Join Date: Mar 2004
Member GG#: 38375
Location: Los Angeles, CA
A friend of mine interviewed Penthouse Pet and Playboy model, Courtney Taylor, today. this is the unedited transcript of their phone interview. There's no editor lurking somewhere cutting out what he or she doesn't think is interesting or works for whatever publication the interview might be headed for. I thought it's an interesting interview and some people here--models as well as photographers--might find it insightful.
Luke: "How did you enjoy the AVN show in Las Vegas?"
Courtney: "Parts of it were like a circus freak show, but there were some beautiful women and gay porn guys there. My highlight was getting a picture taken with Jenna Jameson. She is beautiful and sweet."
Luke: "Do you look at her as a role model?"
Courtney: "Sure. She's successful. Wasn't she written about in Forbes as one of the richest women in the world? I wouldn't want to make my money that way, but she worked hard to get where she is. She's very intelligent and has a good business mind. She shows that if you work hard and are dedicated, you can get the American dream. That's probably not what people think about when they think of the American dream."
Luke: "You never want to do hardcore?"
Luke: "How did you get into nude modeling?"
Courtney: "I did a lot of commercial modeling. This one photographer [Michigan's Danny O'Connor] said I should do some nude stuff and submit it to Playboy. I said, 'No, I could never do that.' But I just started shooting in less and less clothing. Then Playboy came to Michigan. They were doing the Search for the Millenium [centerfold].
"I went there. I never thought anything would come of it. But they liked my Polaroids and scheduled a test shoot. They flew me to Chicago. Hugh Hefner liked the pictures and wanted me to come back to shoot for the centerfold.
"I did that [near the end of 1998]. It was a weird experience. Back then they shot with the 8x10 negative. I was really uncomfortable. You spend a week doing that one centerfold pose. They were mean to me. I didn't like the way the stylist made me look. The hair made me look like I was wearing a helmet. The make-up wasn't me. I would complain and then she'd cut me down. For a couple of days, I was crying on the set.
"I was 22. Going from catalogue stuff to Playboy, it was my first nude shoot that would be published, the Playboy Centerfold. I was really nervous. They told me I had a lazy eye and to hold my eyes wide open. In the actual centerfold picture, I look like I'm bug-eyed.
"I got this contract saying, you've been approved for the centerfold. You're going to get $25,000.
"Then I found out later on that they decided not to run me as a centerfold and I was really upset.
"Then ended up running me in the October 2000 issue but not as a centerfold.
"I heard how much money you could make shooting for Penthouse. I mailed some of my pictures in and that's how I got into Penthouse."
Luke: "On a photo shoot, what do you think about?"
Courtney: "Food. Usually I'm starving because I never eat anything before I shoot.
"I just think about how I look. I try to look sexy. To me, being sexy is mostly in the facial expression. Being naked is great and all, but people look at the face. I try to think about sex and pretend I'm having sex."
Luke: "When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?"
Courtney: "I wanted to be a psychologist. I have degrees from the University of Michigan in Psychology and Respiratory Therapy. Right now I'm finishing my pre-med classes so I can apply [at age 30] to medical school. I work as a respiratory therapist when I'm not modeling."
Luke: "How has being a nude model affected your life?"
Courtney: "It made me more self-confident. I was always insecure about my body. I would see my mother naked and even after puberty I'd realize that my body doesn't look anything like that. There's something wrong with me.
"I was all-natural when I shot for Playboy and Penthouse. It gave me confidence that at least some people find me sexy. It made me feel more confident about being nude.
"I've always been reclusive. I've been with Penthouse since February 2002, doing promotions. I meet a lot of people and it's made me more social.
"I'm not sure why this is, but if you're a woman who likes to look nice, and wears make-up, you have a hard time making female friends. When I work at the hospital or at school, I have a very hard time making female friends. It's really lonely. Eversince highschool... I meet other models now. For some reason, they're not as snotty as people I meet in the everyday world. I've made some of my closest friends through Penthouse. They're just so nice and understanding. I meet intelligent women such as Victoria Zdrok who's a psychologist and a lawyer. My other model friends include Martina Warren, Jamie Lynn, Cassia Riley, Alexis Winston, Alexa Lauren."
Luke: "Why do women have a hard time being friends with you? They must fear that you are going to steal their man?"
Courtney: "I don't know if that is it. It's not like I ever hang out with their boyfriends.
"I've been hurt badly in the past because I'll think a girl is my friend and I'll tell her stuff about myself and I think she likes me for who I am. You and I are in the industry. To us, nude modeling isn't a big deal. But when you're out in Michigan, it is a big deal. Even if you think someone is your good friend, and they ask, what do you do?, if someone is your friend, you should be able to tell them what you're up to. But when you tell somebody that you're a nude model and you're doing promotions for Penthouse, maybe that's what they have a hard time with.
"People who I thought were my friends would be nice to my face and then go behind my back and gossip about me and make up these crazy things. They'd exaggerate what I do or just say derogatory things about me. That hurts my feelings a lot.
"I'm not an idiot. There's a stereotype that if you're a model, particularly if you're a blonde model, that you're superficial and dumb. I'm not superficial at all. I date intelligent, interesting guys. I don't date men for money like some women. I'm in school. I'm not just in modeling. I'm not even interested in modeling. I just do it for the money. It just happens to be fun too. I meet girls who aren't mean to me."
Luke: "Do you sometimes think that the price you've paid for being a nude model exceeds the benefits to your life?"
Courtney: "Sometimes. I'm 30-years old. I planned on being a doctor by now. But the money for modeling has been so good that I've put off my schooling for a while. I was Pet of the Year Runner-Up for 2004. I got a cover and layout and $25,000 on top of the $5,000 they gave me. With the promotional money, I made $50,000 in three months. That's hard to turn down. When you're doing promotions regularly, that's a lot more money than working as a respiratory therapist in a hospital.
"I think now that if I would've just stuck with school and forgot about the money, maybe I would be happier with my life because I'd be further along academically and professionally."
Luke: "How has being a nude model affected your dating life?"
Courtney: "It's hard sometimes. A lot of guys hit on me. I'm not sure if they happen to know that I'm a Penthouse Pet. I'm not sure if they're going out with me because of who I am or because they think it is cool to date a Pet. So now I just don't tell anybody initially. Some guys have a hard time with it. They might find it's something they don't want to tell their parents.
"One horrible relationship I was in a couple of years ago... I can't even believe I dated this loser. He told me that a Penthouse Pet is someone you'd want to date, but not somebody you'd want to marry. Considering the fact that I'm sure I'm more intelligent than any of the girls he's dated."
She laughs. "I think that if you find a nice guy, it doesn't matter what you do. They'll get a little jealous when you're out on promotions. If the person is not superficial, then they will not care what you do.
"Living in Michigan is like a whole other world, it's such a conservative state. People can't comprehend a person being a nude model. The reaction is about 90% negative.
"Even though the University of Michigan is known for being liberal, people can't comprehend being a nude model. You get the argument a lot [that porn objectifies women] at the University of Michigan because you have a large population of feminists. But if you want to talk about objectifying women, go to a sorority or fraternity party. That's all those parties are for. I was never interested in the Greek system.
"These people will look down on a nude model but will have no problem getting drunk and hooking up with a guy they met five minutes ago. Talk about hypocrisy."