Playmates reveal what it was really like to live with Hugh: 9pm curfew, obliged to perform ‘sexual activities’

Hugh Hefner, the man behind the worldwide success of Playboy magazine, died on Thursday aged 91. During his time, the Playboy mansion saw a steady stream of young women enter...

Hugh Hefner, the man behind the worldwide success of Playboy magazine, died on Thursday aged 91.

During his time, the Playboy mansion saw a steady stream of young women enter and leave — for them; it wasn’t always glitz, glamour and progressiveness.

For the Playboy Bunnies, or Playmates, that lived there strict rules and a sense of inferiority were common around Hefner.

1. Sexual activities

Diply reports that that Bunnies would all have to perform «activities» in the bedroom, especially during their initiation into the household.

It was seen as a «test» to see if they were suitable enough to be one of Hefner’s girlfriends.

2. Clothing allowance

Playmates were given $1000 (£750) every Friday but they were only allowed to spend it on clothes and nothing else.

In her book Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion, Izabella St. James describes the process of receiving the money.

We had to go to Hef’s room, wait while he picked up all the dog poo off the carpet — and then ask for our allowance.

We all hated this process. Hef would always use the occasion to bring up anything he wasn’t happy about in the relationship.

Most of the complaints were about the lack of harmony among the girlfriends — or your lack of sexual participation in the ‘parties’ he held in his bedroom.

If we’d been out of town for any reason and missed one of the official ‘going out’ nights he wouldn’t want to give us the allowance. He used it as a weapon.

3. Not being allowed to speak

Whenever Hefner was being interviewed Playmates had to adhere to a strict code of silence and weren’t allowed to speak whatsoever.

4. They weren’t allowed to be drunk in photos or show the mansion in a bad light.

If you do something wrong, you’ll get an email. There’s a strict code of conduct. There are even rules about Instagram and Twitter.

You’ve got to show everything in a good light and if you’re drunk in a picture you’ll be in trouble.

5. Being the

Being Hefner’s main squeeze wasn’t as comfy a role as it would sound.

The main girlfriend would often have to do more work for the brand and had to sleep in the same bedroom as Hefner.

There were reportedly no further entitlement’s to this position, just an extra credit to their name.

6. There was a 9pm curfew

When there wasn’t a party happening the women had to observe a 9pm curfew and weren’t allowed any guests.


Carla Howe is quoted as saying:

When you’re here you have to be in by the 9pm curfew. You’re not allowed to invite any friends up to see you.

You’re definitely not allowed male visitors. If you break the rules you get banned. Once you’re out, you’re out, you can’t come back.

Hef’s wife Crystal went to do a DJ set miles away so she had to stay overnight. But she was still back by 2pm the next day.

7. No personal cars

​Only women who agreed to live with Hefner at the mansion could drive a car but even then the fancy vehicle was only on loan.

It wasn’t always like this as Carla Howe explains:

The Playmate of the Year used to get a Porsche,

Now she gets a Mini Cooper that she has to return after a year.

8. The mansion wasn’t that nice on the inside

While it looks like a grand house from the outside, the reality was anything but that once you went through the doors.

Izabella St. James describes the mansion as being «dirty» with unpleasant standards in the individual bedrooms.

Although we all did our best to decorate our rooms and make them homey, the mattresses on our beds were ­disgusting — old, worn and stained.

The sheets were past their best too.

The carpets were also said to be stained from dog poo, with lots of pornographic imagery dotted around the property.

9. All the girls had to have a specific aesthetic

According to former Bunny Holly Madison, Hefner liked a certain type of woman:

Hugh wanted white, white hair, with no pigment.

The Bunnies were also allowed to cosmetically improve themselves with no limits.

10. The mansion could feel like a prison

In her book Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, Holly Madison paints a bleak picture:

Everyone thinks that the infamous metal gate was meant to keep people out. But I grew to feel it was meant to lock me in.

Maybe it was the pot and the alcohol, but drowning myself seemed like the logical way to escape the ridiculous life I was leading.


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