Girls Gone Not So Wild

Debunking the Playboy-OCC urban legend

Orange Coast College's spring semesterstarted this week, so its male students will once again share seats with female scholars who are hot: heaven in flip-flops and peekaboo thongs, with tanned bellies and breasts, wearing skimpy clothes whether there's a diluvial torrent or unforgiving summer rays.

The girls of OCC are an institution, so much so that if you stick around campus long enough, someone will eventually mention that no less an authority than Playboy once deemed OCC's coeds the country's sexiest. I heard the boast while attending the Costa Mesa community college during the late 1990s; friends tell me they knew about it during the '80s. Even The Orange County Register subscribes to the tale: in a 1998 reflection on the school's 50th anniversary, the Register reported that Orange Coast "is said to enroll some of the most attractive students in the country."

What a great reputation for OCC, which matches beauty with brainpower as one of the state's premier community colleges. And what a tragedy that Orange Coast's Playboy coronation is actually a bald-faced lie.

Debunking this urban legend is shockingly simple. On Playboy's website, an introduction to its web-only "Best Looking Colleges" feature reveals that its 2002 list was its first ever. "According to the legend," wrote staffer Frances Huffman, "Playboy published a list of the colleges with the best-looking girls—and students at every college believe their school appeared on that list. The story, alas, is all myth."

"I would think that because Playboy sets such high standards for beauty, why wouldn't people want to say that about their school?" said Teri Thomerson, who works at Playboy's PR department, when asked why the urban legend persists. "That would be a natural—if you want to start a rumor about how hot the girls on your campus are, why wouldn't you want to associate them with Playboy?"

The origin of the Playboy-OCC myth is murky, but some bits of truth emerge from the speculation. In 1984, Playboypublisher Hugh Hefner rewarded Orange County with our first-ever Playmate of the Year: Barbara Edwards, a 1978 graduate of Irvine's University High School. A press release touting her stats noted that Edwards won an Orange Coast College art scholarship as a prep senior, then transferred to Saddleback Community College before dropping out for good after the 23-year-old became the September 1983 Playmate of the Month.

Edwards' Playmate coronation received little, if any, mainstream local press at the time. But the national image of Orange County as a mecca for beautiful people was beginning to coalesce. The same year Edwards' spread hit the stands, Anaheim resident Debra Maffett became this county's first and only Miss America. Television shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich and Famousportrayed a county where affluence was joining conservatism as our ruling political philosophy. And companies such as Quiksilver and OP marketed the fashion and lifestyle of coastal Orange County—which then and now provides OCC with much of its student body—to the world.

What's more, some of OCC's alumni have given credence to its beautiful-people myth. The 1997 issue of Playboy's annual College Girls issue featured OCC student Carmella Keyse; the previous year published photos of fellow Pirates Celeste Lichtenberger and Susan Babineau.

(If you're keeping tabs at home, Playboyhas featured seven Cal State Fullerton coeds in its College Girls specials, while UC Irvine bests all local schools with an incredible nine. But caveat lector: Playboy put all the Titan and Anteater models in early 1990s issues highlighting the "Girls of the Big West," which meant the competition was from loser schools such as Fresno State, Long Beach State and the University of the Pacific. In Stockton. Moooo.)

But arguably Orange Coast's most famous Playboy-related alumni is Ally. The surname-less porno actress appeared on the Jan. 8, 2003, broadcast of the Howard Stern Show on all fours, with an 18-inch stick protruding from her ass. The occasion was the debut of Anal Ring Toss, a game in which contestants throw rings at a tochis-grounded rod. Stern and his gang enjoyed the game so much that Ally was invited to appear the following day for a special Celebrity Anal Ring Toss.

Ally returned, and actor Steve Guttenberg lost to Stern sidekick Artie Lange for the title "Lord of the Anal Rings" (former rap star Hammer and diminutive actor Emmanuel Lewis, alas, refused to participate). After the game concluded, Stern interviewed Ally. It turned out she had previously appeared on the Stern show's "Playboy Evaluation" segment. Ally also disclosed that she was studying medicine at Orange Coast in the hopes of becoming an RN.

Stern didn't believe she actually attended school and asked co-host Robin Quivers, a former nurse, to quiz Ally. Ally failed spectacularly: she couldn't spell "physician" or remember the chemical compound for salt. Stern concluded the bit with a plug for Ally's website—and, thus, the Playboy-OCC legend continues.

Playboy hosts a casting call in Newport Beach for its College Girls, Lingerie and Vixens special editions. Thurs., Feb. 10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call (800) 665-0913 for location and to schedule a test shoot.

GARELLANO@OCWEEKLY.COM

 
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