- Katie Warren/Business Insider
- Some think the terms can be used interchangeably, but a Playboy Bunny and a Playboy Playmate are actually not the same.
- Bunnies are hired solely to be cocktail servers and hostesses in the Playboy Clubs, while Playmates are featured in the iconic “Centerfold” in Playboy magazine, according to a Playboy spokesperson.
- Unlike “Bunny,” “Playmate” is considered a lifelong title.
- Sometimes – but not often – someone can be both a Bunny and a Playmate.
Years after the last original Playboy Club closed down and even after the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in 2017, the women who don the iconic Playboy Bunny outfits still draw fascination and curiosity.
With the recent opening of a new Playboy Club in New York City, Playboy Bunnies are once again part of the nightlife scene.
You’ve probably heard the terms Playboy Bunny and Playmate tossed around interchangeably – but they’re actually completely different roles, a Playboy spokesperson told Business Insider.
“A Playmate is the woman featured in the magazine (representing a particular month) in a pictorial that includes the iconic ‘Centerfold,'” Playboy spokesperson Teri Thomerson told Business Insider. “Playmates occasionally appear in Bunny costumes for special events, but do not provide a service hospitality component.”
- Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy
As of December 2018, 777 women have been given the title of “Playboy Playmate” since the inception of the magazine, according to Playboy.
Bunnies, one the other hand, “are hired to be cocktail servers and hostesses only,” Thomerson said.
Each Bunny is given a custom-fitted costume that includes a bodysuit, matching ears, collar and cuffs, a bow tie, cuff-links, a Bunny tail, a nameplate, stockings, and shoes.
- Larry French/Getty Images for Playboy
More than 25,000 Bunnies have worked at Playboy Clubs worldwide over the years, starting with the Bunnies at the first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1960.
But in some cases, Playmates can also be Bunnies, Thomerson said.
Marilyn Cole was Playboy’s 1973 Playmate of the Year and also worked as a Bunny at the London Playboy Club from 1971 to 1974, according to Thomerson.
- Popperfoto/Getty Images
While Bunnies may come and go, Playmates are for life.
“Once a Playmate, always a Playmate, which means we never refer to them as ‘ex’ or ‘former,'” Thomerson said.
Some Playmates are only involved in a one-time appearance in the magazine as Playmate of the Month, Thomerson said, but “there are many Playmates who have remained involved for years, appearing in multiple pictorials and attending special Playboy events as brand ambassadors, oftentimes wearing the Bunny costume.”