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Bunny Tales by Izabella St James
Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion
I read a small section from one of the tabloids recently about this young Polish girl in her early 20s who lived as a girlfriend to Hugh Hefner for two years. The article went onto plug her book which promised to be a kiss and tell of some of the exploits inside the infamous Playboy Mansion. Out of sheer curiosity and being nosey, I could not resist purchasing a copy of this hard back book.
*** An Introduction to the Author ****
This is the life story of Izabella St James who was born and raised in the beautiful city of Krakow, Poland. An only child to strict Catholic parents, she studied hard, attending The Resurrection Catholic School and then went onto graduate from Law School with exceptional grades. When she was 10, her parents left communist Poland in pursuit of freedom and a better life for their daughter. This book charts her middle class upbringing, her graduation, enthusiasm and hope for her future career and then onto why she ended her relationship with Hugh Hefner, leaving the Playboy Mansion.
*****History of Hef *****
Hardly anything of Hefners life history is mentioned in this book, so for those who may never have heard of this gentleman, I have included a small insight of Hugh Marston Hefner. He was born in Illinois, Chicago in 1926 to Grace and Glen Hefner. Raised within a strict Methodist family, his life was void of any love and affection. Hef studied hard and after graduation, he married his first wife fellow Northwestern student Mildred Williams in 1949 and had two children.
It was in 1953 Hef started the Playboy Empire from next to nothing. Hef was determined to bring sex and nudity out into the open at a time when fellow Americans dare not even talk about such matters beyond their own domain. The first edition of the top shelf Playboy magazine included shots of Marilyn Monroe. As well as its pictures of naked women, the magazine became famous for its high quality writing and made Hef an overnight success.
Further to the magazine, Hefner also opened nightclubs in the swinging 1960s and '70s, featuring scantily clad women known as "Bunnies."
The Playboy mansion was bought in 1971 and its sister mansion next door houses Hefs second wife and their three children. It is the exploits of the mansion that Izabella promises to kiss and tell during her two and a half years stay that is the focus of this book.
**** The Meeting *****
It was when Izabella began craving a social life, that she left the colder climbs for the party scene in Malibu. Putting her studies on hold, she was out clubbing one evening, when she met Hugh Hefner and his entourage aka girlfriends. Beyond the open necked silk shirts, this ageing lethario was a genial man who invited Izabella to join his group of friends and then progress into the world-famous Mansion as one of Hefs girlfriends.
***** Behind the Doors ******
Without revealing too much and spoiling the book, Izabella mentions the unmentionable but sparing the reader the full gory details. There is one chapter dedicated solely to what pleases Hef in his bedroom and what he expects of the girls. They have to have sex with the Viagra filled pensioner once a week, otherwise suspicions would be raised. If they didnt want full sex with Hef on that specified night, Izabella would be allowed to wear her underwear as a statement to the others that she was not to join in but was expected to watch.
Life with Hef and the other 6 girlfriends was not as she imagined and was by no means an easy meal ticket. Izabella and the other girls were all on an allowance and this was paid weekly as long as they asked for it. The salary was not as much as she would have earned as lawyer and she lived within a 9 oclock curfew. Basically if she wasnt out clubbing with Hef and the others, she had to be back in her room by 9 pm. If not, she would have to face an acquisition with Hef and risk having her allowance stopped for that week.
There were so many other rules and regulations laid down by Hef that is hard to believe that this young lady who refers to herself as intellectual actually stayed there for as long as she did. The girls were watched and spied on, everything was monitored, including how much food was brought to her room, how much alcohol was ordered and even how long the butler took to deliver it. This was because many other ex- girlfriends used to have extra portions with the messenger.
The mansion was also in need of a major overhaul as the décor and furnishings had not changed since its heyday in the 1960s. It was then when Hef was in his youth that the Mansion was renowned for its sex parties and orgies. The infamous grotto is still there and as Izabella points out, the water has since been changed. Apparently the grotto is now redundant and no longer sees any action as in previous years.
The seven girlfriends at that time did not live in Hefs bedroom every night; they were only called in for one nights action. So for company all girls had dogs in their own bedrooms and most of the pets were not house trained. The carpets and curtains smelt constantly of urine and if the butlers were not quick enough, there were piles of dog excrement around the girls living quarters.
Hef seems more interested in his landscaped gardens than maintaining his house. He is still renowned for his amazing parties, especially with the many A list celebrities that attend but the parties all held in the grounds of the mansion, not inside anymore.
The parties attract many because of the free flowing alcohol, delicious food and of course the scantily dressed women parading themselves around the lawn and pool. Hef is cautious about how many men attend as they present themselves as competition to the playboy himself so the guest list is always scrutinised. Jack Nicholson, Justin Timberlake and Leonardo de Caprio are regulars there so obviously poise no threat.
Izabella lists her reasons at the end of the book why she decided to end the relationship she had with Hef and why she left. There were no tears, she was not left heartbroken and was not in love, she just walked away with what dignity she had left. I still cannot understand why a young girl so intelligent let herself be used by this ageing sex machine. She must have thought she was onto a free meal ticket.
From what I gathered personally, Izabella was never asked to be the main girlfriend of Hef, so this book appears in parts to be written by someone suffering from a bad case of jealousy. She describes herself as legally blonde, so if thats the case why is there a large dark parting on the photo adorning the front page of this hard back book?
**** Conclusion ******
I was left slightly disappointed in this book as it promised to reveal all. Many questions were left unanswered from my point of view. For example, why do all of his girlfriends and playmates have to be blonde, real or not? Do the girls insist on an Aids test as Hef does not use condoms? What about his second wife who lives next door, do the girls ever feel remorse as they jump up and down on her pensioner husband?
I did learn some small piece of trivia, that being the difference between a Playmate and a Girlfriend. The Playmate takes her clothes off for the magazine but is not required to sleep with Hef, a Girlfriend gets the bedroom duty on a rota but not the centrefold.
Some parts of it, mainly the bedroom chapter are quite stomach churning. I personally do not find anything attractive about Hugh Hefner, even in his youth and if the blondes that adorn his sheets each night admitted it, they too no doubt would agree.
With hardly any glossy pictures, nothing is mentioned of the swinging 60s when the Playboy empire was at its peak. The only referral is the hallway covered in photographs of past guests which Izabella used to walk down and gaze at when she couldnt sleep. If you are hoping to read this and find some great gossip about celebrities you wont as she stays very tight lipped and there is no name dropping.
You do get a good insight into the way of life at the Mansion and just how frugal Hef is with his money. He will pay out for any breast implants required and nose jobs are allowed but he only buys the girls the cheapest wine for their personal consumption, not all outfits are paid by him either but from their allowance. I imagined it to be like a fairy tale castle but inside its quite the opposite. The girls are there for his personal enjoyment and not for the memorable experience.
I dont regret buying this and I did enjoy reading it, though I was hoping for more. Just under 300 pages, its not one book I wish to keep though and read again. The best place for this is in my EBay to sell account.
*** Website Links ****
http://www.playboy.com/magazine/ - self explanatory.
If you go onto the website http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0355570/, it shows you photographs of the girlfriends that Izabella shared her time with whilst living with Hef. Including Hefs favourite and long time girlfriend, Barbie Benton who is referred to many times in the book.
http://www.izabellastjames.com/ - With her very own website, Izabella refers to herself as a multi faceted, unique, intelligent and artistic woman. Lots of glamorous shots to view with next to nothing on. You can also contact Izabella through this website but she states only for professional reasons.
**** Purchasing ******
This book is widely available at the moment as it was only recently published in 2006. I purchased my copy from Amazon at £8 but the retail in the high street is around £11 depending on wear you buy it.
Check out www.thebookpeople.co.uk for very reasonable online prices and of course EBay!
ISBN: 10: 0-7624-2739-6
Published by Running Press
Available in hard back at present.