Published: Thursday, November 2, 2006
Updated: Sunday, May 17, 2009 19:05
[CORRECTION: In the Thursday print edition of The Student Printz, Elizabeth Brown was identified as a member of Chi Omega sorority. She is a former member. The Student Printz regrets the error.]
Playboy employees said Tuesday their visit to Hattiesburg has been a success so far despite having to work around Mississippi age restrictions.
Auditions for the magazine's Conference USA edition were held Monday and Tuesday at the Hampton Inn in Hattiesburg where approximately 20 USM students tried out on the first day. Shooting is scheduled to continue through Sunday at undisclosed locations around the area.
Producer and makeup artist Eden Orfanos said they saw enough qualified women to do the whole shoot. However, Orfanos said, "if a hot girl comes in here on Friday we'll shoot her."
Mississippi laws made the selection process challenging. Mississippi is the only state Playboy visited for this production with an age requirement of 21 for nudity. In other states, Orfanos said, the legal age is usually 18 or 19.
In accordance with state law, three girls under 21 who auditioned Monday provided documented parental consent. Orfanos said getting consent was tedious but easy because the girls' parents were supportive.
Bridget Harris, an 18-year-old freshman art major said, "It was no big deal." She and a friend both tried out, and Harris said her parents were very excited and supportive.
Harris encouraged USM girls to "go for it" because "you have nothing to lose." She felt comfortable and had fun, although she initially thought it would be awkward.
Orfanos said sorority restrictions are contradictory of the theme of sisterhood. She said for sorority members to doubt their sister's judgment is "stupid and immature." She said Playboy's recent trip to Tulsa for auditions presented the same Greek issues.
Some USM students argue, however, there is something to lose. Elizabeth Brown, a sophomore double nursing and exercise physiology major said posing for Playboy is "a bad representation of USM." She added, "It's going to make us look really bad. Girls should have pride in where we go to school."
Aside from some negative feedback, Orfanos and the rest of the Playboy team were pleased with the caliber of women who came Monday. She said there wide variety of girls were on hand -petite, tall, short, black and Caucasian hopefuls lined the waiting area.
Orfanos went on to discuss the selection process. She said a major factor in selecting the girls is personality. "It shows through in pictures… a pretty girl can come in, but still be a total bump on a log."
Photographer David Rams selects girls by picturing them in the selected locations. Collectively, the crew will choose the girls who parallel the set themes. He said they will select a maximum of 12 women to pose in both single, double and group shots.
There will be three to five total photographs per Conference USA school, and the girls were told they would need to go at least topless in order to be featured in the magazine.
Orfanos and Rams worked together developing the look of the spread. Orfanos prefers to go with natural makeup and avoid dramatic, high fashion looks. Rams uses unique posing and lighting techniques to flatter the models' bodies. Photography assistant and location scout David Goodman said, "If it looks good, keep shooting. If it doesn't, keep shooting."
It's not all work for Goodman, Rams, and Orfanos. They soaked up the local flavor at Crescent City Grill Monday evening. Their demeanor went from professional coworkers to that of old friends. Rams and Orfanos teased each other as Goodman observed with a smirk. They stumbled over the Cajun French words on the menu and laughed as they were corrected.
Despite attempting to blend in with the crowd, the manager was quick to come to the table and inquire about their visit, thanking them for coming to dine at his establishment.
After dinner, they headed to local college hangout Fat O'Harry's to scout for more potential models. Goodman said the girls whose photos do not make the magazine will be featured in either a special edition or on the official Playboy website.