Playboy Playmate says Hugh Hefner was quiet and loved board games, disputes claim mansion was ‘cult’
Karin Taylor was stunned when she first learned of the charges against her late friend Hugh Hefner.
It was 2022 when former Playboy bunny Holly Madison and several other playmates spoke in a 10-part documentary series on A&E, “Secrets of Playboy.” Madison alleged that the Playboy Mansion “looked a lot like a cult” and that women were “gas-lit and expected Hef to be seen as this really nice guy”.
“It was so easy to isolate yourself from the outside world there,” the 43-year-old said at the time. “You had a 9 a.m. curfew. You were encouraged not to have friends. You weren’t really allowed to go unless it was like a family vacation.”
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Madison dated Hefner from 2001 to 2008. The magazine mogul died in 2017 at the age of 91.
“I interviewed (playmate) Ulrika Ericsson on my ‘You Should Know’ podcast about it,” Taylor told Fox News Digital. “We weren’t both there, so we can’t say it never happened when we weren’t in the room. But we can say it wasn’t our experience. I So I was a little offended by that comment, that it was like a cult.”
“I don’t feel like any part of my Playboy experience was like that. … Hef always said, ‘Once a playmate, always a playmate.’ But really, once your problem is out, it’s done, and they move on to the next girl.”
The former international model, who was Playmate in June 1996, is now a single mother of five who runs Mandalay Farms in Florida.
She hosts two podcasts, “You Should Know” and “Free Advice with Karin Taylor,” sharing her life experiences with listeners. While the 51-year-old is no longer involved with Playboy, she was saddened to learn of the accusations against the brand, which propelled her to fame.
“As a mother, I don’t pose provocatively, but I’m still a playmate and no one has ostracized me,” she explained. “When I look back on my experience, it was a sisterhood where so many women did great things. Playboy was just a chapter in their lives and not their whole identity.”
“Ulrika and I were models before we posed for Playboy, and we just remember the camaraderie and acceptance of other girls. Models in the fashion industry were much fiercer. Meanwhile, with the Playmates, if I was ever in any town and needed something, there was always a girl, even if I didn’t know her, who was always ready to lend a hand. “
“It was a very supportive environment,” she added. “I was just fascinated that Hugh Hefner had created something that had so much camaraderie and loyalty. I know there were a lot of playmates, bunnies and former employees who wrote petitions and expressed their displeasure. But this was all said after Hugh Hefner died.. He can’t even defend himself…. So, of course, my knee-jerk response was disbelief and a little anger.
Taylor said that after watching “Secrets of Playboy” twice, she had “very conflicting feelings.”
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“On the one hand, I’m a big believer that every woman has the right to speak her truth,” Taylor said. “I strongly believe that talking can be very healing. And I felt empathetic emotions with some of the women who expressed the things they went through.”
“My heart goes out to them for the pain and distress they may have gone through. I want to support everyone’s right to speak up, but I also can’t state that Hef did all of these things because I don’t. I wasn’t there and it was, ‘That’s my experience. It’s not something I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen drugs, I’ve never been offered drugs.
Taylor pointed out that during her time at the Playboy Mansion, Hefner was married to Kimberley Conrad, who was raising their young children. The union lasted from 1989 to 2010.
“There was no talking to the girls at the pool when her little sons were running around,” Taylor said. “Hef was pretty quiet and he liked his routine. On Wednesday nights he liked to play board games and cards with his friends. He always had movie nights. Kimberley and I also became great friends. When they got together separated, she was living next door with the kids. That’s when he started with the multiple girlfriends. But, at that time, I wasn’t at the mansion. I wasn’t going to none of the parties, and I was certainly never in his room.
“Every time I did something, I got a letter from Hef,” she shared. “He always let you know how proud he was of you. If you ever got a role or a gig, he would write you a note congratulating you. And if you ever wrote to him, he always wrote back. He loved to write letters.”
“And if you were at the mansion and a photographer took a picture of you, they would make sure the picture was printed and mailed back to you with a little note. My experience at Playboy has been one of loyalty and of respect. So I feel conflicted about what was said. And my heart goes out to his sons because I’m sure it must be hard hearing those accusations and not having your dad around to defend.
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While Taylor has emphasized that she has no regrets about appearing in Playboy, it has posed some challenges over the years.
“It hurt me in the sense that I was not allowed to speak at a homeschooling convention,” Taylor said. “I was 41 when I tried to do this, and it was because I posed for Playboy. Even though I was talking about e-learning tools, even though I was known in the field from homeschooling to hosting online workshops, being a curriculum reviewer, I wasn’t allowed to talk. I had a few mean moms talking about it, and it was kind of hurtful.”
Taylor was also stunned when her son Googled her.
“I wasn’t prepared for my son to say, ‘Oh my God, I just saw this picture of you on the internet. What is it and why are you naked?'” she recalls. “It was really tough. Because by the time you’re 23, you don’t think you’re going to have five kids and one of them is going to get you. Would I pose for Playboy today? Today? Probably not. Do I regret doing it? No. I think when you regret something, there’s a certain shame attached to it, and I don’t feel any shame.
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“It’s been interesting dating too,” she chuckled. “People are looking at your old Playboy pictures and guys want to tell you about it. But they’re looking at a 23-year-old. I’m 51 now. It’s weird having a date with someone who you has already seen naked.”
These days, Taylor is enjoying a calmer pace surrounded by animals as she focuses on philanthropy.
“Hollywood parties were fun. Who doesn’t love having a glam crew?” she says. “But being with animals and nature has healed me a lot. And all the experiences I’ve had have made me who I am today.”