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Playboy celebrated 2018 Playmate of the Year Nina Daniele and a strong fiscal year at an invite-only boozy lunch at Beauty & Essex in Hollywood on Friday (May 4).
They made a smart choice with the media-savvy model, who came to the brand through her agent at high fashion agency One. Her cold open? “So, my aunt thinks I do porn – and I let her.” She won the room in ten words on her way to an impressive six-minute argument for female sexuality and empowerment. “Even though I’m French and Italian, I have a background of savage blood.”
These are the two people shaping the future of the 65-year-old brand: CEO Ben Kohn and CCO Cooper Hefner. Kohn announced an excess of $1.5 billion in annual sales and product sales in 180 countries, just shy of the 193 tally of members of the United Nations. “The rabbit head is one of the most recognized logos, with 97% global awareness.”
They will soon relocate the offices to Westwood from Beverly Hills, which nests them close to the former Playboy Mansion.
With her parents seated at her front row table, Daniele addressed the crowd noshing on a seven course family style lunch. “Taking your clothes off doesn’t imply empowerment. That’s too literal,” she said. “It implies that I don’t care what you have to say about my body. It is just the shell of the person inside and I refuse to let what you or society say about me dim my light and taint my truth as a person, as a human, and as a woman.”
In a nod to Playboy’s long affiliation with jazz music, the Super Lowery Brothers trio entertained.
The current issue with a new slogan “Entertainment for All” has profiles on the Planned Parenthood president, Apple music Czar Zane Lowe, and “late-night hell raiser” comic Jim Jefferies, posing here with the second generation ‘Hef’.
Hefner acknowledged that this was the first business year for him and the brand since the passing of his father at the Playboy Mansion last September. Daniele never got the chance to meet him.
“Of course I want attention, hello! Have you seen my Instagram? It’s called being an only child,” Daniele cracked. With the location at Beauty & Essex, it continues the partnership with sleek hospitality giant TAO Group, which hosts a weekly Playboy Pool Party every Friday at TAO Beach in Vegas.