Selling over eight million copies upon its initial release, the March 1989 issue of Playboy stands as one of the best-selling editions of magazine ever. And we owe that almost entirely to La Toya Jackson , the King of Pop's sister who'd rather not be referred to as such. In the below interview, La Toya makes it clear that in 1989, she was looking to step out from under her younger brother's and family's shadow. In the below pictorial, she most certainly does.
When La Toya Jackson left home, she took off the rest, And the world…well, judge for yourself.
Latoya is a lady for the Ninties: She can just say no to drugs in one breath and whisper a defiant yes to nudity in the next.
Her idea of a rock video is to team up with Nancy Reagan, Herb Alpert, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michele lee and David Hasselhoff for an antidrug hymn, Stop the Madness. She once demonstrated her idea of a good time by riding a motorcycle onto the stage of the restored Ford’s Theatre to serenade President Ronald Reagan.
La Toya is a member of America’s reigning song-and-dance dynasty. Our British cousins have the royal family; we have the Jackson bunch and the Kennedy clan. Of the two, we’d rather dance to the former. Imagine, if you can, growing up in a heavily guarded compound in Encino, California, listening to Michael, Jermaine, Rebbie , Marlon, Randy, Jackie, Janet and Tito sing in the shower. Imagine growing up in a family in which five of your siblings had their own Sunday-morning cartoon show. It took 31 years for the La Toya to beat it, but when she did, she did it with style.
She was born with a gift of great value – her family name. There is no shallow end to the Jackson gene pool. A singer in her own right, she has released three successful (at least by any other family’s standards (albums. By the age of 27, she had launched her own line of leatherwear, David Laurenz for La Toya (she wore the clothes for all of her public appearances), and her own line of body oil, La Toya Jackson bath oil (which we assume she wore in all of her private appearances. We’ll take a tubful.
But for La Toya, the Jackson name carried its own burden. What do you do when the whole world think you look like your younger brother?
Change your image, that’s what. The process started with the cover of her third album, simply titled La Toya, on which she appears in a heavily rhinestoned bra. The bra is held in place by a pair of heavy black suspenders, which are attached to satin pants with a deeply plunging front. Rumor has it that when the church fathers of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation to which brother Michael belonged heard of it, they asked him to denounce his sister. These are the elders of a church for which Michael, dressed in disguise, collected money. He refused.
La Toya’s next step towards self-revelation was accepting an offer to pose for Playboy. “I used to always cover my body from head to toe,” she says, “but that was just me. I guess my shyness came from growing up the way I did, being so sheltered and having a strict father.”
To help her relax in a certain amount of seclusion, Playboy rented an entire stage – the Neil Simon Theatre in New York – for the shooting. “I was still nervous, she says. “I insisted that there be no one on the set Stephen (contributing photographer Stephen Wayda). He had to do everything by himself – moving lights, lifting props, adjusting screens and all the other things he would usually have assistants to help him with. He looked haggard, with sweat pouring off him. I felt so sorry for him. I thought to myself, This poor man going through all of this just for half a nipple!”
It’s a dirty job, and there are only about 100,000,000 guys in America who would have died to change places with him. But La Toya soon relaxed and came through with the other half of the nipple, and more. It helped that one of the props on the set was a live 60-pound boa constrictor. That made her feel right at home. “we grew up with lots of pets, and there were always snakes around. I wasn;t the slightest but nervous working with it. All I wanted to know was when it had last been fed. They said just two days earlier, so I wasn’t worried. Boas aren’t dangerous unless they’re hungry.” Got that, guys? If you want to impress someone like La Toya, take along a carload of recently fed boa constrictors. Or, better yet, ride a motorcycle. “I’ve always loved motorcycles. I’ve always felt that women on motorcycles look powerful, strong. No matter what qualities you associate with a woman, you always change your idea when you see her on a motorcycle.” Whatever ideas we had about la Toya before we saw these photos, they have changed. We realize now: She doesn’t look a bit like whats-his-name.