Monday, June 30, 2008

Out With the Old, In With The New

There's a sad truth to life, and many may get on me when I say this, but it's inevitably true: people get older. That's it, people do. And women do, as well, and as they age, things aren't necessarily the same in terms of appearances and how they look in front of the camera. Posing nude ain't easy, there's no doubt about it... all your flaws are exposed in front of the camera in each and every shot. It's tough to hide from it, and I'd give plenty of props to any young lady who takes the bait.

Well, there's been tons and tons of hype about the Playmate Xtra feature for Miss September 1998, Vanessa Gleason. Now, this is coming from me, someone who ranks Vanessa in his top three Playmates, when I put her at #3 in my list of the greatest. So, you'd believe that I was ecstatic whenever it was revealed that, after 10 years of inactivity in the Playboy realm, Vanessa would do an encore performance, at the bubbly young age of 29.

Yeah, she is only 29, as she did her Playmate pictorial at the very young age of 19. But, to my amazement, Vanessa looked considerably older in her pictorial. Granted, Vanessa still looks gorgeous, and is an absolute knockout, and I suppose the problem here is that I am comparing her former self to her current pictorials, but I can't help it. Vanessa is one of my favorites, and seeing her as a pale, unexciting girl is saddening. Vanessa still has plenty of talent, and in many instances she shines. However, she looks aged and tired in most instances, and most angles on her are tough to shoot. It's hard to blame the photographer when many of Vanessa's pictorial photos just came out too pale and boring, with no curves and a stale figure.

I hope no one gets too upset at my opinion, because I've heard lots of people praising Vanessa's courage and poise in coming back after so long to do another set. It is unfair to compare her younger pictorial to this one, but I'm just saying that I wish she'd avoided it. It's really great that she would choose to do so, but times have come and gone for Vanessa.

Consensus... C+

Vanessa Gleason
Miss September 1998

Playmate Xtra June 2008

On the other end of the spectrum, we had the total opposite of what transpired with Vanessa. One of my favorite Playboy models in recent years, Kortnie O'Connor, who was Cyber Girl of the Month in January 2007, and whom I wrote my very first post in this blog on, didn't get a whole lot of love from the audiences for her encore performance, and didn't get the outpouring of support that I thought she deserved. Figures.

Kortnie was given a major snub in the race for Cyber Girl of the Year, finishing close to last place in most fan polls. I'm glad the lovely Jo Garcia was there to take it instead, otherwise I would have been very disappointed with how hard Kortnie got dissed. I don't really see what people don't pick up with Kortnie: she's got an out-of-this-world body, she has an awesome, unique face, and she has a feminine quality that she pours into every photo. She's wildly talented and is very multitalented, and she showed it with her new pictorial.

She took on a whole new look in this one, from her amazing look in blue lingerie, to her fantastic strapless bikini poses. There were numerous pictures where she looked stunning, and she especially looked different because of the way her hair looks newly untethered and longer, and her body looks extra conditioned and stacked to the max. It's true, her body looks extra hot. It looks like she's been working that body out hard, and it positively ripples with curves. She's so incredibly talented because of the way she always reinvents herself.

The reinvention goes through lots of different looks, with the first pictorial showcasing Kortnie's body and offering a look at a wide range of interesting poses like this coy one or an inverted burst of temptation. Her second week comprises of two hot videos, complete with some fantastic looks at the camera and some spunky smiles that Kortnie flashes from time to time. Those giggles are worth everything, and maybe that's the kicker for Miss O'Connor... the fact that she's always seeming to have fun. Her third week showcased her body in a tight little bikini, and honestly it was a masterful pictorial. It's too bad it didn't come with a video, because it was just a great performance. The last week topped it off just like it started out: just a simple, straight on set in a lacy little teddy.

And it's wildly hot, sultry shots like this one that prove my point. Kortnie was very short-changed in the race for CGOY, and I really wish more people saw what I see in this great model. Kortnie deserves great accolades, and some are calling for a Playmate nomination of her. Lemme tell ya, she'd certainly be way better than a lot of what we've seen so far this year (*cough* Sandra, Michelle, Regina, AJ *cough*)!

So it's out with the old, in with the new, with great new talent coming into Playboy. I know that the oldies are goodies, but let's just leave them at that... oldies. Vanessa was great then, and girls like Kortnie or Juliette Frette are the stars of today. Let's treat them as such.

Consensus... A-

Kortnie O'Connor
Cyber Girl of the Month
January 2007

Cyber Girl Xtra June 2008


Anonymous said...

i have to agree about Vanessa, but I think the main culprit is the poor photography in the new series. Dull poses, uninspiring sets and it's all too bright and flat in tone. Your comparison shows it perfectly--the 1998 shot is dusky, exotic and amazing; the 2008 shot looks like someone did it with a webcam.

Vanessa is never going to look as luscious as she was when she was 19, but she'll still a stunning woman and was poorly served by this new series, IMO...

Silvio said...

Well, I respect your opinion but for me she is just different from what she was 10 years ago, not better or worst, but just different. I see her beauty even through all this years, maybe because I do like mature woman. :P
In fact, she looks pretty even with her uninspiring set. But this is not her fault. But I agree with you when you said that she looks too older for a 29 yo.

Silvio said...

I almost forgot... did you like to see Jillian Beyor as Model Of The Year? She´s fine but you know that my choice was Jennifer Hurt, for CGOY and MOY. :(

roscoe said...

I know I'm a little (okay, a lot) late to this party, but when I read this statement:

"It's hard to blame the photographer when many of Vanessa's pictorial photos just came out too pale and boring"

...I just had to comment.

IMO, the photographer is almost wholly to blame for the pale washed out quality of Vanessa's feature. From the colour of the set to the model's hair, makeup & wardrobe to the flat, overblown lighting, this is all ultimately the purview of the photographer. Granted, there are stylists, producers, photo editors etc. putting in their two cents, but the photographer has the biggest part to play in the overall look of the pictorial.

Okay, there's not much you can do with a lifeless, dull model; but one thing a photographer can certainly do is make her look worse. And, IMO, this is the tragedy that befell our lovely Vanessa.

PlayboyCritic said...

You have an interesting take on it, Roscoe, and one I'd definitely agree with. The editors always have a part in missteps like this one, and it's unfortunate how they waste so many opportunities with some incredibly hot models.

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