She’s done it all.
She’s been a dancer.
She’s been a Playboy Cover Model.
She’s been a nightclub owner.
We are of course talking about the one and only Shelly Jones.
Q – Shelly, were you a Playboy Centerfold or a Playboy Bunny?
A – I was neither. I was a Playboy Cover girl.
Q – Now, what does that mean?
A – The Bunnies are the Centerfolds and Centerfolds go under contract with Playboy. The Centerfold and the cover aren’t the same unless you are the Playmate of the year. So, you have twelve Cover girls a year, well, actually you have eleven Cover girls a year. You have eleven Centerfolds. Then you have the Center Playmate of the year who has then Cover and the Centerfold. I believe that 2 or 3 of the Covers go to Celebrities.
Q – Right I remember Tiffany was on the cover.
A – Farrah Fawcett had the cover. Sharon Stone.
Q – I thought the Playboy cover of “Kiss” was great.
A – Yeah. For sure Kiss was great. Marilyn Monroe of course, we can’t forget her. She was on the first cover ever.
Q – How did you come to the attention of Playboy? Did they contact you? Did you contact them?
A – Actually, I had somebody tell me I could never do Playboy so it made me want to do it even more. I was dancing at the time and I went to Hawaii and I paid a Playboy photographer to shoot me because he told me I wasn’t Playboy material. We made the deal if I got published he would reimburse me. I got published like 4 months later. He called me to do a calendar and told me that I was published. I want to do the calendar with him and he was very unprofessional and I was very unhappy with the circumstances, the way things happened. So, I contacted Playboy myself when I got back to the mainland and Playboy sent me to Atlanta and I started doing the lingerie books with Cynthia Kay out of Atlanta. What a great producer for Playboy. I did 15 lingerie books, news tend specials. Then I started doing radio for a network called Ron and Ron. They ware syndicated throughout the Southeast of the United States. They ware Howard Stern’s biggest competition at the time. The main magazine was actually looking for petite women and I’m only 5 ‘1”. So, I applied for the petite women issue and they noticed I did radio on my resume. They had too many girls for petite women and not enough girls for the radio. A lot of stations didn’t want their d.j’s in Playboy. So, I got a call for the radio issue and they flew me out there and the next thing I know they told me I had the cover. I was actually sleeping when they told me I had the cover. I thought I was dreaming. I had to call them when I woke up and re-confirm it.
Q – You were dancing before Playboy?
A – I was dancing in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Pure Platinum. I met a girl there who had done some work for Playboy and knew Playboy photographers. It was a dream of mine prior to that. I knew since I was young that was something I always wanted to do. I did beauty pageants as a child and I did child acting and modeling. I just knew I wasn’t going to reach 5‘7” and I really didn’t have the money behind me at the time as a child to take up acting classes and go to the right school and go to New York. I pretty much knew I was gonna depend on my body and Playboy was like ‘it’ to me. I just thought it was like the best thing ever. That was one of my biggest dreams.
Q – Did it live up to your expectations?
A – A lot of it did and a lot of it didn’t. I would say the stuff that did live up to the expectations was Hugh Hefner. He was one of the coolest, nicest people I’ve ever met. He has a phenomenal body for his age I’ve seen him out at the grotto swimming. It’s just amazing how well he takes care of himself. The mansion should be remodeled, but, the animals and the atmosphere and the aura of the mansion is just irreplaceable. The downfall that really surprised me is I got $ 5oo which is the normal day rate for ever their newsstand specials, for the cover. After taxes I didn’t even get $ 500. People expect after you’re a Centerfold or a Cover to have tons of money. You kind of need that money to support that fame cause you need to look good and it costs a lot to look good, dressing wise, beauty salon wise. You need to appear at functions. You want to make the best first impression and when you’re not having the income come in that people expect you to have, it makes it real hard.
Q – After you got some fame from Playboy, did t.v. and movie offers come your way? That is the way you would be able to support your fame.
A – Right, but Playboy only signs their Centerfolds with their agency. You go under a 3 year contract and they got a large percentage of your money. They do not sign the cover girls. If you notice through the years of the Playboy Cover girls, that weren’t famous before they were on the cover, a lot of them are never heard of again except maybe Pamela Anderson, Erika and Anna. Those are about the only girls you hear of again. That’s because the girls don’t really work it. It’s just like any job. You can get a Number one hit on the radio, but if you don’t go out and tell people you’re available and tell then how to get a hold of you, then you can sit at home and listen to the album all you want, but eventually you’ll become a one Hit Wonder and that’s all you’ll be. You really have to go out and get your own work.
Q – Did you then knock on Managers and Agents doors, saying I was in Playboy magazine what can you do for me?
A – I did. I did some. I find the Adult Industry pays when they say they’re gonna pay. I find there is no Casting Couches in the Adult Industry when it comes to Playboy and featuring. You wait 30 days to a year to get a chook from a production like ‘Baywatch’. I did a couple of episodes of ‘Baywatch’ after Playboy. I did a few mainstream things, but they just weren’t helping me survive. And I really had to survive. The clubs were willing to pay me a decent amount of money to live up to my reputation and I enjoyed being the canter of attention, and I enjoyed keeping burlesque alive and it gave me the chance to keep burlesque alive, and making stripping a talent and an art instead of a perverted thing people think it is.
Q – Where did you encounter the “Casting Couch”?
A – I’ve run across that a lot more in mainstream stuff. Once you carry a name like Playboy you’re gonna get 2 types of people. You’re gonna get people who are very serious and business, minded and then you’re gonna get the people who are your fans that still have a business to run, but they want to hit on you and taka you to dinner. They want to do this and that with you. If you turn them down, then they go to the next Playboy girl or the next Penthouse girl that will. We find that more in the mainstream part of the entertainment market than we do in the Adult entertainment world. People in the Adult entertainment would are all about making money. It’s all about business.
Q – Now see. I’ve always thought that once you’ve been in Playboy, it would be easier to get into the mainstream entertainment world.
A – It’s kind of like when you try to get a SAG card. You have to get 3 speaking parts in a year, but you have to be SAG to get speaking parts. It’s kind of like a Catch 22. you’re in that purgatory where everybody in mainstream would love to use a Playboy model or a Centerfold, but they’re scared they might have problems with advertisers or investors if somebody is against Playboy and they don’t approve of it and there’s a belief that; so that makes the mainstream people Kind of ‘iffy’.
Q – I notice some Playboy models appeared on “married with children”.
A – Yes. They’ve made appearances on ‘Tool Time’. I did a lot of Playboy t.v. work, and a lot of news media and a lot of radio work, but, I never really got into those little extra 5 minute, $ 200 roles and that’s pretty much what they are. Most of the girls who did ‘Married With Children’ or ‘Tool Time’ hardly ever had a speaking part. One out of every 20 would have a speaking part. So, they didn’t ever get SAG. They didn’t even get residuals. And a lot of these companies won’t pay your travel. So, if you have to fly from Florida to California to do it, by the time you get paid, you break even. I’ve done a lot of things one time to get it on my resume, but I won’t go back and do it again because it’s not feasible.
Q – And Florida is your home now isn’t it?
A – Well, I originally grow up in Florida. I was born in Portland, Oregon and I moved to Florida in Second grade. I lived here most of my life. When I started touring, I saved up a substantial amount of money, over $ 300,000 cash which most dancers can’t say they did. I decided I wanted to own a strip club because I’d been to so many of them, there were actually only 13 female strip club owners in the whole United States when I bought in. So, 99% of them are owned by men and men don’t sit with the customers and hear what the dancers hear. After going to 700 clubs, I kind of have a good idea what the boys did and didn’t like and that I could probably do a little bit better of a job than most of the men out there that are trying to do it.
Q – And what happened to your strip club?
A – Somebody blew it up on June 8 th 2007. I actually got on a plane that morning from West Virginia to Florida to visit family. That night after my club closed I got a phone call that the roof was already engulfed in flames. The fire alarm went off and the paperboy called it in. it took six fire departments 4 hours. The fire departments ran out of water. It burnt to the ground. The only thing left standing ironically was the pole.
Q – Was it in a neighborhood where people didn’t want it?
A – Not at all. The club was there 72 years. It was originally a Go. Go bar and then it turned into a dance club and then it was a Gentleman’s Club there on out.
Q – Who would’ve done such a thing?
A – Who knows? It could’ve been a guy I didn’t want to date that came into the club. It could’ve been a girl that was jealous of me.
Q – Would you re-build the club when your insurance money comes through?
A – I don’t know what I want to do. I really don’t know. I don’t know what I’m gonna get. I have a really hard time believing it’s really gonna happen after 2 years of trying to make ends meet. It’s really hard when you lose everything in 4 hours. So, I really can’t say until I get the money, if I ever get the money.
Q – Sounds like you need an attorney.
A – It’s beyond an attorney. Being a club it had alcohol in it. Alcohol without being sold was stillowned by the government. Taxes were never paid on it. So, they really ended up dealing with people who were much higher up. The state has nothing to do with it. The authorities above them took it on. It’s out of my hands.
Q – Maybe it’s time to contact your congressman or senator.
A – The insurance co. decided because it was an open, on – going arson case they didn’t feel they had to pay. Luckily, I owed some money to the government, so the government wants their money as bad as I want mine. So, the government decided they would handle it. I’m sure the insurance co. will settle with the government eventually.
Q – I hope so for your sake.
A – Well, for their sake too. I don’t think anybody wants the government breathing down their neck.
Q – Where does that leave you as we speak?
A – I’d like to even go back to school with all this extra time on my hands after dedicating my whole life working 15-22 hours – day to get where I was. Now I have nothing to do. I can’t afford to go to school. I can’t afford to do anything. I feel like I’m just wasting time waiting on someone to make a decision. I don’t know what decision to make until they make a decision. I don’t want to go to school and get myself in debt, because I didn’t get money that I expected for some un-godly reason.
Q – What would you go to school for?
A – I posed for some art classes at the digital art schools at the Art Institute every once in awhile. I wouldn’t mind web design, learning graphics, learning html, learning photo shop. I think webcam is becoming our future for making money in the adult film industry and I want to get my hands in from behind the scenes instead of being the one in front of the scenes. That’s where the money is.
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