Just where does Playboy dig up the shapely women who grace its pages? It's actually something like an audition for American Idol, the Atlantic reports, but, you know, with a lot less clothes. Playboy holds a handful of casting calls throughout the US annually, each attracting a hundred or so women, ready and willing to take it off for a professional photographer. It’s certainly a visually-appealing crowd: Though there are a few who might be out of their league, Hampton Stevens writes, most are “eyeball-popping, make-cartoon-steam-come-out-of-yours-ear, die-a-little-inside sexy.”
The process is fairly secretive to avoid the risk of oglers feasting their eyes on so many would-be bunnies. Girls are asked to pose in an "outfit" of their choice (lingerie or a swimsuit) "then just in what the Good Lord gave her. Or, in some cases, what the Good Lord gave her, a plastic surgeon augmented, and a tattoo artist has embellished with angels wings and flowers," writes Stevens. They can buy prints of their audition photos, regardless of whether they’re chosen for the magazine. And for most, they aren’t looking to make modeling a career: It is a one-time, self-fulfilling statement ... that happens to earn a five-figure paycheck. Playmates get $25,000 for appearing in the magazine.