Yesterday the World lost one of the most notable characters in Men’s Entertainment, Popular Culture and American Iconography. The original Playboy, Hugh Hefner passed away at the age of 91 in his home The Playboy Mansion, Los Angeles.
As founder, editor and publisher of the Internationally renowned Playboy magazine, Hugh lived an outlandish life, which was equally as exciting as it was eccentric. He was regarded as a stand-out figure in the sexual revolution and an instigator for the cultural shift in entertainment publications. Hugh Hefner was a man who was no stranger to controversy. He took risks and he embraced change.
In celebration of his life, we decided to step aside from the headlines and take a look at the real-life lessons that every man has learnt from the original Playboy, Mr. Hugh Hefner. His work. His life. His dreams.
Playboy Life Lesson One: Live your own dreams
A psychology and creative writing graduate from Illinois University, Hugh Hefner gained journalism experience as a writer for a Military Newspaper and a Content Writer for Esquire. After failing to get a raise from Esquire, Heffner decided it was time to set sail for his own dream and quit his job at Esquire. Upon this decision, Hugh Hefner took out a bank loan and searched for investors to sink money and time into his own magazine, a men’s entertainment publication with the working title ‘Stag Party’.
One year after he took the plunge, Hugh Heffner as Founder and Editor of his own magazine, saw his debut edit, now aptly named ‘Playboy’ sell out across the country. From that moment forward, he never looked back. True to himself, he famously stated – ‘I think the best life is one where one pursues one’s own personal dreams.’
Playboy Life Lesson Two: Stand up for what you believe in
When Playboy was first released in December 1953, homosexuality was still deemed to be a crime. Hugh was avid that Playboy could be the platform to challenge homophobic views and revolutionise the way people talked about sex.
In 1955, Hugh Hefner printed a short science fiction story by author, Charles Beaumont, which explored the prosecution of straight men in a Homosexual World. The content was met by a great deal of controversy but Heff’ used this opportunity to inform and educate people on LGBT rights and injustice.
Up until his death, Hugh Heffner continued to use his status to campaign LGBT rights, sexism and racism. In his later years, he was a passionate advocate for same-sex marriage and transgender rights.
Playboy Life Lesson Three: Hard Work Pays Off
Hugh Heffner often credited his own mother for helping him build the Playboy empire from his kitchen table, but it took a little more than a $1,000 loan from mum to pull this one off. Hugh worked tirelessly as the founder, editor and publisher of one of the most iconic and internationally recognised men’s publications, before becoming the creative chief of a global enterprise.
Hugh Heffner demonstrated how hard work & risk-taking can pay off, as the ultimate driving force behind the Playboy brand. A driving force that lived, worked and breathed the Playboy philosophy.
Playboy Life Lesson Four: Don’t let yourself be defined
With countless relationships and marriages to Women more than half his age, Heff’ became the subject of many a headline and a punchline. However, he rose above the criticism and promised that he would never let his age define him.
“One defines oneself in one`s own terms. If you let society and your peers define who you are, you`re less for it”.
Now that’s something we can all learn from…
Playboy Life Lesson Five: Dress for yourself
With a distinctive style, which pays tribute to the golden age of the Rat Pack – Hugh Heffner became his very own style idol. His silk pyjamas and velvet robes became symbolic of the Playboy brand and his own, dreams and philosophies. Hugh told many a fashion journalist that, the way he was dressed was never to impress women. He dressed for himself.
He was inspired by Frank Sinatra and wore custom suits and co-ords from designers and independent boutiques. Heff’ never capitalised on his style but he always said that a smoking jacket must be a staple and that one should always wear Black. ‘Black during the day–black is serious, for taking care of business.’
So, there we have it, Playboy Life Lessons learnt from the original Playboy, Hugh Hefner. Love him or hate him, we can admire and take inspiration from one man’s unapologetic shot at life. He worked towards his dreams and built a success based on his own beliefs and desires.
In his 91 years, not once did Hugh Heffner make any excuses for his Playboy philosophy. He lived life to the full and made sure that through tireless campaigning, less fortunate people could too follow their dreams… Farewell Hugh!