Career launcher: UVA's Playboy models find big success
When the latest issue of Playboy hit the stands last Friday, UVA students got a revealing glimpse of one of their own: Jenna Arianna, a blond linguist who eschews Greek in favor of Latin." In fact, the lovely Jenna Arianna (whose last name is Llewellyn) is a Fourth Year art major who kept her audition a secret from even her sorority sisters until she'd been selected.
"I didn't want to jinx it," she says, adding that encouragement from both parents and one of UVA's previous "Girls of the ACC" convinced her.
"She made it sound like the coolest thing ever, and she was right," says Llewellyn, who was flown to Chicago by the magazine for her photo shoot last spring.
Jenna's encouraging Playboy predecessor is Amanda Paige Gellar–- who first appeared in the magazine's October 2004 edition, went on to be the next year's Miss October, and following her 2006 graduation, the former Wahoo appeared on the magazine's cover in 2007.
In one interview, Paige raved about meeting Hugh Hefner and appearing in several episodes of The Girls Next Door, the reality tv show featuring Hef and his three live-in girlfriends. But in her centerfold "data sheet," where one "turn-off" was "guys without any goals in life," Paige made it clear she had an ambitious goal of her own: law school.
The Hook caught up with her recently to learn she's followed through by matriculating at University of Richmond law school this fall. She's aiming for entertainment law and believes her Bunny work can only help, starting with the money she's earned for the expensive private law school.
"It helps," says Gellar. "Through doing Playboy, I got a Bunny costume, and I still do promotions." (She says she just returned from an appearance in Detroit and will be in Miami in October for a Playboy Halloween party.)
Gellar's new classmates don't seem fazed by her Playboy connection.
"I thought no one knew about it," she laughs. "Everyone's so competitive and focused, that it's more about the work rather than what your social life is."
While Gellar capitalized on her exposure more than others, she's not the only nude 'Hoo to enter the legal field.
Appearing in the very first "Girls of the ACC" issue back in 1983, Cara Lee Macdonald told Playboy readers she planned a law career and indeed spent a decade as a commercial litigator before launching her own San Francisco-based legal recruiting firm.
"It's sorta like a chance to realize a fantasy," Macdonald told the Washington Post in a 1983 interview, adding that her mother, a model, was "especially proud" of the resulting outdoor photo which the Post described "in a meadow– her dark pubic hair in vivid contrast to the golden straw in the background." (Such contrast would be impossible for today's depilation-minded coeds.)
In another article, this one in the Baltimore Sun, Macdonald portrayed the Playboy gig as a great opportunity to grab before age takes its toll. "I'll be glad I didn't let that chance pass me by."
Now operating Macdonald Legal Placement, Macdonald didn't respond to an interview request, but another model-turned-barrister says that nearly 20 years later she has little regret.
"It's really great for your self esteem," says 41-year-old Tiffany, who requests that her last name be withheld because her nude Playboy picture caused a family rift of sorts. Other than that one "surprising" reaction, she says, the experience was "wonderful."
"I had the nicest letters," she says, "from people, saying, 'Thank you for sharing your beauty with the world.'
After posing in 1990, when she was a Fourth Year, Tiffany attended law school and passed the Virginia bar, but soon moved to Illinois, where she married and now spends her time raising four daughters. If one of them had the chance for a similar experience, Tiffany says she'd give her blessing.
"I'd encourage her to do it," she says. "Obviously within that genre, Playboy's the most respected. If it was Hustler, I might have a different attitude."
UVA's current Playboy coed Jenna says she's received only positive feedback–- from several First Year guys who've asked her to autograph the photo to friends who suggest she follow Gellar's footsteps into the Playboy empire.
"I hadn't ever thought of myself as a sexy model type," she laughs, "but if it came up, it would be a lot of fun."