About 100 former Playboy Bunnies take over New Orleans, but not before Vanessa Bolano sat down with a few of the ladies to get a taste of what their life was like.
The Playboy bunnies first bounced onto the scene in Chicago in 1960. Members and guests of the club were served by women called bunnies dressed in a revealing corset, bunny ears, a collar, cuffs, and topped off with a fluffy tail. The costume may look demeaning, but actually it's just the opposite.
Loraine Hoyt who was a bunny in New Orleans from 1973- 1974 and Los Angeles from 1974- 1979 says, “I met a gal and she was telling me she was a bunny, and right away I wasn't sure what she meant about a bunny because automatically I thought about Playboy magazine.”
Actress Maria Richwine who was a bunny in Los Angeles from 1974- 1978 remembers, “I said what's a bunny? And she explained it to me, and I said, ‘You mean I heave to walk around with ears and a tail and serve cocktails?’ and she said, you will be surprised it will change your life.”
The outfit did change their lives. Their role empowered them, and just because you wore the suite doesn't mean you were in the magazine. Actually, for the most part bunnies weren't playmates, but they were part of the Playboy family.
“I went down for an interview in the French Quarter on Iberville Street,” says Hoyt.
“I went to training for two weeks. It was intense,” says Richwine.
“We had to know everything the bartender did so we could serve faster,” says Patti Murphy who was a bunny in both Chicago and Los Angeles in the 1960’s.
Susanne Singer AKA Bunny Monique who worked in Los Angeles as a bunny for eleven years says, “Then you had some classes in how to do the bunny stance, the bunny dip and the bunny perch. while working you were not allowed to sit down, but if you were for the moment not busy you could literally perch on the arm of a chair.”
Today these women reminisce and relive countless memories over albums, and while getting their hair done by New Orleans hair stylist Steven Sobel.
They chose New Orleans to host a reunion, uniting bunnies from across the globe.
“We really did change history. In the 60's it was right before women’s lib in '68. A lot of people thought we were being demeaned and demoralized for our part, but really our costume empowered us,” says Murphy.
Singer recalls, “During those years women were not liberated. There was a lot of jobs that women were not allowed to have. They are not respected in the workforce as they are today, so many years later, and back then it was a wonderful thing for us because it opened doors for us that otherwise would have never been opened.”
“You know when you’re a little girl and you have these big dreams, but you don't think your good enough and all of a sudden something happens and people are telling you that you're good enough and you start believing it. It just washed over me the confidence,” remembers Richwine.
Being a Playboy bunny was a stepping stone, launching the careers of these women, and one that may even have paved a new path for all.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun