That silhouette of a rabbit and its bow tie is undeniably one of the most recognized trademarks by the world today. Playboy, founded in 1953 by Hugh M. Hefner, has since been at the forefront of style and sexual liberation. It’s been a global media and lifestyle company for almost 60 years now and Playmate, Crystal McCahill, tells us a thing or two about the empire at its finest.
“You know, Hef even said it, there have been many that tried, like daughters of playmates, but I’m the first one, so it’s special to me.” Crystal’s mother, Gale Olson, was Miss August ‘68 but that didn’t automatically grant Crystal Playmate status. She had to get chosen. Crystal’s story began with the 55th Anniversary Playmate Search when she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps, continuing a legacy in Bunnyhood. It was then during a lunch at a Hooters when Bridget, Hef’s former girlfriend, spotted Crystal and asked her to be interviewed for a radio show. All the while, they were being filmed for an episode of The Girls Next Door only a few days after she auditioned. “It was just very serendipitous how everything came together and then they had me come out.” Crystal became a finalist in the nationwide search for the 55th Anniversary Playmate and it was an honor to be a part of it. “They made a big deal about the 55th-anniversary search, but Hef boiled it down from the six of us, down to three, which was now Hope, Dasha, and myself.” She recalled how exciting and nerve-racking it all was. Dasha Astafieva (@da_astafieva) ended up getting the 55th Anniversary Playmate, but Hef still made all of them Playmates since it was such a close competition.
Crystal McCahill is an actress and brand ambassador for Playboy Enterprises. She has appeared on several episodes of the reality TV series The Girls Next Door. She was Playmate of the Month in the May 2009 issue and is a second generation Bunny after her mother. She continues to represent the brand today and has 209,000 followers on Instagram (@crystalmccahill). Crystal is a previous resident of Los Angeles, Chicago-raised, and currently lives in Vegas. Now, back to the tales.
It was 2009, the year that Crystal was published in the issue and lived in the Bunny House across the street from the Playboy Mansion. Even after Dasha won, Crystal lived at the Bunny House for 3 years which is longer than most but it was difficult to leave as it was “the best place in the world since there were no rules.” She modestly retracted and said,
“There was actually only one rule and it was ‘don’t bring boys over,’ which I completely respected because it was for our safety. I don’t want to wake up in my panties, walk to the kitchen and there’s some dude there. So that was the only rule.”
Crystal was happy to stay as long as she did especially since being a Playmate didn’t mean that was your ticket to live there. Hef had to specially invite you.
Her take on life at the mansion was honestly, for the most part, just really family-oriented which is probably something no one expected the castle of an iconic sex empire to be like. There were old friends of Hef’s that have been going there for years, his brother Keith, and just family in general. By all means, there would still be nights when Crystal and a few bunnies would go into the grotto with a bottle of wine or two, butt naked for a swim and some girl talk, but that was standard. Only the staff were aware of this since they’ve seen it all. Everyone else would be asleep, and no boys allowed, so no one cared; the ladies sure didn’t.
The times when boys were allowed, were obviously at the parties. So it was time for the grub of all questions. We asked her what the parties were like and if they were everything one imagines a Playboy mansion party to be. She said,
“Of course! There were no rules remember? Everyone got drunk and silly but never too rowdy [key word, too]. DJ Ruckus would spin at some of the private parties that Hef hosted and Tiesto would be there too. There’d be risqué clothing like see-through tops with nipples out, naked women that were fully painted, and just revealing clothing you would never wear to a bar or a club but no one minded, of course, it was the norm.”
She went on about how the parties that Hef hosted were the most exclusive soirées that everyone wanted to be at but couldn’t since they were for private invitees only and non-ticketed so you were sh*t out of luck unless you knew him personally. There would be the occasional ‘topless woman with a swarm of dudes gawking at them like idiots’ but the said topless were never one of the Playmates and this would only happen at the parties that were rented out, meaning not hosted by Hef. Guests at these parties would not be allowed inside the mansion or near it, so those were obviously not as entertaining.
There were epic amenities like an exotic zoo with monkeys, parrots, and 2 African cranes that were pricks to everyone, except for one security guard they were actually quite fond of, according to Crystal. The Game House had retro arcade games, a pool table, and a juke box with all of the classic hits like Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me To The Moon.’ There were a couple of interesting rooms, one specifically was called ‘the van room’ since it was covered in vintage shag carpeting with mirrors and cushioning enclosing the floor boards to sit and lean against so it authentically resembled the back of a mustard yellow 70’s van.
We had to ask more about the mirrors around the mansion. “Oh they ALL had mirrors. Come on, girl!” Her response was a bit deprecating but completely justified since this knowledge should have been known to all.
“I’m sure they [rooms/mirrors] were for whatever you felt like doing which could’ve meant literally too. There was no judgement…back in the 70s/80s FOR SURE there were a lot more interesting things that happened there, I missed it by a few decades.” (I’ll let your minds wander on that.)
Hef’s two sons, Marston and Cooper, actually lived at this house next door and they became like Crystal’s little brothers. While some might argue this, it’s not uncommon for older ‘siblings’ to give you moderated shots of Jameson while saying “don’t tell [your] dad!” to get a little tipsy. “The court is in session!” would be one of their secret phrases they’d have for this kind of classic rendezvous.
“I haven’t seen Marsh in a while but Cooper (@cooperbhefner) is such a special kid. He’s totally the spitting image of Hef and is such a gentleman with that old school mentality.”
They are practically twins if you’re referencing the iconic photo of Hef with a pipe back in the 70s. Someone should tell Cooper to reenact that.
Crystal said, after a while the parties were all the same especially after Hef stopped hosting them so she had to make them more entertaining somehow, right?
“Marston, Cooper, and I would go around the mansion and make adventures out of it. Like, ‘Let’s go see who’s having sex somewhere’ and it was funny because we actually never caught anybody – EXCEPT – one person and it was so bad. We went to the grotto, nobody was doing it, we went to the back zoo, no one, [and we’re all like, damn] so we went over to the game house and peeked through the window and it was, [what’s his name?], Corey Feldman.” [insert mortified laughter]
Of course out of all people they’d find the hidden treasure of The Goonies himself. “Ewwwww” was all that they could muster since the sight was scarring but also hilarious.
“We saw his butt. It did not look very fun. He was looking at himself in the mirror and just twirling his little bang. It was so funny and creepy at the same time…I never went back there [the game house] again.”
Long live The Goonies and Corey’s little bang; pun intended.
As we composed ourselves, she continued, “I do have a funny story. So my mom dated him right? [Hef]” Her mother, Gale Olson, dated Hugh Hefner for three years back in the 60’s and she was head-over-heels in love with him. He was at his ultimate prime [again, think of the iconic pipe photo]. Crystal was living at the bunny house and felt comfortable with everyone at this point so she was able to bring her mother out for a dinner at the mansion. The dining room had a long table with blue velvet chairs that were big enough to fit two people so Crystal shared a seat with her mother as they had a meal with Hef and all of the Bunnies. Crystal yawned as it was getting late and Hef saw so he asked, “Oh, is it time for bed?” He was looking over at them so her mother instinctually responded, “Oh, is that an invitation?” This was said in front of everyone so Crystal was, again, mortified. “I don’t think even he heard her, just everybody else did and I’m just like ‘MOM! [muffled]’ I mean it’s kind of good game I guess.” And that it was, since ‘game recognize game’. You really can’t take the game out of the player even if the player is out of the game so kudos to Gale for that one.
When Hefner initially invited Crystal to live at the mansion, it wasn’t just because she was a new Bunny. “Hef was sweet. We had a great connection. I must have reminded him of my mom or someone because he was interested in dating me after him and Holly broke up. He asked me to become main girlfriend and I didn’t know really what to say and so I said, ‘sure!’ because he wanted me to take over the show [The Girls Next Door].” So for the next few months, the butlers and everyone in general were making arrangements for her to move in and be the main girlfriend. Hef invited Crystal out to a Halloween party before the big move into the mansion, just to see how it was, and as soon as she got there, he also asked the twins to become the other girlfriends (Karissa & Kristina Shannon; @karissashannon1, @kristinashannon1). That was when Crystal realized she needed clarification.
“So when I got to the mansion I asked Hef right away if we could do a talk. We went up to his room and I asked him, ‘What does it entail to be your girlfriend?’ and he said, ‘Well, my girlfriends are my real girlfriends.’”
That’s when it dawned on her so she had to respond by saying, “I love you Hef but you know that you were with my mom right?” and he said he was hoping I wouldn’t mind. So I said, ‘Thank you but I have to respectfully decline.’ He was a little sad but totally understood, and that’s why he still invited me to live at the bunny house. He just always had that place in his heart for me which was sweet.” Crystal had the chance to be Hefner’s main girlfriend which would have been a huge deal in terms of her status as a Playmate but our girl has morals. No one should want to be where their mom has been and Crystal agreed,
“Definitely not. And honestly I love Hef but I’m just not attracted to him either. So thank god I had my mom, ‘Thanks, mom!’”
As charming as Hef was, it was 2009 and he was born in 1926 so, math. But Hef in his 40s or even 50s would have been a knock out….that’s when Crystal jumped in, “Oh yeah then game on. If my mom hadn’t dated him, of course, let’s clarify this. She was in LOVE with him…”
We went back to the topic of parties and I asked her about the familiar faces [celebrities] that would attend.
“I think the coolest person was Bruce Willis. The Bunny House movie premiere party was at the mansion so he was there with Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, and his daughter Rumer. They were all there together so it was nice. And it was funny because in the movie, Anna Faris has to say people’s names in the creepiest way in order to remember them so when Bruce asked me for my name, he was like, ‘Crystal, KRUH-STUL!’ it was priceless.”
Some other familiar faces in attendance at these kind of private soirées were America’s favorite uncle, John Stamos, and Encino Man’s, Pauly Shore, Even Ron Jeremy would always be at the parties. “He’s so gross. But still, girls, well, maybe not the Playmates, were all over him.” We had to ask if Hef was a fan of him.
“I mean, Hef was very passive. There were a lot of people who just kept coming to the parties. But if anyone messed with or disrespected any of the girls, they were gone. Hef was extremely no tolerance about that. He was just such a sweet gentleman.”
New Years Eve was always her favorite party because the whole family was there, so all of the Playmates, and all of the people that were actual friends with Hef. It was smaller and more intimate, a ticket couldn’t be purchased. There were multiple open bars throughout the mansion, tons of food, and floors to dance on. Hef had a fireworks license and was the only property in Beverly Hills who was allowed to have one so Fourth of Julys at the mansion were always fun too. “I brought my ex, John, once. He was like a kid at a candy store. He was just jumping around on the trampoline all day. I’m like, ‘I would like to have sex in the mansion because I’ve never done it!’ and he’s just on the trampoline the whole time…I couldn’t get him off the trampoline! It was so annoying.” Takeaway: the hurdle to a man’s heart is apparently anything that bounces; another pun intended.