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Izabella St. James Interview

Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion By Izabella St. James

If the title intrigues you, then the contents should satisfy you.

It’s not great writing, but it works. The book reads like Izabella is talking to you.

She writes:

I never saw him come while having sex with anyone; he always masturbated. And it was always the same: too much baby oil, his hand, and the visual support of porn… (pg. 154)

Hef was not a good lover. No passion, no physical abilities, never a moment where I thought, Wow. (pg. 155)

I never saw Hef use condoms. Period. He wiped himself off with a wet bath towel prepared by Holly in advance after he had sex with each girl and before the next…

The thing about the bedroom is, you’re not seduced, and you’re not always there by choice. You’re there because it’s a rule — an unspoken rule. (pg. 156)

…Whenever a Girlfriend wanted something, she would have to participate more in the bedroom. (pg. 159)

The book ends: “I thank God for all the blessings bestowed upon me.”

I talk to Izabella by phone Wednesday afternoon 5/30/07 after trading 18 emails with her over the past three months trying to nail down this interview.

It was worth the aggravation.

Izabella: “I’m sorry. I’m redoing my bathroom. I started painting this morning and every time I was like, I should call him now, I had to finish a whole wall…”

Luke: “I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard for an interview.”

Izabella: “I have family in Canada. My best friends live all over the world. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been visiting.”

Luke: “When you were a child, what was your dream?”

Izabella: “I wanted to be a diplomat, to work at the U.N. or UNICEF or to be an ambassador.”

Luke: “What crowd were you in in high school?”

Izabella: “High school was such a horrible place for many kids. I was in the cool crowd… I was a nerd. I loved studying. I played soccer.”

Luke: “What was your relationship like with your father?”

Izabella: “My dad’s the disciplinarian in the family. My mom and I are best friends and have this unconditional love…”

Luke: “Were you ever promiscuous?”

Izabella: “No. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was almost 17.”

After graduating from Pepperdine Law School, Izabella failed the Bar Exam twice.

Luke: “What was the inspiration for writing your book?”

Izabella: “My friends…who constantly asked me questions. Anything from ‘What does Hef like to eat?’ to ‘What did you girls do at the mansion?’ to ‘What does the mansion look like?’ A variety of questions on a daily basis.”

“I had started writing a journal to reflect on my decision to move into the mansion after law school…”

“After I left the mansion, I got an agent immediately…”

Luke: “What was the process like of writing the book?”

Izabella: “Procrastination, panic, and staying up every day and night for a month and writing it.”

“I started with the easy things — describing the mansion, describing the parties, who came, what we wore… I left the hardest things, reflecting on my own choices, my relationship with Hef, the sexual aspect of the relationship…to the end. It was hard for me to write things that were so personal.”

“As I’m writing this book, I’m discovering how I feel and having little epiphanies.”

“I saw people criticize it as I’m not being consistent… I do have more than one feeling about Hef, the situation, my decision… Nothing is black and white for me. It was emotional. Many nights in tears.”

“I wrote it all by myself. Every page. At the end, and it’s completely the fault of my publisher, the final copy submitted, after my editor and I spent six hours on the phone and went over every word and for some reason that was the not the copy that went to print.”

“I was upset. I had worked so hard. For people to think that I didn’t take the time to edit it…”

“I received only two hate [mails] and these people were upset with me for betraying Hef’s secrets.”

“It’s been hard on a personal level because people know so many details about my personal life. You feel so exposed.”

Luke: “Did you ever appear in Playboy magazine?”

Izabella: “No, I did not.”

“I have never posed naked.”

Luke: “What do you love and hate about being interviewed?”

Izabella: “That’s a really great question. I love seeing what kind of questions peple ask because it tells me whether they’ve read the book, whether they understand where I’m coming from, or whether they are just trying to use the interview to take jabs…

“I hate when people come to the interview with a set perception… They’re asking you questions to embarrass you… They’re questions are really judgments framed in the form of a question.”

“I did some 800 radio stations. I had some people who would get on the phone and would be set in what they wanted me to say and I didn’t say it and they’d get upset. It taught me a lot about interviewing. That is something that I’d love to get into.”

Luke: “At what time in your life were you the happiest?”

Izabella: “When I was at McGill University in Montreal… I believed I could become a diplomat and work on behalf of women in the world or the children of the world and make a difference. That’s when I met my best friends.”

Luke: “How did Hef react to your book?”

Izabella: “At first I got a letter from his attorney. He wanted to stop me from writing the book. I called him. I thought we should discuss it like two adults. He said he didn’t mind if I wrote a book as long as I wrote only nice things about him. I said that while I appreciated his request, I wanted to write the truth. I said I’d write nice things about him and the good things he’d done, how generous and kind he is, he loves animals, but that I’d also share some of the things I didn’t find so positive.

“He said OK but that he still wanted me to make him look good.

“He’s just concerned about his legacy. He’s a control person.”

Luke: “How did your book affect your parents?”

Izabella: “My parents have not read the book. I thought they would.”

“Some of the things in the book weren’t chosen by me. When you write a book, the publisher is the boss. The publisher tells you what they want and what they don’t want. A lot of interesting stories were cut out of the book for legal considerations. On the flip side, I had to include a lot of things I would’ve preferred not to. Sexual things, personal things.”

Luke: “How would your best friends describe you?”

Izabella: “Independent, intelligent, opinionated, silly, a risk-taker, and adventurous.”

Luke: “What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done?”

Izabella: “Move into the Playboy mansion.”

Luke: “How do you decide what is right and wrong?”

Izabella: “I go with my gut.”

“My parents raised me the right way.”

“I believe in guidance from God.”

Luke: “What does God mean to you?”

Izabella: “That’s a question I don’t discuss with anyone. It’s so personal I can’t really explain it. I am religious and I am very spiritual.”

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