It's not enough to make the cut to be a Playboy centerfold. Your nipples also have to be the right sort of pointy. Your butt has to have a "better curve." Enter Photoshop. Here, a rare view into the process.
It's "The Year Of The Rabbit" at Christie's, which has put up for auction an array of Playboy memorabilia. The most interesting are the copies of Playboy centerfolds from the 1990s and early 2000s that are marked up by editors and the art department — and subjected to a panel that grades them with a composite score.
Having made it this far, just about all of the centerfolds scored in the late 80s. But Lauren Hill, the Playmate of the month in February 2001 and seen here, got somewhat harsher commentary: "'OK but nothing special. There is nothing going on in the face + eyes." The scrawls on Hill's photo also found her nipples lacking and suggested her stomach be slimmed.
The nipples of Angel Lynn Boris, July Playmate of the Month in 1996, were also unacceptably pert, with a circle around her nipple appearing to lead to "soften."
The greatest offenses among actual female flesh: Pubic hair stubble, veins, and the model's actual faces, which were frequently marked with the demand to "soften." Stretch marks on breasts were also offensive, as Ulrica Ericsson, November Playmate of the month in 1996, would have learned by seeing hers called out.
So were nearly invisible stretchmarks on Brande Roderick's butt, which were circled with the annotation, "Kill stretch lines."
Did you know that breasts can be "too rough"? The Playmate of the month in October 1998 is proof. Also in this photo, our favorite command: "Better curve to butt."
It's not that post-production is always terrible — the models likely appreciated that the stray hairs and odd shadows were edited out. ("Kill single hair that touches cigar," is an example of this). But the message is clear: even after a genetic bounty, all-but-certain plastic surgery and dieting, good lighting, a pro-photographer, and dozens of shots, even the fantasy woman is not fantastic enough. Ironically, it's that mentality, and its cookie-cutter sexual sensibility, that's helped make Playboy irrelevant in the years since.
Here, a few more screengrabs, with comments that are only partially legible. (Bonus: A mostly uncriticized Kelly Wearstler). Did we miss any good ones? Let us know.
"Kill veins" sounds rather painful.
Melissa Holliday, you aren't dream girl material until those unsightly abdominal lines disappear.
Hey look, it's celebrity interior designer Kelly Wearstler, aka September Playmate of the Month, 1993.
Sorry, Shauna Sand, I'm too distracted by your large pores to look at your boobs.
Year Of The Rabbit [Christies]