Entertainment Books What it’s really like to be a Playboy Playmate
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What it’s really like to be a Playboy Playmate

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Holly Madison spent seven years as Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend, living in the infamous Playboy Mansion and starring in a hit reality series about her experiences.

Nearly seven years after their well-publicised break-up, the model has penned a tell-all book about her time in the Mansion.

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In this exclusive excerpt, Madison talks about being the “new girl” in a house full of catty women and struggling to acclimatise to its strict rules.

From curfews to dress codes, here’s her fascinating insight into life with the world’s most notorious bachelor.

Extract from Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

Down the Rabbit Hole CoverThere were many rules to living in the mansion, but most of them I had to figure out on my own. Like I said, no one handed me The Playboy Mansion for Dummies when I arrived.

I also learned that the other girlfriends weren’t so eager to help out the newbies, since it was in their best interest for us to stumble around in order to make all of them look better.

First, there was a curfew. For being an older man, Hef stayed up reasonably late (usually tucking in around 11 p.m.), but he required his girlfriends in by 9 p.m. Apparently, we couldn’t get into too much mischief outside the walls before that hour.

I had been present once when Vicky and Lisa had rolled in a half hour past curfew and got a major dressing-down from Hef (no pun intended).

He kicked his feet, mustered up some questionable crocodile tears (was he really crying? I thought), and told them that if they wanted to “stay out late” they could move out.

Needless to say, his temper tantrum made a lasting impression on me.

Next, the girlfriends were not allowed to “fraternise” with the staff unless absolutely necessary. This rule was not to be taken lightly.

Hef would totally lose it if he caught one of us talking with anybody on the service team (and I eventually witnessed his irrational freak-out firsthand when future girlfriend Kendra Wilkinson spent too much time in the butler’s pantry).

Hugh Hefner and Holly Madison At Joya Restaurant
Hefner and Madison in 2002. Photo: Getty

According to mansion lore, there were two instances of girls having relations with mansion staffers. First, his ex-wife allegedly had an affair with one of the members of the security team – and Hef found out.

Second, one of the girlfriends had supposedly been caught sleeping with a butler. Now, I can’t prove that either of these things happened, but it would explain why he was so overly sensitive about this particular rule.

In the beginning, I’m sure the staffers thought I was terribly aloof and cold, but I was honestly just scared s**tless. If I got kicked out, I had nowhere to go. I couldn’t risk it.

Each girlfriend was given a weekly “clothing allowance” of $1,000 for expenses. It was expected that we use this money to purchase clothing to wear for evening events as well as beauty treatments (hair, nails, waxing, etc.) that weren’t covered by his in-house account at José Eber Salon in Beverly Hills.

This was a welcome relief for me. It was clear that Hef preferred we dress in a particular way when we were out on the town with him, and I was desperate to revamp my wardrobe and fast!

Hef made it abundantly clear that he preferred us in very over-the-top, sort of trashy outfits (think BeDazzled rhinestone bustiers and skirts so short there was barely a point in wearing them). When he would compliment a girl on a particular dress, pair of shoes, or even the way she wore her hair, we all felt the need to replicate it for our next evening out.

The last major requirement was that girlfriends attend the events designated on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

While the girlfriends were always eager to party at the hottest Hollywood nightclubs on Wednesdays and Fridays, it was clear they used whatever excuse they could to get out of “dinner and a movie” nights.

Madison now has a daughter with her husband, Pasquale Rotella. Photo: Getty
Madison now has a daughter with her husband, Pasquale Rotella. Photo: Getty

Oftentimes, it would just be April and me flanking Hef at the main dining table. We were still the two newest girls, so paying our dues was part of the program.

The other girls stayed out until 9 p.m. on the nose, not wanting to miss even a single minute of freedom—which usually meant visiting the boyfriends that they kept on the side.

How these “side boyfriends” felt about their girlfriends dating Hugh Hefner, I don’t know. I imagine the girls weren’t forthcoming with these men and probably denied that they even had sex with Hef (they denied it to everyone).

Most of them referred to “dating” Hef as a big publicity stunt to help them launch their careers.

Maybe some of the guys got a perverted little kick out of the fact that they were dating the same girl as Hugh Hefner.

Extract taken from Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison, published by HarperCollins. Available now.

For more, click this link to purchase the book.

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