The late 90's comprised some of the greatest years in Playboy's history, complete with a plethora of excellent Playmates who've appeared already on my countdown. I personally view the late 1990's as the "Golden Era" of Playmate history, where the girls were prototypical and influential models who shaped the future and the greatest Playmate entries we have today. During this time, 1998 was one of the strongest years, with beautiful ladies like Julia Schultz, Marliece Andrada, Lisa Dergan (#17 on my list), Angela Little (#11), the buxom Laura Cover, Tiffany Taylor, the Dahm triplets, and Playmate of the Year Heather Kozar (my #15). When you look at all of them, though, there was no one more dynamic and talented than the great Vanessa Gleason, Miss September 1998.
Now, you might think I planned it out, where Vanessa's 10th anniversary "Playmate Xtra" feature has been released in conjunction with me putting her at #3 on my list. I assure you, it's a complete coincidence, but I do plan on sizing up Vanessa's pictorials after they all are out by the end of the month. Vanessa has always been a personal favorite of mine, and I intend to show you why.
When Vanessa came around, she had something amazing that differentiated her from any Playmate before her: a calm sense of effortless elegance. Vanessa was a small package with big talent, a 5' 5" star of great proportions, whom I think never got the true credit she deserved when she debuted as Playmate. The SoCal phenom was one of the most interesting Playmates of all-time, with a huge variety of styles in her breathtaking pictorial, and a nice, natural body to boot. There's a major feeling of confidence in Vanessa's posing throughout all her work, and she never fails to wow with any of her photos. That's what put her at the top of my list: her material. It's something that so many Playmates of today skimp on, and it's something that Playmates of the late 90's did very well.
Kicking off Miss Gleason's masterpiece of a pictorial were sultry views of her sprawled over a bed, in lacy threads and soft lighting, giving it a dream-like feel. The lightly tanned legs, the high heels... a great introduction. Perhaps one of Vanessa's greatest shots was her "pink ribbon" montage, where Pic 06 looks fascinating. I've always thought Vanessa had the greatest locks of hair in Playboy history, bar none, and I'll give some examples along the way.
Vanessa's lace pictorial progresses into the bathtub, where she gets sudsy and puts on one hell of a show. An AMAZING shot of Vanessa is this beautiful vantage point, where she sprays down her genitals and the camera angle is provocative and subtle, showing her sexy, natural profile. Vanessa moves on to this great shot of her behind, where her butt and arched back prove that she's got plenty of curves to go around in addition to that fantastic talent. Here is an excellent clothed shot of Vanessa that shows off how sexy her curly hair is. It's disorganized but feminine at the same time, and looks beautiful.
There are so many great photos of Miss Gleason, this post would go on forever describing their beauty. There aren't enough words to describe the wet, glistening body of Vanessa in a soaked camisole. Probably my favorite pictorial series of Vanessa's was the one in her sheer babydoll, where the level of intimacy was palpable, like in this wonderful photo. Vanessa switches flawlessly between "playful" and "sultry," absolutely pouring it on with the sex and lust. She can shoot a mean look like anyone, and pose in amazing fashion.
And I'm not finished yet... Vanessa was probably one of the most underrated posers in Playboy history, what with photos like this one, which shows off one amazing body coupled with luscious lighting and impeccable photography. Vanessa isn't just a pretty face; you quickly realize that she's absolutely stacked, with a viciously hot body, like in Pic 51, where a suggestive rear pose takes centerstage. Vanessa shows an intimate side in this lingerie series, while not revealing too much but showing an emotional and personal aura. To finish things off, here is the quintessential viewpoint of Vanessa's amazing and sometimes understated body, which really is something when you look at it this way.
There were so many amazing photos in Vanessa Gleason's repertoire, I had little room to list them all. I'd suggest that anyone go over all of them again and see just how breathtaking this model was in the late 1990's. Vanessa was one of the seminal beauties of all-time, and although many may not agree with her #3 ranking because of a perceived lack of popularity among fans or the like, one thing's for sure: Vanessa was vastly underrated throughout her appearance in Playboy. Looking over her photos in her new "Playmate Xtra" she still looks great 10 years later, and I'm glad that Playboy hasn't forgotten about this sensuous and spectacular girl.
Vanessa had talent like no other I've listed here so far, and very few girls since Vanessa have shown me talent like she delivered. That's really what it boils down to in Playboy. That's why Juliette Frette has been so successful with fans, and that's why girls like Vanessa were trendsetters in the past. Talent like her is scarce today, and you can put the most gorgeous girl in the world in front of the camera, but if she can't pose right, she won't strike a chord with fans the way she should be able to. That's what has made up my Top 10: talent. Oh, and a rock-hard body on the side doesn't hurt, either.
So there you are: we've cracked the Top Three at last. Since we began this countdown of the Top 25, we've looked at a wide variety of beauties. The bronze medal goes to the lovely Vanessa, and we'll move on to the 2nd place girl in a little bit. If you haven't seen your favorite Playmate yet, just have patience, and she might just pop up. If not, let me know, and we'll do one big recap and an "honorable mentions" series, as well.
Until next time...