After my brief hiatus, it's time to catch up with the current Playmate world as we head to the end of the year. There have been two entire Playmate pictorials released since I've been gone, with Miss October, Kelly Carrington, and Miss November, Grace Kim. It's an important time of the year, since the Playmate race has never really picked up in terms of competitiveness this year, and it's time to see if it can keep up with the increasingly exciting Cyber Girl of the Year race.
The race for PMOY 2009 hasn't really picked up much. There are plenty of differing opinions on who should win out. At first glance, it appears that the strongest opinions on who should win are coming from fans of Ida Ljungqvist and Juliette Frette. I myself believe that these two girls are rightfully leading the race, after seeing a very disappointing performance by Valerie Mason put a damper on the whole thing for me.
So lo and behold, Miss Carrington comes around in October to change things up a bit. Kelly was absolutely not someone I expected to really make a big splash in the race for the year's top girl, but she turns out to be a really refreshing shift in Playboy's thinking. At first glance, Kelly might seem like just another bright eyed blonde with a sleek body and pearly, polished smile. She's all of those things, but she's not "just another" blonde, looking at her pictorial. This girl has the element that makes every good PMOY: TALENT!
There is no doubt that Kelly is really radiant and eye-catching in her looks, just by sitting idly and not really striking any poses. Right off the bat, she has some unique qualities that offer a mix of maturity and a youthful zeal. One of the things that makes Kelly a truly spectacular Playmate is how young and vibrant she looks. She is the annual "college girl" Playmate, who makes her appearance every October, and Miss Carrington certainly personifies the ideal coed in every way. Kelly doesn't really hit on all cylinders when she's decked out and forced to be made into a personality she's not. While her great body does shine, Kelly shouldn't be made to look more refined than she is.
Instead, Kelly looks great when she's rough around the edges. When she's being a spunky, natual girl out in the locker room and in her common element. She really grabs you with her personality; it almost comes through the camera and creates an imprint to your mind, and a memorable girl is truly one of the key aspects to greatness. Just take a look at Kelly draped in an oversized jersey, and pay attention to the bright, innocent mood of the pictures. She's unfettered, and completely relaxed in this role. The seamless transition between this effortless aura and the fully nude unveiling of her more intimate side is really something special.
One other thing about Kelly that really makes her adorable and memorable is that her body isn't overstated, and she never really takes it to a pretentious level in her pictures. She always works it to a level where it's tantalizing and perks up your curiosity, and never overdoes it. It's safe to say that, with all of these very engaging elements, Kelly has that certain "something" that makes her stand apart from the crowd. Other girls this year may have been prettier or more confident in their intense sexuality, and women like Regina Deutinger and Laura Croft may have had more to offer, but Kelly has that one little element that came through: Talent. She has that "it" factor, which is why she should be in the discussion for PMOY alongside Ida and Juliette.
Miss October 2008
Meanwhile, we have also seen the debut of another fresh face to the Playmate world, Grace Kim, our Miss November. While I was excited about the prospects of an Asian Playmate after such a long drought, Grace has been less than favorable in her performance.
Asian Playmates are a rare sight, and not since the incredibly beautiful Hiromi Oshima in 2004 have we seen one, let alone a girl so rife with sexuality. To hold Grace to the same standards would be unfair; Hiromi was buxom and well-proportioned, and innately talented with a strong sense for the camera. But surely, Miss Kim should be able to hold a candle to her.
This Los Angeles-born Playmate, however, doesn't come close. Grace made her debut with a very bland and disappointing pictorial, showcasing little talent. She has a cute, radiant smile in some photos, but it often feels like she's being underutilized, or that there's at least something we aren't seeing. When Grace is nude and posing in the dim light, she can shoot off a few moves that catch your attention, like this well done pose. However, when Grace puts her effort towards her Guitar Hero rocker pictorial segment, she seems unprepared and uncomfortable.
I recall seeing previous photo shoots of Grace before her Playmate debut, and she really looked promising. It's disappointing to see that her charm and... ahem... grace... didn't translate as well as I had hoped. Still, you can give props to the fact that she is beautiful, just not a girl who was born to be without clothes. Ultimately, she's too slim, too pale, and lacks any talent to truly make a run at PMOY, or even come close.
Miss November 2008