This year's winner is Bunny Emily (Bunnies are only referred to by their first name), a 26-year-old aspiring actor and dancer from Croydon.
She has worked as a VIP hostess at the iconic club in Mayfair, London, for two years and described her experience working there, even down to the "X Factor-style" interview she went through to land the job, as "amazing".
Her highlight has been winning Bunny of the Year, which is selected from up to 12 girls who have been awarded Bunny of the Month that year.
"It still hasn't sunk in," Emily admitted.
"To even be nominated for Bunny of the Month you have to have 100 per cent attendance, no sickness or lateness, and your Bunny image has to be on point – you have to come in with the correct uniform, hair and make-up.
"Everyone in the building votes, so it’s also down to your service and your attitude, and if you do something special that helps someone.
"Me and my plus one get flown to Los Angeles, and I'll shoot for Playboy, which is incredible. I’m taking my sister with me.
"Obviously they pay for all our flights, a five star hotel, they’ve got me a spa day, and I get to meet everyone and go to head office."
Emily said her parents and her boyfriend fully support her working at Playboy.
"My mum and dad are very open-minded, I'm so lucky," she said.
"When I won Bunny of the Month I got to bring my mum in for dinner, and she had the best time. The managers were coming up to introduce themselves and we got the most unbelievable service; they treated me like a princess.
"Playboy is such an iconic brand, even my granddad went into the original Playboy club. I have a boyfriend and he doesn’t mind me working there at all.
"It’s just a normal job, I shouldn’t have to have a sit-down conversation where I’m like, ‘Look, I work as a Playboy Bunny’, because I’m a hostess in an amazing venue and part of an iconic brand, and that should be celebrated."
When it comes to the famous Bunny costume, Emily told how there are very strict "traditions" they have to adhere to – and they're inspected before every shift.
Emily explained: "When you get the job, everyone’s costume is fitted to them individually – we have a seamstress who works with us all the time, she's like a magician.
"We’re not allowed to take our costumes home. Everything is taken care of for us.
"There are very strict guidelines; you have to have regulation tights, shoes and nail colour – there is a 50-year-old 'Bunny standard'. You also have to cover any piercings or tattoos.
"But every girl still looks different. You walk in the club and and there’s curvy girls, tall girls, every ethnicity, girls with big boobs, big bums, different hair colours and styles, it’s so refreshing."
The Playboy Bunny Costume Checklist
According to the Bunny Manual: "The Playboy Bunny and her distinctive costume represent one of the world’s most iconic and recognisable symbols.
"It is an image that speaks of the good life, fun, excitement, sophistication and charm.
"Achieving Playboy Bunny status is highly coveted, so it is important our standards remain high across the globe."
The role of the Bunny Mother is to ensure each Bunny is ‘Bunny perfect’. Here is what they look out for:
- Costume – Must be clean, tailored to the individual and properly accessorised. The costume includes the "shell" (body corset), matching Bunny ears, white Bunny tail, white collar and cuffs, a black bow tie, Playboy Bunny cufflinks, a name badge, black shoes and black tights. The Bunny costume is the only uniform to be issued a trademark registration by the US government
- Shoes must be well polished and scuff free
- Tights – two pairs in good condition
- Bunny ears – These should be placed into the hair, on top of the crown of the head, with the bottom of the headband behind the (human) ears, which should not be visible. Pins should be the same colour as your hair
- Hair – healthy, neat and clean
- Make-up – A Bunny’s make-up is the enhancement of her own natural beauty and must be perfect and flattering. Smokey eyes are preferred.
- Nails – Must be well manicured, tasteful in colour if painted and free from chips
- Correct Bunny name must be displayed on your badge and cuffs
- No personal accessories or jewellery are allowed to be worn
Anyone can apply to be a Bunny, and all successful candidates undergo a tailored eight-week training programme and assessment to "earn their ears".
Fewer than eight per cent of the girls who apply to be a bunny are hired, with over 60 currently working at the club either full-time or part-time.
Speaking about the casting, Emily recalled: "It felt like Boot Camp on the X Factor! They only took two of us, and there were about 30 or 40 that came.
"It’s an amazing experience. You meet all the staff, some of the bunnies – who are really friendly and happy to answer questions – you watch some videos of back in the day and the original Playboy, then you get into groups.
"You do all these funny tasks, it’s so relaxed, but at the same time you’re really nervous because you want it and there’s so many other girls there.
"They give you lunch, it was incredible, you walk away thinking, 'Even if I didn’t get it, I had a great day and met some great people'. They even gave you a goody bag, it had really cute stuff in it, little Playboy chocolates, Playboy pens, a Playboy lipstick – they really took care of us and we hadn’t even got the job then."
She admitted there is a stigma around working at the club, which is famous for its uninhibited, flamboyant atmosphere, but insists most of it is down to a lack of understanding of the brand.
"It’s one of those brands that, it is what it is, and it won’t change," said Emily, who works there four days a week.
"I think the main misconception about Playboy is what the girls do – it’s so the opposite of that it’s insane.
"Playboy’s incredible at supporting every single person as an individual. It's empowering for women, and they embrace your skills. When you become a Playboy Bunny, they know your strengths and talents and they encourage that.
The exclusive Playboy Club Bunny service
One of the most iconic characteristics of the Playboy Bunny is the unique way she serves customers. There are three exclusive signature styles and anyone who becomes a Bunny will be trained to execute them all perfectly.
When a Bunny sets napkins or drinks on the far end of a table, she does not reach across awkwardly – she does the Bunny Dip.
This keeps her tray away from the guests and allows her to give graceful, stylised service.
The Bunny Dip is performed by arching the back as much as possible and then bending the knees to the necessary degree.
Raise the left heel as you bend the knee.
When in view of the guests, a Bunny should stand in a slightly exaggerated model’s stance, one leg slightly in front of the other with toe pointing, shoulders back, pelvis tucked well under and the tray balanced on her fingertips at shoulder height, ready to serve.
There should never be more than two Bunnies in a row at one time.
To sit, perch on the back of a chair or sofa or on a railing while waiting to be of service, keep both feet on the floor with hand on hip.
"If I got a job that took me away for a while they’d be cool with that – there are girls that have their own businesses, who are mothers, some of the girls have choreographed dances for the Playboy events, and another Bunny was a Dj and DJ-ed at our events.
"We are looked after, respected and our needs come first. I’ve never felt more comfortable, more safe, more looked after in a workplace in my life.
"For me it’s perfect; it’s creative and it's amazing when people come in and want to take pictures with you because they are a fan of the brand. That’s when I feel like a real Bunny.
"I meet new people everyday, you never know who will walk through the door. My job always keeps me on my toes!"
Speaking about Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's passing last year, Emily said: "It made me quite emotional – obviously we wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for Hef and his little idea that turned into something so incredible and iconic.
"For him to all of a sudden just be gone, it was really sad. But you keep it together, as a Bunny that’s your nature.
"His son comes regularly, and out of respect and dignity you put on your make-up and you carry on. It's made us even more proud and determined to carry on his legacy and support the brand."
Last month we told how a former Playboy Bunny and great-grandma became the world’s oldest underwear model at 83.
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