What could Levi Johnston possibly gain by posing naked for Playgirl?
—Babs G., via the Answer B!tch inbox
You mean besides money and the eternal high that comes with making Sarah Palin miserable? As the Jews might say, dayenu, that would have been enough.
For women, there are tons of reasons for posing nude: Sharon Stone said she did it for money right after appearing in Total Recall. It sure didn't hurt, given that she later went on to do stuff like Basic Instinct and Casino. We won't even begin to discuss the ongoing successes of The Girls Next Door.
But when it comes to guys who pose in adult mags, there are, generally, only two types: (1) Unknowns who, if the ploy works, graduate to sort-of knowns, and (2) bona fide celebrities who stir up noncontroversies by posing only partly in the buff.
That latter category includes a major country star married to an A-list actress, and a former teen star who has been linked to Megan Fox...
For Brian Austin Green and Keith Urban, their seminude appearances in Playgirl produced mixed results. In 2001, Urban appeared for the mag naked except for a guitar, and it was generally seen as a PR win, if not PR neutral. He shook up his traditional, conservative country image and got to show off his funny side (He told reporters he was glad he plays the guitar and not the harmonica, tee hee.).
Four years later he got with Nicole Kidman, and he's also taken home a string of country music awards.
Green appeared in Playgirl in his underwear in 1996, Marky Mark style. That was the year that Green made a play as a rapper, and he failed, but he has since gone on to do Smallville, the TV version of Terminator and, if the tabloids are to be believed, Megan Fox. Green is also a director and has his own production company.
Of course, neither of these guys showed the full Johnston, and both were actual stars before they agreed to pose.
In fact Johnston doesn't fall into either category of typical-nude-guy poser. He is neither a nobody nor is he Keith Urban, so it's tough to say how he might benefit from pulling this stunt. However, according to one former Playgirl cover guy, posing fully nude probably won't lead to any real long-term benefit.
More likely, Madison Hildebrand says, it's a short term move for Johnston to drum up money, controversy, publicity or maybe a book or a year of reality-show fame.
Hildebrand, author of the career book Activate Your Passion, Create Your Career and a star of the Bravo TV show Million Dollar Listing, was on the cover of Playgirl last year. Though he, like the celebs above, did not go full frontal. Johnston is "certainly getting an immense amount of press," Hildebrand notes.
"It's certainly putting him on the map...but longevity? I don't think so."
Well, we're gonna reserve judgment on Levi's longevity at least until we see that spread.
We'd rather Levi grow a beard instead, and make our Grizzly Guys gallery.