Hurricane tries out to be a Playboy bunny

I heard Playboy was searching for UM girls Mar. 22-23 for its Fall 2004 “College Girls of the ACC” spread. After convincing myself that this would make a good newspaper story and mustering up some courage, I, Natalia Maldonado, tried out for the spread.

My interview was at 11 a.m. – don’t tell my professor why I wasn’t in class – and I reached the private hotel suite at 10:55 a.m. I met with producer Eden Orfanos, photographer David Rams and his assistant Shane Dorrance.

Five minutes later, after chatting with David and Eden, I felt more at ease. It was hard to be nervous when Eden kept calling me “sweetie.” The trio had arrived the night before and were still exhausted from shooting at FSU.

“We like to show what each school represents, so for UM we’ll probably use a lot of natural resources and shoot by water, maybe a pool,” Eden said.

I was led by David to the upstairs room to prepare for my shoot. He waited downstairs while I took off as many clothes as I felt comfortable removing. At my request, he even turned the air down a few degrees.

Once I was ready, David came into the room. For a second he seemed surprised.

“Are those real?” he asked.

I laughed.

“Yeah, they are” he said, answering his own question. “They’re nice.”

I wondered how many breasts David had seen after 10 years with Playboy and took it as a compliment.

The procedure was simple: no fancy lights, no fan blowing in my hair, no corny music in the background. Just me, David and four Polaroid shots.

Eden explained that they would all look over the shots and pick three to five girls to come back. After the “real” photo shoot, Hugh Hefner makes the final decisions regarding who gets published.

“For these spreads, we look for someone that epitomizes the college girl spirit,” Eden said. “Young, fresh faces – natural-looking.”

I asked Eden what she thought of the negative stereotypes that sometimes come with being a Playboy model.

“Women should feel free to express themselves how they choose. It’s liberating and powerful for a woman to express herself in the form of nude photography,” Eden said. “It’s another form of art.”

After giving Eden a few pointers on Miami’s nightlife and suggesting where she could get a cup of coffee, I realized I had to go. I was surprised at how fun the experience turned out to be – kind of like me with chocolate – a guilty pleasure.

“So many girls say being in Playboy was the most fun they ever had, like they’re a princess for the day,” Eden said.

A princess and a bunny? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Playboy’s “College Girls of the ACC” will be featured in the October edition and will hit newsstands in September.