These women made the cut out of about 100 who auditioned to be Playboy starlet last October in Bloomington. The women are among 48 other Big Ten students featured in the issue.
Kelly Knauss, whose Playboy name is Kelly Kae, will make her modeling debut in this issue of Playboy – a dream of hers for many years. Knauss is a junior at IU-Northwest studying business administration.
“I’ve actually always wanted to be in Playboy,” Knauss said, who is from Schererville, Ind. “When I got my first car, I had a big, silver Playboy bunny on my window. My dad took it off, but its funny now that I get to be in it.”
The Big Ten theme has been one of the most popular issues in the past, and employees expect the same for this October’s issue.
“It’s definitely our best-selling issue of the year,” said Tina Manzo, a junior publicist for the magazine. “So we’re definitely planning on having some really good pickups. It’s a very popular issue.”
In October 2007, Knauss and two other girls posed on an IU blanket next to a red truck in a Bloomington field. The shoot aimed to portray a tailgating scene.
“It’s very classy and sophisticated,” she said. “I think it represents the whole college in a nice way. It’s not trashy.”
When auditioning at Fairfield Inn, 120 S. Fairfield Dr., the girls met the photographer and could choose what they wore.
“You could wear anything – you just had to remember you were posing for Playboy,” Knauss said, who wore a bathing suit for the audition.
Though posing for Playboy isn’t her parents’ ideal job for their daughter, Knauss said they support her anyway.
“My mom drove me to the audition,” she said. “It’s obviously not what my dad wants me to do, but he supports it. And once they see that it’s done very classy, they will hopefully like it.”
Men and women on IU’s campus have mixed feelings about their peers’ appearances in the magazine. Senior Arielle Giovannoni said she thinks the magazine represents IU well.
“There are beautiful girls here,” she said. “Along with the other Big Ten campuses, it’s well-represented. It shows IU is present in all sorts of events.”
Freshman Emily Weisbard said she thinks it’s embarrassing.
“It’s demeaning for them,” she said.
While graduate student Pere Jackson doesn’t think the magazine is demeaning, he said he still won’t buy the issue because the magazine is too expensive. He doesn’t believe it hurts IU’s image.
“I don’t think it has an impact at all,” Jackson said. He also added he doesn’t think the girls are doing it for the school – they are doing it for themselves.
Senior Jon Craton said he doesn’t think the issue will affect IU’s reputation in a good or bad way.
“If we were the only Big Ten school doing it, then maybe,” Craton said.
The IU women featured in the glossy pages of the magazine will sign autographs from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 23. at Campustown, 306 N. Walnut St.
“Hopefully it will open some doors for the modeling industry, but right now I’m focusing on school,” Knauss said.
-Campus editor Lindsey Alexander contributed to this report.
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