“I’m not the girl with the ribbon holding her pinkie in her mouth, giggling," says 1994 Playmate of the Year Jenny McCarthy."I still have that side to me, but this really strong chick came out.” That reversal, that impulse to surprise, is part of what has made Jenny one of the most beloved, famous and atypical women alive. If you’ve seen any of her three previous pictorials—from ingenue October 1993 Playmate to fierce Playmate of the Year (1994) to frisky cover girl cavorting poolside in Palm Springs (2005)—you’ve seen Jenny’s evolution as a sex symbol. If you’ve followed her entertainment career—from game-show host to comedienne to best-selling author—you’ve seen her evolution as a subverter of that label.
Jenny’s 2012 Playboy magazine cover came at a time when the mainstream media is shocked—shocked!—by the breakout success of the best-selling “mommy porn” novel Fifty Shades of Grey. What does Jenny make of this? “It goes back to the stereotyping and confused collective thought that if a woman enjoys sex, she’s a slut and a whore,” she says. “We all have clitorises and we all have orgasms. Why the hell wouldn’t we want some raunchy stuff?”