Izabella St. James has firsthand knowledge of living life behind closed doors at the Playboy Mansion as one of Hugh Hefner’s famous Girlfriends. Her adventure began when she was asked to move in during April 2002 and become one of a posse of seven Girlfriends. For the next two and a half years, Izabella lived a life that most of us can only dream about. When she finally left the Playboy Mansion, Holly, Bridget & Kendra, were firmly established as the three Girlfriends featured in the reality series, “The Girls Next Door”. Izabella went on with her life, but in this book, she tells the story of how a girl that has a law degree ended up in Hugh Hefner’s bed. She answers all the questions we ever had about what exactly happens behind those doors. I had to read this book. While browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble looking for something fun to read, and being a big fan of “The Girls Next Door”, my curiosity got the best of me.
We’re always told that the glamorous life always ends up not being quite what we imagined, and this story seems to verify that adage. But that’s not to say that Izabella didn’t have loads of fun and games before becoming discontented.
Even though her upbringing was filled with strife and uncertain times, she feels her childhood was a happy one, and it allowed her to live in places all over the world. Eventually, Izabella found herself attending law school in Los Angeles. In between her rigorous school schedule, she became a bona fide Malibu beach bunny with her pretty blonde good looks. It didn’t take long before she was discovered by Hugh Hefner at one of the many parties he attended. And eventually, she was asked to move in to the famous Playboy Mansion as one of Hef’s Girlfriends. After much soul searching, Izabella decided to allow herself the experience of being caught up in the wild and crazy life she was being offered.
Izabella’s story describes, in great detail, how Hugh Hefner manages to have a relationship with multiple girls at any given time, and exactly what that entails. Without going into too many details here in my review, let’s just say it involves several girls, all exploring their sexuality, in Hef’s bed, after a night of drinking and partying. Even though that sounds very sexy, the reality is a little different than what we imagine it to be. Hugh Hefner, after all, is an elderly gentleman, and is mainly able to get these pretty young girls to romp around with because of the lifestyle that he provides for them. Not for his skills as a lover. Living life at the Mansion for these girls does have its limitations, as well as many perks.
The up side of living at the Mansion includes days of lolling around the heated pool and the famous Grotto. The girls have a staff of people at the Mansion to cater to their every need. Hugh Hefner is generous when it comes to the girls having plastic surgery, especially breast implants. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone. However, they were also able to get nose jobs and dental work done to improve their looks. All their medical and dental expenses were paid for. They received an allowance in order to buy great clothes to attend the many parties and Playboy functions that they went to. At those outings, the girls were able to meet many famous people, including movie stars and rock stars.
Now the down side. Yes, there’s a down side. Izabella describes the rules of the Mansion, such as a 9:00 PM curfew for the girls if they went out without Hef, and going out without him, was discouraged. She said it was difficult at times, since these were all young girls, full of life, who wanted to go out and have fun. She admitted that life was actually boring most of the time. When they did get to go out to a party or function, they were usually required to stay in a very protected area near Hef and his security people and were isolated from the rest of the crowd. And Hef usually wanted to leave early. As you can imagine, there was also a lot of competition among the girls as well to get, and keep, Hugh Hefner’s attention. Tension was high living at the Mansion.
For most of us living our usual humdrum lives, we imagine life at the Playboy Mansion to be full of fun, great sex, and lots of wealth. But after reading Izabella’s story, it’s easy to see how our imaginations are sometimes a bit skewed from reality. I was curious to see what made her decide to move in to the Mansion, what shenanigans went on when she lived there, and also what led up to her leaving after a little over two years.
In her book, Izabella manages to explain it all , including the final blow-up. She answers questions that the reality show, “The Girls Next Door”, doesn’t answer. One of the saddest things I read in the book was how about a year after Izabella left the Mansion, she received an invitation to attend one of the parties. She decided to go, wanting to see Hugh Hefner again, just as a friend. When she saw him and said “hi”, he looked at her like he barely recognized her. The whole thing made Izabella feel awkward and uncomfortable. How sad that was all that was left after her living in his home for all that time.
“Bunny Tales” was such an interesting read, since it’s a true story, and a fascinating one at that. If you’re looking for a book that takes you away on a fantasy about a life that’s very different from your own, then this is a good one to pick up. It’s juicy, full of gossip and name-dropping, and most importantly, it answers our questions about sex at the Playboy Mansion. At least that was MY number one curiosity!