Playboy girls of the Big Ten

Erica Magda

By Colleen Loggins

In a well-lit room off campus, Monday morning, an anxious group of blonde college coeds auditioned for a coveted spot in what is arguably the most well-known men’s magazine in the world, Playboy Magazine. The magazine is currently searching the Midwest for the “All-American college girl” who is interested in posing for the “Girls of the Big Ten” pictorial running in the May 2008 issue.

Sagan Leasure, sophomore in ACES, was one of the blondes auditioning for the issue. She said she did not know exactly why she wanted to audition, but felt that it was finally her time to do something wild. Leasure added that she was uncertain about the photo shoot, but when the shoot finished, she came out with a relieved smile on her face.

“It was really not that bad. I was really nervous, but he (the photographer) made me really comfortable,” Leasure said.

“However they’d feel comfortable in the magazine is the way I shoot them,” said David Rams, the Playboy audition photographer. “I’m not here to try to get someone to take their clothes off.”

Selina Reyes, senior in Communications, has done a photo shoot with Rams before for a Big Ten swimsuit calendar. She said she was eager to audition for Playboy.

“I’ve always loved Playboy, personally,” Reyes said.

Reyes added that she loved looking at the magazines when she was growing up, and that the women in Playboy have been some of the most beautiful she has ever seen.

Although some girls might be nervous about their parents’ reaction, Reyes said she does not have to worry about confronting her own and said they support her decision to pose for Playboy, should she be chosen. Reyes said her boyfriend feels the same way and she is glad that he does.

“Even if he didn’t support me, I would follow my heart,” Reyes said.

Along with Reyes, McKenzie Closen, a 2005 alumna of the University, had a lot of support from her friends and family when she posed nude for Playboy. She was in the October 2003 issue of the magazine as one of the “Girls of the Big Ten” and said her parents insisted on showing their friends the issue. The cute blonde’s pictorial consisted of being strapped into a parachute at Frasca International in Urbana, wearing nothing but dog tags and boots. Frasca International manufactures flight training equipment.

Closen said that the photo shoot was one of the best things she has ever done and her life has not been the same since.

“Still to this day when people find out I was in Playboy, especially guys, the way that they act around you completely changes,” Closen said. “Not many people can say they’ve been in Playboy.”

Eden Orfanos, the producer of the photo shoot, said they see about 55-70 girls over the course of the two-day auditions and generally end up shooting three to five pictorials per school.

Rams said they are looking for girls who they think will work well with the magazine and they encourage a variety of girls to audition.

“For this shoot, the ideal candidate is the girl next door, freshly scrubbed, cute college girl,” Rams said.