhaps a full decade. Angela's strengths lie in all aspects of her as a model, from her body to her posing style, which was never aggressive, but always just right for her persona. Her innate beauty was unmatched, and along with Cynthia Myers the next year, she carried the torch for outstanding 60's Playmates. Even today, Angela's pictorial is a breath of fresh air, choosing to go for art and style rather than outright, brash nudity.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Step Back

Beth, Miss August 2012
As far as 2012 has gone so far, coming off a great Playmate performance in Shelby Chesnes, we've seen the only "up" in a series of "downs" this year. Shelby was an excellent addition to a class that was otherwise limping along, infusing a young, fresh dose of talent into a bunch of girls that seemed without direction.

In our August Playmate, we have a very familiar face in Beth Williams. Beth debuted a little less than three years ago as a Cyber Girl of the Week, and throughout the years, her pictorial output has been well above average. Unlike Shelby and many of the other ladies we've seen this year, Beth is no stranger to the Playboy world. She's posed off and on, earning the CGOM title, and always had a fierce fanbase who vigorously backed a Playmate appearance. This year, their prayers have finally been answered, but to what effect is the question.

Indeed, Beth has always been an attractive model to me. While I never really bought into the hype with her, I thought she was a more than passable girl. Her height is a real strength, and her beauty lies in her subtleties. I thought her lovely dark hair was always one of her best features, always looking a bit frazzled and accessible. While she was quite talented, she never really showed to be the true, picturesque beauty that is demanded of a girl in the Playmate position. But then again, far less-deserving models have had that title.

Beth's transformation for her Miss August stint is, well, disappointing to say the least. Although I never have had high hopes for her, I thought that a model as seasoned at her could have turned out something more spectacular. Instead, we were shown a pictorial with a bit of pop and fizz here and there, but something that was generally pretty flat. Beth is a great model when the shot is just right, but there are too many flaws and changes here to really appreciate her for her potential.

One thing that really irked me was Beth's transition from shoulder-length black/brown hair to having long, thick, dirty blonde hair. It's something that I believe does not suit her well, and takes away from some of the magic that came with her being a natural, girl-next-door model that was the centerpiece of her appeal. While this may be a small change, it does quite a bit to influence her persona as a model, and seems like a waste of a perfectly good opportunity.

When all else is factored in, Beth does as well as she can with an abysmally boring pictorial. Her "country cowgirl" theme has been tried and beaten to death, but not executed particularly well here. Her brunette look might have complemented the softer colors far better here, as she seems to just fade into the background anonymously. Her body is, as it was before, photogenic and beautifully natural, but it's certainly not enough to carry her through.
  • Face: B
    With any semblance of accessibility Beth had as a brunette, she severely lost quite a bit in her transformation. Although she's the same decently talented model she was before, the focus now shifts to her face itself, while the hair was a distraction before. Miss Williams' face is not particularly photogenic in itself,  only at times looking balanced and entirely wholesome. Her squinty, forgettable eyes don't help, either.
  • Body: B+
    Quite simply, Beth's best attributes stem from her very slim and tall body. Although she doesn't have the volume and balance that Shelby had, Beth is just-right, having a great set of natural breasts and a sleek, clean look. Although it won't capture your attention with its curvature and lines, it looks great on camera.
  • Talent: B
    Beth is an otherwise highly talented model with a great vision for the camera, and should be with her extensive experience. However, she definitely doesn't hit it out of the park when it's counted most, as a Playmate. She never gets into the groove of things, always looking uniformly uninteresting in her photos, and only actively posing at times. For a woman with such demonstrated talents in moving her body, she oddly comes out cold.
  • Pictorial: C+
    While Beth's physical changes and lack of a convincing performance didn't help her case much, her drab pictorial certainly hurt it. The theme is ill-conceived, and lacks any semblance of trying to use the model's looks to the producers' advantage. Blame Playboy, and the photographers, but this isn't what a girl of Beth's hidden talent deserves.
  • Centerfold: B
    While it's a good shot choice overall, it fits into the boring mold of the rest of the pictorial, just looking like another blown-up photo. Certainly not her best picture.
  • Overall: B
    Beth Williams has done plenty for Playboy over the past few years, and I'm sure her numerous fans would disagree with me here, but this is not what we were looking for. When Playboy anointed Beth as a Playmate, this wasn't the way to go about it. She is a wonderful model, and had all the physical tools to put on a stellar performance. However, Beth is a finicky model, and with such subtlety and depth comes a responsibility for the editors to put her in the right environment. As was Shelby, Beth isn't a 'bombshell' who could just strut out and look like a sexual goddess - she needs to be tailored to look that way, through great production value, as we saw with Leola and Shelby this year. With this girl, they just never put in the effort to get it right, and it hurt the model most of all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Multiple Threat

Shelby, Miss July
As I've been saying month in and month out, we're starting to see a re-tread of the 2011 class in this year's crop of Playmates. We've seen some rather mediocre performances up until now, with six Playmates with no one really taking a stand as "the one to beat." While Leola Bell cemented herself as the frontrunner thus far with a stunning pictorial coupled with a voluptuous physique, it was still anyone's game.

But, there's always a turning point, and I predicted last month that we'd start to see the real contenders rise up as the year came to its second leg. First up was Miss July, the relatively unknown Shelby Chesnes. The bubbly 20-year old model was immediately flung onto our radar with the announcement that she would be a Playmate. The relative newcomer to the Playboy scene had a few sparing modeling shots online, which were enticing to say the very least. It seemed like we were getting a true "crossover" model, one with looks that were actually accessible, and made the leap from girl-next-door to bombshell Playmate seamlessly.

So, now that Shelby's shed those modeling clothes and gone nude, how does she stack up? Let's just say that the other ladies this year should be afraid. Very afraid.

Shelby represents what we've been missing from the Playmate of the Month position since Amanda Cerny brought it last year - the crossover. She is unbelievably wholesome, from first photo to last, but offers a multidimensional character that shines in every photo. All at once, she is charming and flirty, while turning on the heat and delivering a killer pose with her sharp but mystifyingly unassuming frame.

Shelby may be short and slim, but she's
a lengthy, curvy woman in her set. Very photogenic.
Let's start with the look. Shelby has it all together, exuding a precise confidence in all of her poses. She blends a sensuality with a friendly demeanor just by flashing a quick smile or flexing her cute cheekbones. Although she may not have the most angelic and memorable face, hers is one that is tantalizingly unidentifiable. You can't quite put your finger on her, and that's what makes her exciting - from photo to photo, you feel like you are looking at many different models. Miss Chesnes can be cute and understated in one instance, and then let her hair flow with reckless abandon in the next.

Shelby's posing talent stacks up with some of the best, and again it's due to her intensity and confidence. Her pictorial has her taking turns in the full gamut of lingerie, with slinky little things to kinky babydolls and barely-there thongs. She wears them all flawlessly, due to her slick, well-tuned body. While she might have to go toe-to-toe with Leola for best body for 2012 so far, Shelby has a vastly different body style than anyone we've seen for a while. With a short 5' 3" frame, she certainly doesn't look it. Shelby is anything but short on camera, with an excellent body proportion and a sinewy frame that makes her legs look long and lean. Shelby is unexpectedly curvaceous, with bubbly butt that pops when she wants it to, and a large, sexy set of breasts. If this isn't the complete package, it's tough to know who is.
  • Face: A-
    Shelby's face might not be an all-star standout quality of hers, and might be what keeps her from being hall of fame material, but it's still an outstanding attribute. She may look vastly different between different scenes, and it's all due to how she can morph from one character to another. Her face really complements her posing style, with understated features allowing her to ride the border between bombshell sex goddess and your everyday girl.
  • Body: A
    While it wasn't apparent at first how well built Shelby is, she's undeniably a thoroughbred in every possible way. A 5' 3" frame can't get in the way of her sleek, slim look, with every inch contributing to a perceived height much taller than she actually is. Add on top of that a gorgeous set of breasts and a perfectly rounded butt, and you have a body that is exemplary of the archetypical Playmate of the 2010's - exceedingly slim, but well-endowed and balanced.
  • Talent: A
    While it's easy to focus on Shelby's all around greatness, it might be easy to gloss over just how skilled a poser this model is. She exudes great professionalism, feeling her way through the pictorial with the utmost care. Although she has issues with facial expressions at times, she takes on a multitude of looks, and is a chameleon when it comes to varying her style and adapting to her outfits.
  • Pictorial: A+
    The dynamic, engrossing quality of Shelby's pictorial is sadly something that is sorely missed in today's Playmates. Shelby is a bit unassuming as a model, and that makes her perfectly suited for a number of looks. She doesn't wear just one hat, and is a master of several roles, which makes her pictorial a rollercoaster of a ride. She switches between outfits seamlessly, and revels in her nudity, squeezing everything out of every photo. Shelby has probably my favorite pictorial since Katie Vernola's perfect outing two years ago.
  • Centerfold: A-
    Although not in a prime position to showcase her great figure, and a bit hunched over, Shelby's centerfold is a great shot. Her legs look long and lean, again albeit her height, and her face looks gorgeous.
  • Overall: A
    Shelby is without a doubt the finest talent in a Playmate since Tiffany Toth in 2011. She offers a complete performance, going above and beyond to show off all of her posing skills, and every single aspect of a phenomenal body. With her diminutive size, she doesn't back down, and displays her toned build like a true expert. After showing off a peculiar ability to take on numerous looks and prove to be a true example of what a Playboy model should be in this day and age, Shelby should easily rank at the top of this year's Playmate class. She is the immediate frontrunner for Playmate of the Year 2013, and should be the one to beat from here on in.