Naturi Naughton will star in NBC’s “The Playboy Club” series premiering later this month. The show, set in the 60s, centers around the “bunny” employees of the first Playboy Club in Chicago. Naturi’s character “Brenda” seeks to become the first African-American Playboy Playmate.
So how did she prepare for the role?
“Most of my preparation for this role was research, not so much physical preparation, but mentally preparing myself, you know, going back into time especially when doing a period piece like this, a show that takes place in 1961 and also being one of the first black bunnies. So I read a lot. I actually watched a documentary called The Bunny Years. I read the book 50 Years of the Playboy Bunny, which was awesome. I researched Hugh Hefner and how much he was such a progressive, rebellious man at the time by integrating the Playboy Club. I also spent time with an African-American Bunny from 1965, Pat Lacey, who trained all of us and worked with me on things that are required of a Bunny. I actually went through bunny training with Pat Lacey.”
On “Bunny” training:
“Bunny training is essentially where we learn things like the “Bunny dip,” which is how you serve a table when you’re a Bunny. A Bunny can’t just bend over in her costume with all the boobage that we have going on. We can’t be indecent, so a Bunny has to dip backwards in a sense and bend her legs in order to serve a drink to make sure she doesn’t spill out in front of the guests. Also the “Bunny stance.” There’s a stance that a Bunny has and it’s very elegant where your knees are pulled together, your toes touch. It gives the shape of an hourglass and it makes your legs long. And also the “Bunny perch.” One of the things I realized is that a Bunny cannot sit down in that costume. It’s very rare that you’ll see a Bunny sitting; she always perches. It’s basically when you lean on let’s say the back of a chair with your butt, but you don’t really sit.
“I also learned a lot about what the camaraderie was like between the women. We learned that this was a sisterhood and there was a Mother Bunny. I learned all the rules and there’s a Bunny manual. Bunnies aren’t allowed to give out their numbers. They’re not allowed to give out their last name. They’re not allowed to date key holders. They’re not allowed to do things that are inappropriate.”
The show is said to be less about sex, and more about girl power. Naturi also said of the female characters: “They’re smart, they’re going to school, they’re buying property — things they couldn’t do at the time. They’re using their resources.” Will you be watching?