Playboy Playmate Says Hugh Hefner Didn’t Run A Cult, Liked Board Games And Quiet


Playboy founder and editor Hugh Hefner famously – and infamously – hosted Playboy playmates at his Playboy Mansion. Stories abound regarding just what it was like being in Hefner’s inner circle before he died in 2017 at the age of 91. While some accounts paint an objectifying cult-like picture full of only partying, one playmate, Karin Taylor, says Hefner was laid back and enjoyed calm board games.

Karin, today 51, was Playboy magazine’s June 1996 Playmate of the Month. These days, she has a podcast called You Should Know. It was on this program that she discussed her own experiences at the Playboy Mansion, which is different from the perspective provided by Holly Madison in A&E’s Secrets of Playboy. Here’s Karin’s rebuttal.


Karin Taylor paints a calmer picture of the Playboy Mansion and Hugh Hefner

THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR, (from left): Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner, Bridget Marquardt, Kendra Wilkinson, 2005-. © E! Network / Courtesy: Everett Collection

In Secrets of Playboy, Madison called the mansion’s atmosphere “very cult-like,” adding that the women were “gaslit and expected to think of Hef as like this really good guy.” She went on, “You started to feel like, ‘Oh, he’s not what they say in the media — he’s just a nice man.” But she was reminded of a cult when thinking about “how it was so easy to get isolated from the outside world there. You had a 9 o’clock curfew. You were encouraged to not have friends over. You weren’t really allowed to leave unless it was, like, a family holiday.”


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According to its official A&E page, Secrets of Playboy “explores the hidden truths behind the fable and philosophy of the Playboy empire through a modern-day lens.” It contains accounts from Madison along with Lisa Loving Barrett, Sondra Theodore, and more. But in her own podcast, You Should Know, Karin shares her own testimony along with an interview with fellow playmate Ulrika Ericsson and they share a different view.

Karin Taylor shares her experiences

Karin Taylor shares her experiences with Hugh Hefner / YouTube screenshot

“I interviewed [fellow Playmate] Ulrika Ericsson in my podcast You Should Know about this,” shared Karin. She was surprised by the accounts shared by other playmates, likening the mansion to a cult. She said, “We were both not there, so we can’t say that never happened when we weren’t in the room. But we can say that was not our experience. So I did take a little offense to that comment, that it was like a cult.”

“I do not feel that any part of my Playboy experience was like that at all. … Hef always said, ‘Once a playmate, always a playmate.’ But really, once your issue comes out, it’s done, and they move on to the next girl,” she continued.

LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, “The Playboy Show” (Season 8), Penny Marshall, Hugh Hefner, Carrie Fisher, 1976-83 / Everett Collection

She further shared, “Hef was pretty quiet, and he liked his routine. On Wednesday nights, he liked playing board games and cards with his friends. He always had movie night. Kimberley and I also became great friends. When they separated, she lived next door with the kids. That’s when he started with the multiple girlfriends. But, by then, I wasn’t at the mansion. I didn’t go to any of the parties, and I certainly was never in his bedroom.”

What do you think was the nature of the mansion and its figurehead?

GIRL NEXT DOOR: THE SEARCH FOR A PLAYBOY CENTERFOLD, (clockwise): Danielle Day, Jennifer Nahra, Wendy Culp, Jill Scott, Sara Schwartz, Alexis Taylor Contopulos, Katie Hadorn, Christina Santiago, Lauren Anderson, Shallan Meiers, Hugh Hefner (center), aired 05/10/02 / Everett Collection

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