Aside from the clickety-clack of her stilettos, the studio is dead silent. Moments later, having wended her way in front of the camera, Lindsay Lohan stares playfully into the lens–through it, in fact. After widening her stance, she raises her chin and drops her arms to her sides, allowing her gold robe to slip from her shoulders. Save for the expensive footwear, she is suddenly–mercifully–naked. After months of dedicated prayer and endless negotiation, Our Lady of TMZ has revealed her ultimate secret. She has communed with the tarnished saints, Norma Jeane et al. No wonder it’s so damn quiet. For those bearing witness, the fact that this shoot–this pop culture meta-event–is happening at all seems miraculous in itself. No need to reflect on how we got here–the courtroom drama, the Hail Mary hearings–we’re just thankful it’s where we are. Meanwhile, outside the studio, a cacophony grows. Airtight nondisclosure agreements and blood oaths notwithstanding, it turns out the entire world knows exactly what Lindsay is up to, how much the magazine is paying her and why it is or isn’t the best or worst thing any famous person, living or dead, has ever done. By nightfall, "Lindsay Lohan Playboy" is a trending topic on Google. By the next morning, millions of people around the globe have weighed in on the matter, asking mostly the same questions: Why would she? Who is she? Hell, even the panty-waists at The New York Times will devote a column to the topic. From where we’re standing, the answer is simple: She’s a grown-ass woman, we paid her a pretty penny and half the earth’s population wanted to see her naked. As for who she is, you’ll have to take Lindsay at her word: This is the beginning, not the end of her career–a millennial hat tip to Drew Barrymore, perhaps. In rehab by the time she hit her teens, with her secrets splashed all over the checkout aisle, Drew appeared in the January 1995 issue at the age of 19, and by 1998 she was back on top in The Wedding Singer–a star again, for all the right reasons. And let’s not forget how Lindsay got here. She first turned heads in Hollywood as the precocious 11-year-old star of Disney’s Parent Trap remake. Leading roles in Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and Herbie: Fully Loaded soon followed, cementing her rep as an actress with superior chops. She released a couple of albums that sold well, poked around in fashion and started exploring more serious roles. But then…well, to vastly oversimplify, let’s just say that a 2007 DUI arrest and a penchant for late-night shenanigans promptly turned her into a tabloid caricature, and it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride ever since. But always there was the talent. The absurdity of Lindsay’s current position in the celebrity-industrial complex has not gone unnoticed.