AskDefine | Define playmate

Dictionary Definition

playmate n : a companion at play [syn: playfellow]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A companion for someone (especially a child) to play with.
  2. A female who has appeared in Playboy magazine.


companion for playing


Companion to play with
Woman who has appeared in Playboy magazine

Extensive Definition

For the word "playmate" in the common sense, see its definition in Wiktionary.
A Playmate is a female model featured in the centerfold/gatefold of Playboy magazine as Playmate of the Month (or PMOM). The PMOM's pictorial includes nude photographs and a centerfold poster, as well as a short biography and the "Playmate Data Sheet", which lists her birthdate, measurements, turn-ons, and turn-offs. At the end of the year, one of the twelve Playmates of the Month is named Playmate of the Year (PMOY). Playmates of the Month are paid $25,000 USD and the Playmate of the Year receives an additional $100,000 USD plus a car and a motorcycle. In addition, Anniversary Playmates are usually chosen to celebrate a milestone year of the magazine. As of May 2008, 655 women have been Playmates of the Month.
Playboy encourages potential Playmates to send photos with "girl next door" appeal for consideration; others may submit photos of Playmate candidates, and are eligible for a $2,500 USD finder's fee if their model is selected. In addition, "casting calls" are held regularly in major U.S. cities to offer opportunities for women to test for Playboy. The Playboy photographers and Hugh Hefner then select which models become Playmates. The Playmate of the Year is chosen personally by Hugh Hefner, taking into account an annual readers' poll.
According to Playboy, there is no such thing as a former Playmate, “Once a Playmate, always a Playmate”.


Marilyn Monroe, who was featured in the first issue, was the only one to appear as "Sweetheart of the Month". The first model called a Playmate of the Month was Margie Harrison, Miss January 1954, in the second issue of Playboy. Generally a woman may only appear once as a Playmate, but in the early years of the magazine some models were featured multiple times. Marilyn Waltz (February 1954, April 1954, April 1955 — her first appearance was as Margaret Scott) and Janet Pilgrim (July 1955, December 1955, and October 1956) are tied for the most appearances. Margie Harrison (January 1954, June 1954) and Marguerite Empey (May 1955, February 1956) are the only other women to appear more than once as Playmates.
Under current law in most U.S. jurisdictions, publishing nude pictures of a model younger than 18 would be a felony. However, in the early years of the magazine, laws regarding corruption of a minor were less well established. Several playmates - including Nancy Crawford (April 1959), Donna Michelle (December 1963), Linda Moon (October 1966), Patti Reynolds (September 1965) and Teddi Smith (July 1960) - posed when they were seventeen. Gina Goldberg (May 1981) after emigrating from Finland lied about her age and said she was 21 when she was really still seventeen when she posed. Elizabeth Ann Roberts (January 1958) - whose pictorial was called "Schoolmate Playmate" - posed when she was sixteen. Hugh Hefner and Roberts' mother were arrested as a result but the case was subsequently dismissed because Roberts' mother had signed a statement that her daughter was eighteen before the photoshoot. In more recent years, Ursula Buchfellner posed for the German edition of Playboy when she was sixteen and subsequently posed for the American edition (October 1979) when she was eighteen. Dutch Playmate twins Karin and Mirjam van Breeschooten appeared at age seventeen in their country's edition of Playboy in June 1988, at eighteen they were Misses September 1989 in the US version. The youngest - i.e. last born - Playmate, as of October 2007 is Spencer Scott, born April 4 1989.
Although most Playmates appear around an average age of 22, there are some women who became Playmates in their 30's. Dolores Donlon (August 1957), Janis Schmitt (February 1978), Eloise Broady (April 1988), Gillian Bonner (April 1996) and Tiffany Fallon (December 2004 and PMOY 2005) had turned 30 just before their Playmatehood. Bettie Page (January 1955), Susie Owens (March 1988) and Arlene Baxter (December 1993) were 31. Miss May 1985 Kathy Shower was a Playmate at 32, and at 33 became the oldest PMOY so far. Cindy Brooks (April 1985) and Julianna Young (November 1993) were aged 33. Since January 2003 Rebecca Ramos is the oldest Playmate to date, appearing at the age of 35. Unfortunately some Playmates never even got to that age. Jayne Mansfield (34 - car accident), Linné Ahlstrand (30 - cancer), Paige Young (30 - overdose sleeping pills), Claudia Jennings (29 - car accident), Tonya Crews (28 - car accident), Elisa Bridges (28 - intoxication), Sue Williams (23 - suicide) and Willy Rey (23 - overdose sleeping pills) all died young. But Carol Willis (car accident) and Dorothy Stratten (murdered by her husband), who both died within a year and a half after their Playmate appearance, were only 20 years old.
In the 1950s it was generally agreed that nude photographs were not pornographic unless they showed pubic hair. Respectable photography was careful to come close to, but not cross over the "line of decency." With Playmates it was usually the case that the pubic area would be obscured by an item of clothing, a leg, or a piece of furniture. Eventually, after Playboy's rival magazine Penthouse had appeared (in 1965 in the UK), both magazines strove to show just a little bit more than the other, the so-called Pubic Wars. The first Playmate to show pubic hair on her centerfold, from a side angle, was Melodye Prentiss, Miss July 1968, some 15 years after the magazine's introduction. A few more glimpses of pubic hair appeared in some pictorials and centerfolds, but it wasn't until January 1971 when Liv Lindeland, after 18 years and 216 issues, showed clearly visible pubic hair in her pictorial, it generated a tremendous amount of media and popular attention. The first Playmate to clearly have the first full frontal nude centerfold was Miss January 1972, Marilyn Cole. They both went on to become Playmate of the Year.
As the trend of playmates showing pubic hair continued through the following decades, it gradually brought along a styling of the pubic hair. The mid 1970s still saw a lot of "1970's playboy" - natural and unstyled looks. During the latter half of the decade and the early 1980s it evolved into a more attended "bermuda triangle" and "brazilian" style, which remained well into the 1990s. First seen in the mid '80s and common in the next decade, was the "landing strip," a small vertical patch, which even today can often be seen. Numerous stylings came to show at the end of the 1990s and into the 21st century. Eventually, in September 2001, Dalene Kurtis became the first Playmate to appear without any pubic hair. Other trends, started in the 1990s and more common today, are the appearances of body piercing, such as navel piercing, and tattoos.

Playmate of the Year

In the early days of Playboy magazine there was no official prize for the most popular playmate at the end of each year. Although February 1954 Playmate Marilyn Waltz gained much popularity, as she received more fan mail than any other Playmate that year, she wasn't crowned PMOY. Neither was Joyce Nizzari, Miss December 1958, who in 1959 was named the "most popular" Playmate of 1958. Although December 1956 Playmate Lisa Winters was named Playmate of the Year, the PMOY competition was first won in 1960 by Miss December 1959, Ellen Stratton. Since 1960 there have been 49 Playmates of the Year, with 2008's PMOY Jayde Nicole being number 49 it means that one of the Playmates of 2008 will be PMOY number 50.
Traditionally, PMOYs are announced in May of each year at a media luncheon at the Playboy Mansion. Each year's Playmate of the Year appears on the cover of her PMOY issue - in which her PMOY pictorial is featured, usually the June, sometimes the May or July issue of the next year after her first appearance in the magazine. However, from 2003 to 2005, PMOYs did not appear on the covers of their PMOY issues, and 2007 PMOY Sara Jean Underwood did not either. Instead, celebrities appearing in celebrity pictorials in the PMOY issues have appeared on the covers.
The average age of a Playmate of the Year - 23 - is slightly higher than that of a Playmate of the Month. In 1964, at the age of 18, Donna Michelle became the youngest PMOY ever. Jo Collins (1965) and Christa Speck (1962) both were 19. Sharon Clark (1971) and Karen McDougal (1998) became PMOY at the age of 27. Only two women became PMOY in their 30s: Tiffany Fallon (2005) at 31, and Kathy Shower (1986) at 33.

Notable Playmates

Playmates who became known for more than their Playboy appearance(s) include (with the date of their appearance):

Anniversary Playmates

Playmate firsts

  • First Playmate to be chosen three times: Marilyn Waltz (Miss February 1954, April 1954, and April 1955 — her first appearance was as Margaret Scott)
  • First and only month in Playboy history to not have a Playmate - Miss March 1955 (no issue published)
  • First centerfold (two-page): Janet Pilgrim (Miss July 1955)
  • First fold-out centerfold (three-page): Marian Stafford (Miss March 1956)
  • First foreign-born Playmate: Elsa Sorensen (Miss September 1956) who was from Denmark
  • First Playmate twosome (two in the same month): Pat Sheehan and Mara Corday (Misses October 1958)
  • First Playmate to fill out a Playmate Data Sheet (not included): Marianne Gaba (Miss September 1959)
  • First Asian-American Playmate: China Lee (Miss August 1964)
  • First African-American Playmate: Jennifer Jackson (Miss March 1965)
  • First Playmate to get breast implants: Sue Williams (Miss April 1965)
  • First Playmate to commit suicide: Sue Williams (Miss April 1965)
  • First twins to be Playmates: Mary Collinson and Madeleine Collinson (Misses October 1970)
  • First Playmate to be younger than Playboy: Monica Tidwell, Miss November 1973 (she was born in January 1954, when Playboys second issue was on the newsstand)
  • First Playmate with signed centerfold: Jill De Vries (Miss October 1975)
  • First sisters to be Playmates in different months: Janice Pennington (Miss May 1971) and Ann Pennington (Miss March 1976)
  • First Playmate Data Sheet (included): Sondra Theodore (Miss July 1977)
  • First video playmate (1982): Lonny Chin (who was also the magazine centerfold in the January 1983 issue)
  • First mother and daughter to be Playmates: Carol Eden (Miss December 1960) and her daughter Simone Eden (Miss February 1989)
  • First Playmate to become a LGBT spokesmodel and advocate in the LGBT community: Stephanie Adams (Miss November 1992)
  • First Playmate of the Month to be a Penthouse Pet of the Month (October 2000) as well: Linn Thomas (Miss May 1997)
  • First triplets to be Playmates: Erica, Nicole and Jaclyn Dahm (Misses December 1998)
  • First Playmate without pubic hair: Dalene Kurtis (Miss September 2001)
  • First Playboy Cyber Girl to become Playmate: Stephanie Heinrich (Miss October 2001.) She's the first Cyber Girl of the Week (September 2000), as well as the first Cyber Girl of the Month (January 2001).
  • First Playmate to have been a Miss USA (1995): Shanna Moakler (Miss December 2001)



  • The Playmate Book: Five Decades of Centerfolds
  • The Playmate Book: Six Decades of Centerfolds
playmate in Bulgarian: Плеймейт
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playmate in Dutch: Playmate
playmate in Japanese: プレイメイト
playmate in Norwegian: Playmate
playmate in Portuguese: Playmate
playmate in Swedish: Playmate
playmate in Chinese: 玩伴女郎

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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