Corinna Harney’s Story

di Corinna Harney

Being a Christian who truly loves the Lord and has a deep and real relationship with a real loving and powerful God- it may seem strange the words that are about to follow:

I was 18 years old when I got a call from my boyfriend at the time. He said, “Baby Doll there’s an ad in the paper that says Playmates Wanted”. In my young brain and having been a youth camp volunteer for the YMCA and also working with kids at my 6th grade center, I thought it sounded fun and I imagined it was playing checkers or golf with the elderly or being a big sister and taking orphans to the park. When he said that he was talking about Playboy. My self righteousness reared it’s ugly head. I hung up on him and in my anger called my mom and said, “Would you believe Dean wants me to do Playboy?!”… “What does he think I am, some slut?” The phone went silent. Then what my mom said changed my life forever. She went on to tell me that she would have loved to pose for Playboy and had even thought about it but would have never pursued it. She was way too shy. She said of all the adult magazines Playboy was the classiest and it was art not pornography. (That’s a whole discussion but I won’t divulge or debate here). She also told me this was a huge opportunity for me. Not at all the words I expected from my sweet southern belle mom who never even used a cuss word. (At the time).

The short of this story is (and forewarnin: even though this is just a smidgen of my thoughts this is a long post)

I went to Marie Erickson’s home who was scouting for Gary Cole- the Playboy Chicago Photo Editor and her friend (now also my dear friend) Marie had also always wanted to be a Playmate and she had a good eye and even though she never got to be a centerfold she loved Playboy and the artistic expression of it.

As I entered her home- there through the sliding glass door I see my Cousin Jenny swimming with her daughter. I said, “That’s my cousin!”… She happened to be Marie’s daughter’s best friend. I was immediately at ease.

Now I had never been nude in front of a camera before. I hadn’t even been nude in front of my boyfriend or my friends for that matter. They used to think I was odd because I was so modest and would hide to change if we were going out or whatever the case.

So Marie took some photos of me in lingerie. I filled out the Playmate Data Sheet. And a few days later I got a call from Playboy and they wanted to fly me out for a test shoot.

The many other details of this will be in my book… But I can say I was so nervous. The Playboy Chicago Studios were beautiful. The staff was welcoming. The art on the walls was fascinating. They gave me the tour. Showed me each office and what went on. I loved the big Bunny sculpture at the front desk and also the Andy Warhol painting in one of the halls. I was always fascinated by him before so that was a real treat.

The Playboy building was on North Lake Shore Drive. I remember flying in and thinking that I didn’t know there was an ocean near Chicago? Lake Erie is so huge and I’d never been near this part of the country. That in and of itself for an almost 19 year old was such a wonderful experience. Being picked up by a limo and treated like Royalty. Staying at The Knickerbocker Hotel. Which after multiple times realizing I loved that Hotel for its charm and warmth over The Drake. I learned travel etiquette and I could go on and on just about that and how Hef gave me so many gifts when a middle class girl like me could only dream of those things. Again. This will be more detailed in my book.

Richard Fegley (who I loved dearly from the moment I met him) One of the legendary photographers for Playboy is who took my test photos. He was bothered by how young I was and even barked at Sue- the M/U lady at the time that this was wrong to be taking photos of babies, “Where’s her teddy bear!”… But we ended up getting some incredible images later on and made quite the team. I miss him dearly.

Of course the test photo images caused Hef to laugh out loud. Something Gary said he’d never seen. Hef was looking through photos and saying Yes or No to which of the girls made the cut as Playmate and when he got to my photo he laughed and Gary said, “what’s so funny?” Hef said, “She looks like a startled fawn. Get her comfortable in front of the camera and we will have a Playmate”… Little did I know that I would also go on to become Playmate Of The Year.

Meeting Hef was like meeting a walking history book. A legend. He was everything I’d ever heard and more. And he was never inappropriate with me. He was a gentleman. He was gracious. He had poise. And for me personally he enriched my life in so many ways. I went from a girl with no direction at all to understanding what was in the world and what opportunities were out there. And not in the way one would think. It was also what drew me back near to my God.

I know so many people who worked closely with Hef. His friends, his family. And all of us stand together/many branches of Hef and his Playboy, that aren’t what people might think.

Playboy and his dream wasn’t morally sound for some. He never ever apologized for the sexual freedom he expressed. Everyone who has a brain knows what Playboy Magazine is and was.

Hef was never vulgar. He never judged. And he had a unique business acumen. Everything Hef was was excellence. He demanded it. And I respect everything about that even if my views are different about much of the lifestyle. It was his business. His policy. And it was for the benefit of many even with its flaws. That’s capitalism, that’s innovation, that’s America.

I cannot imagine an America without Playboy. Not the woke Playboy we have now. Hef did appreciate male and female. He was old school in so many ways. He supported the military, loved America and challenged people to freely express themselves. It was an adult magazine- Yes. It had some elements that contributed to our moral decline. But we can’t overlook and dismiss and cancel the things that should be celebrated. His lifestyle was his own. And privacy is a beautiful thing. I still respect it.

When I walked through the mansion doors it was a family home. Way before The Girls Next Door allowed the world to see in to a now aging man who still always reinvented himself and put people on the map. And never forced them.

Marsden and Cooper (Hef’s sons) were both born within the span I was entering the Playboy Family. I loved seeing the mansion as a family home when I was there. Hef was such a dynamic and spectacular person that I did see the love Kimberly had for him at the time and could see she wasn’t some meek abused and controlled woman. And I can understand how these women loved him and even were hurt by his infidelity. Again- his privacy and theirs. But with him being such a public figure people want to know. But his love and sex life was Hef’s choice and theirs and it did not make him a monster.

There are sexual predators and unfortunately there are real victims of real crimes. But I do not believe these accusations of Hef are valid or helpful to any cause. What I’ve seen so far on A&E’s Secrets of Playboy are vicious bitter tales.

I spoke to a producer with A&E’s SOP who was trying to dig up dirt and not really listening to me. She mentioned people I knew and loved and spent time with and had her own opinions formed and wasn’t objective. She does not know any of these people. She does not realize the Playboy family and that it’s an organization of decent, loyal, kind human beings. So I know what these women are doing. They are cancelling Hef. They are praising themselves. Clear Iconoclastic Arrogance.

Cooper Hefner said it best, “This is a classic case study in regret”.

I believe these women need to look at themselves and their own choices. I believe one should never kiss and tell. Unless a crime has truly occurred. I believe in privacy and honor and loyalty. There are some tremendous virtues that stand. Hef had these virtues. He also never bragged about the good he did.

Sadly we live in a whole new world. I don’t believe it’s progress. I believe with our ever increasing knowledge people think they’re victims when they aren’t and identify with all these ailments and all these trendy discoveries like *Narcissism *Gaslighting *On the spectrum *ADD *OH I’M SO SPECIAL *I’m a victim *Stockholm Syndrome

Please do not get me wrong. I know these things are very real. My heart goes out to the many victims of real crimes and abuse. I’m glad we’re discovering and have these things available to us to help us and warn us. But I also think we are in a different kind of moral decline. A self righteous arrogant awful vicious lying time. A communist ideology where people are cancelled and persecuted for free thought and personal beliefs. And yet we have new pseudo moral self appointed police whose insanity puts new rules on us.

We don’t get news. We get persuasive writing. We don’t get truth we get propaganda. People aren’t thinking anymore… they are emoting. Emotions can’t think.

Quite frankly I think we live in a Pussified America where right is wrong and wrong is right.

For me it all boils down to one thing. “There is none that is righteous, no not one, there’s none that doeth good”

“All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” Romans 3:23

“It’s by Grace that you’re saved through Faith and this salvation is not of yourselves, it is a Gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, Lest any man should boast.” EPH. 2:8-9

“BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU SHALL BE SAVED” Acts 16:31

I hope my sweet friend and brilliant businessman and good father and legend Hef is in heaven. I think he might be. And all of the things people think are so important really aren’t. And no amount of kissing and telling and regrets and sorrow and trying to understand why you’ve behaved the way you have or placing blame or projection or Asperger’s or anything is an excuse before the Lord. He doesn’t see as man sees. He looks at the heart. And he gives Spiritual IQ.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”

I choose to concentrate on good memories. I think part of being an adult isn’t placing blame. I believe taking responsibility for your actions is key. I believe in honesty.

I’d rather be with who high society thinks of as losers… who admit what they do and don’t pretend or hide it than a snake who smiles and looks pretty on the outside but inside is dead man’s bones. Full of venom and hatred and bitterness. This is also religion. A form of godliness but denying its power.

A liar and a faker Hef was not. I can appreciate that. And I can appreciate policy, authority and the difference between Truth and Lies.

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