Former Playboy Bunny Reveals The Strict Rules And Restrictions They Used To Have To Follow
When you think about Playboy, the first things to come to your mind is usually Hugh Hefner, Playboy bunnies, or the Playboy Mansion. It is one of the most widely known and adored or criticized empires.
One former Playboy Bunny has opened up about her experiences in this life back in the 70s, and her memories make it sound all so magical...and stricter than you would think.
Back in the day, Playboy clubs were a real big deal especially in the bigger cities like Atlanta, Boston, Miami, New York, etc...The first one opened in Chicago in 1960.
Various Playboy Bunnies would serve the guests their food and drinks. Some of the Bunnies had actually appeared in the magazine adding to the appeal of these clubs.
Membership to one of these clubs, back then, was a mere $25 per year. Members were given special Bunny keychains in order to be allowed inside.
Barbara (Bobbie) Walters worked in the Playboy clubs, at the New York and Miami locations, for five years.
Her story about her time working in these clubs is an interesting one. It really brings perspective to her choice of career.
She explained that the New York club "was pure magic and fantasy."
"When you walked inside that club, you left the outside world of worry and tribulations. Every minute I spent there was fun. I loved wearing that costume…everything. New York is New York," she said.
The club that she worked at in the New York location had six floors to it. Each floor had its own theme. Themes could range from a playmate bar, a VIP room, or even a disco nightclub with featured entertainers.
Sounds fun, doesn't it? No wonder they were so popular.
So, how does one gain employment at one of these clubs? It is not as easy as you might think.
Bobbie went on to explain how she was a go-go dancer but wanted to be an actress. She realized just how hard it really was to break into the business and had a real tough time still living home with her parents.
On her way out of a coffee shop one day, she noticed a Playboy Bunny on a magazine cover. Right then and there, she decided what she wanted to do. At the age of 21, she made her way to New York to find herself a job.
On the day that she showed up, the club was holding auditions. She was going to have to compete against hundreds of other young women. Out of 200 auditions only 40-50 actually got hired. They were not just looking for good looking gals, they wanted women with personality and stamina as well.
For the interview, everybody had to put on the famous Bunny costume and audition in front of the "Bunny Mother" and the general manager.
She says the job was tough because they had to do all of the things a normal waitress did, but in 5 inch heals. You definitely needed stamina to keep up in such a fast paced environment.
Since she lived in New Jersey, her days were longer than most. Her day would start at two in the afternoon, then drive in to Manhattan, and get ready at the club, so she could be on the floor with the rest of the gals by 7 pm.
The rules of the job were very strict. Each girl had to follow the "Bunny Manual" and the Bunny Mother would check them before they went out on to the floor to be sure everything was correct and in place.
Their outfits had to be properly worn for each shift. They were not allowed to have any weird hair styles.
the Bunnies had to present the drinks to the customers a certain way, and know what ingredients make up each one.
"You had to look beautiful all the time, your costume had to be clean, you had to keep your weight under control," Bobbie said.
The strictest rule was that Bunnies were not allowed to date customers. If you got caught giving out your number, you were fired on the spot.
A lot of rumors about Bunnies have gone around about how they conduct themselves in these clubs, but it is simply not true. It was a classy place.
Funnily enough, Bobbie actually ended up meeting her husband, Jules, at the club. He was 40 years older than she was, though.
While they did meet at the club in New York, they never exchanged numbers while she was actually working.
The first time that she met him, he came in with his wife. On his second trip in, he was alone. It was then that she told him the rules about giving out numbers, but he persisted.
She eventually discovered that he also lived in New Jersey, and this was how they formed a real connection. The romance lasted 33 years up until he passed away
She still swears she did not exchange phone numbers with him while working at the club.
One of her most memorable moments at the club was when Elton John paid a visit.
She added, "Hugh Hefner loved a jazz pianist called Monty Alexander, and his music would play throughout the club. And that was the atmosphere….it was a man's place to relax."
Even though Hugh spent a lot of time at the club, Bobbie says that she really never cared if she met the man or not.
She did not want to be a centerfold or anything. She was very happy with her job which is kind of funny since it was a magazine model that drew her to New York to seek a job with Playboy
She went on about some of the celebrities that would stop by the club from time to time. You would never know who would pop in and take one of your tables. She had seen the likes of Sammy Davis Jr, John Cassavetes, and Peter Falk.
It sounds to me like it would be the most thrilling part of her job. Imagine trying to play it cool when your favorite celebrity sits down at your table.
Despite some criticism, Bobbie saw nothing wrong with being a Bunny.
"I loved it, but this job was not for everyone, it was rough. What I loved most about it was this was my chance to be a star, just putting that costume on, this was my place to show."
Nowadays, anything that has to do with a Playboy Bunny is considered old news. But, back in the day, the Chicago club alone had more than 132,000 members in just the last three months of 1961. That made it the busiest night club in the world.
Bobbie explained that back in her time, the Bunny was an image to be respected. I am sure a lot of people still love the idea of the Playboy Bunny, but they definitely are not as well received or as respected as they were back then.
"I will defend until the day I pass that the Playboy Bunny was, and still is politically correct, no matter what others say."
"It was such a wonderful time in my life, and the one thing I learned, it never changed me at all," she explained.
To this day, Bobbie still has her uniform in a frame to remind her of the most wonderful time of her life.
The club that she worked in opened in 1962 and closed its doors in 1986.
A new club is supposed to be opening again, but I doubt it will ever be as sophisticated and popular as it was back in the day.