Being a playmate is Chelsie Aryn's dream come true

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Chelsie Aryn Miller, “Playboy” magazine’s Miss March 2015, signs copies of her centerfold photograph from her parent’s house in Berne.

BERNE — It was a lifelong dream for Chelsie Aryn Miller to appear in “Playboy” and her dream came true this month when she was featured as the magazine’s Miss March 2015.

“I was bawling my eyes out with excitement,” Miller told The Enterprise this week, about her reaction to the phone call she received letting her know she would be a Playboy playmate.

That phone call came in the fall and she wasn’t supposed to tell anybody she had been chosen, so, for nearly seven months, she carried around her “big secret,” which she is now thrilled to have revealed.

Miller grew up in Berne, which “Playboy,” in its profile of her, called “a tiny speck of a town.”

“It is such a small town,” said Miller. “Growing up, there’s really not much to do.”

In high school, she was a cheerleader, and she described herself as socially shy, but never insecure about her body.

She was crowned Junior Miss Altamont Fair in 2008 and was voted “most photogenic” in high school.

She was — and still is — a tomboy, too, and enjoyed “going out and getting dirty with the guys.”

Even then, as early as age 14, she longed to be a Playboy playmate. The television reality show “Girls Next Door” was airing then, and featured the playmates living in the Playboy mansion with Hugh Hefner, who founded “Playboy” 61 years ago. 

“It kind of shocks people how young I was when I fell in love with the company,” said Miller. “Watching the girls on TV, they were just this group of beautiful women who were extremely happy with themselves.”

She was so enamored with the company that she wore hats and other clothing with the signature Playboy bunny emblem and decorated her bedroom with photos from the magazine.

She now has the logo tattooed on her foot, which she just revealed to her more than 20,000 followers on Instagram.

“Friends who saw my bedroom would say it looked like a teenage boy’s room,” said Miller. “My parents thought the whole thing was just a phase.”

When she was 16, her parents told her she needed to get a job, and she said it was either “go up the road and scoop ice cream” or take her modeling seriously.

“I thought if I did modeling I could make my own hours and I thought it would be the easy way out,” said Miller. “I was completely wrong about that — it’s a time-consuming job, but I wouldn’t change the decision I made.”

Junior Miss Altamont Fair, Chelsie Miller wore her evening wear during the pageant in the village in 2008. The Enterprise — Michael Koff


She said she had posted some “semi-modeling” photographs on the website MySpace, “back when that was cool,” and she was contacted through the site for a few small modeling jobs.

She signed up for some other modeling websites and booked a few more small jobs.

Her first “big” modeling gig was as the face of E.L.F. Cosmetics in 2011.

That same year, she entered an online contest for “Playboy” — a non-nude contest — and won Playboy Miss Social.

“That is how I first got my foot in the door with ‘Playboy,’” she said.

After she graduated from Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School, she moved to Syracuse, where she was thinking of signing on with an agency.

She ultimately decided not to sign with the agency when she was informed that she would be required to change her looks to book certain jobs.

“They told me I might have to lose weight, or gain weight, or wear colored contacts,” Miller said. “That’s what turned me away from them.”

After living in Syracuse, she moved to Georgia for a short time, but then returned home to her family in Berne.

Miller was still booking smaller modeling jobs, including a calendar shoot in 2012.

One day, she said, she was shooting with a photographer, and all the pieces fell into place.

“The lighting was perfect, my attitude was great, and the photographer suggested we submit the photos to ‘Playboy,’” she said. “I was like, ‘Go for it!’”

The photographer picked five to 10 pictures to submit, and a short time later, she got a phone call telling her that “Playboy” wanted to fly her to California to do a test shoot with one of their photographers.

“I was in such shock,” she said.

 In September 2014, she went to California for the shoot, and got to stay at the Playboy mansion for four days.

She met Hugh Hefner then.

“The photographer told me we would be taking pictures with him and I told her I needed a minute to catch my breath or I might have a heart attack,” said Miller. “This is the stuff you only think about in a daydream.”

She described Hefner as a “sweet gentleman.”

“He looked at me and told me right away that I had what it took to be a playmate,” she said.

A month went by after the test shoot with no phone call from “Playboy,” and Miller was beginning to think she hadn’t been chosen.

Just when she had given up hope, she got notice she had been chosen to be a playmate.

“It was mind-blowing,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.”

Miller went to California in October to shoot her pictorial and she stayed at the mansion for two weeks.

“The girls who live there are absolutely the sweetest girls; it was kind of like having one big, long, family party,” she said. “It wasn’t awkward because everyone is so inviting.”

During the two weeks, in addition to her photo shoot, she went through an orientation.

“It went over the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of being a playmate, and prepared you for how people might react to you,” she said. “It taught us how to respond and what is appropriate and not appropriate.”

Miller was there for a Halloween party at the mansion, which she described as a “wild and fun time.”

“It was just the most amazing experience a small-town girl could ask for,” she said. “By the end of it, I felt like I had known everyone there for my whole life.”

Her perception of the playmates, which she formed from the television show as a teenager, proved to be true, she said.

“These girls are just so OK with everything about themselves,” she said. “They don’t really have insecurities.”

She said she is not insecure about herself, either.

“Of course there are times when you don’t think you’re looking your best or feeling your best,” she said. “But those moments are fleeting.”

One of the things she liked about being photographed by “Playboy,” she said, was that it fostered a sense of self-confidence.

“I am OK with photos being touched up, such as removing a blemish or a flyaway hair,” Miller said. “When it comes to totally changing body shapes, I don’t like that; it is crazy how far you can go with Photoshop.”

“Playboy” did not do anything but minor editing, she said, although they did Photoshop out her tattoo, because it didn’t fit with the style of shoot.

“I like that the magazine isn’t just about staring at naked girls,” she said. “You get to know the girls through their interviews and to get a snapshot of them in their day-to-day lives.”

She described the photographs in Playboy magazines as “artistic.”

“I personally don’t think they are meant to be arousing or sexual,” said Miller. “It’s an art form; it makes you think, it makes you wonder. It’s something to look at.”

Theresa Hennessy, the vice president of public relations for Playboy Enterprises, said only a small percentage of the pages of the magazine are actually filled with nude photos.

“The majority of the magazine features an award-winning blend of editorial content,” said Hennessy. “More than 600 renowned individuals have sat for the ‘Playboy Interview’ over the years…the magazine’s current April issue ‘Playboy Interview’ is with former Vice President Dick Cheney.”

The idea that the magazine is “porn”, Hennessy said, is a misconception.

The seven months between the pictorial shoot and the magazine’s publication were, Miller said, dedicated to her family.

“I still live with my parents in Berne,” she said. “We have a houseful.”

In addition to her parents, she lives with her sister, who graduated from Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School in 2012, and her brother, who is a senior there now.

She said her family has been extremely supportive of her decision to pose nude in “Playboy.”

“They couldn’t be more proud of me because this is a dream come true,” she said. “I don’t think I could have done it without them.”

Miller said she has, however, gotten negative reactions from friends and people she doesn’t know.

“I’ve been called a dirty porn star, a slut, and been told I have no self-respect,” she said. “It doesn’t really bother me.” She said she had heard the word slut since seventh grade.

She said she understands that posing nude is not a choice that everyone would make, but she wishes people would respect that it’s a decision she made for herself and is comfortable with.

She disagrees when people tell her she is not a good role model for young women.

“I had a dream and I worked hard to make it come true,” she said. “I think that’s setting a good example.”

“It’s funny, people who have seen me naked get more embarrassed than I do,” said Miller. “They don’t know how to separate me in real life and me as a nude model.

“It’s just a naked body,” she continued. “I came into this world naked; I’m pretty much naked all the time.”

Miller said she did not do the “Playboy” shoot purely for the other opportunities it might bring her, but, she said, she is excited to see what does come from it.

“I’ve already had the amazing opportunity to have a feature in the May issue,” she said, saying she couldn’t reveal more details. “There’s another shoot coming up with them in the next month or two.”

She has also booked a promotional job at a car show, she said.

“I’m just excited to see what work comes my way,” she said.

Despite her newfound status as a playmate, and with more modeling work coming her way, Miller said she doesn’t plan to move away permanently.

She said she might spend periods of time in California, but Berne will always be her home.

“The lifestyle is not for me,” said Miller. “Honestly, I’m a homebody. I like eating my chips and popcorn in bed and watching movies.”

More Hilltowns News

  • The Berne Town Board held a public hearing on a new animal-control law this week and received mostly minor suggestions for alteration from a public that seemed largely pleased with the proposed regulations. 

  • The Albany Water Board, steward of the Basic Creek dam in Westerlo, has received $100,000 from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to come up with a design for a rehabilitation project for the high-hazard dam, which is in substandard condition.

  • A digital equity map, put together by a coalition of organizations including the New York State Education Department and the New York State Library, shows that approximately 15 percent of Hilltown households don’t have internet access, whether because they don’t have an internet subscription or because they don’t have internet-capable devices.

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