Christie Hefner is brilliant and named by Forbes as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women.
Once the recognized president and CEO of Playboy, Christie was responsible for turning that bowie-wearing-bunny into a globally recognized brand. In 2009, Christie retired after more than 20 years as chairman and CEO. Last week, she was invited to Newhouse where she spoke about the future for Playboy and in general.
Although she never envisioned herself working for Playboy, in 1982, Christie became president. This, at a time when her father’s business was facing serious financial difficulties. This, also at a time when feminism was sexy, respected and desired.
Still, “I wonder at myself,” she said.
From the beginning, Playboy was something people could self-identify with, but her father likened Playboy to a lifestyle full of intellectual content.
You remember the jokes, “I read Playboy for the articles?”
So, Playboy was the first to publish the Roots and Fahrenheit 451, Christie said. Recently, Playboy purchased the rights to Vladimir Nabokov’s last, unfinished novel, The Original of Laura.
Playboy also became the first national magazine to publish on the Internet.
When asked how Playboy envisions social media, Christie said, “We wrote the book on it,” by setting up partnerships and creating more audience interaction, but she also spoke of an emerging role reversal in business, where the mentor becomes the mentee, she said.
Someone asked her how on Earth could he get into one of “those parties,” and she laughed. “Well, there’s a few ways. You could pay for a ticket which proceeds would go to charity. You could become friends with Hef. Or, you could become a very beautiful woman.”
She was full of advice. “Do more work; seek feedback; understand what’s being evaluated of you,” she said. “Go to school on other people.” When looking at your competition, try focusing on what they didn’t do; it could offer more insight.
Then, the greatest question, from yours truly: What’s going to happen when there is no more Hef? Younger generations may recognize Playboy, but they still don’t know who created it. (I referenced this New York Times interview with Hef.)
Well, she said, there might be a movie made about his life, but there is no heir apparent. That’s the point of building a legacy.
Truly a remarkable woman.
Also remarkable: The new Los Angeles Police Department chief is also the department motocross champion?
Remember Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell? Apparently, in the 15 years since then, Mark-Paul Gosselaar put on a pair of spandex as,”perhaps the best celebrity-slash-bicyclist in America,” according to this New York Times article. Right now, Gosselaar’s in NYC making his stage debut on Broadway and riding through Central Park on his carbon road bike. Next time I’m riding through the City, I’ll be on the lookout for him.