Former Playboy playmate says Hugh Hefner was her ‘saviour’ and Mansion is ‘different’ to what people think
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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@srt_playmate/REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
Audra Lynn was hanging out with a friend in Los Angeles when her mate dared her to knock on Playboy's doors and ask if she could meet Hugh Hefner and become a playmate.
Lynn tells UNILAD the second time she moved into the Playboy mansion was to escape 'predators' - having found herself in a 'bad situation' in LA.
The 43-year-old explains: "After I became a Playmate, I think once you get that title, then you are a highly desired person. "So you've got good guys that want to come after you and you've [also] got really horrible people that want to come after you because of who you are and the title you have.
"You're acclaimed as one of the most beautiful women in the world. So you get both sides.
"I think a lot of us have stories, [...] I've reached out to a lot of girls [and] they've all had some kind of predator come at them, you know?"
Running from the 'bad people', Lynn flung herself into the Playboy mansion and the arms of Hef.
"I needed a safe haven and Hef took me in. Any little, tiny thing that I wanted to talk about, I could find him anywhere in the mansion and sit down and talk to him. He was kind of like a father figure.
"He always had a positive spin on everything. He was always trustworthy, he was so honest. I had a really great relationship with him and a good friendship."
Lynn may've had a good friendship with Hefner, but it wasn't always easy living with in a mansion filled with nine girls. "It was like high school, 100 percent," Lynn admits.
However, while the cattiness and competitiveness between the girls is fairly predictable, the mansion wasn't actually what it seemed, according to Lynn.
"You think in the Playboy Mansion you can just be naked whenever you want and it's this hedonistic lifestyle. But you had to be clothed at all times.
"Out by the pool on Sunday fun-day you could go topless or whatever. But if a butler came to give you your drinks or food or anything like that, you were expected to cover up.
"It was a lot different than what people think the mansion is all about."
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Instead of the girls living in the mansion acting provocatively and being skimpily dressed, it was actually the visitors, Lynn claims, who engaged in more risque behaviour.
"The parties that rented the mansion thought this lifestyle went on. And so there was all kinds of crazy stuff that went on, like the Grotto, people would be having sex in the Grotto and the security would have to come and break it up," Lynn continues.
She reflects: "And it's like, that's not what goes on here you know? But it had that reputation."
As a result of the Playboy mansion being known for its party lifestyle, Lynn explains the girls didn't always feel safe when guests were invited round.
Lynn recalls some party guests could 'get a little handsy', such as trying to 'grab your bunny tail' or 'manhandle you'.
"Most businesses it's like 'the customer's always right'. [But not at the Playboy mansion]. No, we were always right, so we could handle ourselves in any way we wanted," Lynn notes.
One time, a guy was 'headed right for' Lynn and she bumped him, sending him falling onto a table.
"I thought, oh boy, I'm going to be in so much trouble for this one. But [Hef] didn't care because I was protecting myself. So I felt like he had really good women's rights. He wanted us to feel safe and comfortable."
But what does Lynn make of the accusations against the magazine publisher, many of which came to light in the wake of the documentary Secrets of Playboy released in 2022, over four years after Hefner's passing in 2017?
"I kind of flew off the handle a little bit. I never watched the series first off, because I didn't want to add to that," Lynn explains.
"But I did see the headlines, and the headlines were so salacious. None of that was going on."
In that documentary, playmate Holly Madison claimed Hefner forced playmates to get plastic surgery to look alike and that she was verbally abused by the publisher. Lynn admits she and Holly 'disagree' on a 'few things'.
"I feel bad if that's how she [Madison] felt. I wish that me being so close and Bridget (Marquardt) being so close - we could have helped her more or said, 'Hey, if you feel like this, leave'."
Lynn says she was accused of 'victim-shaming' Madison after the documentary. "That's never my intention whatsoever," she said.
"I just come and look at things in more of a positive light, and find healing through that. And I wish they could find healing, too, because it's not good to hold on to that anger."
Since leaving the Playboy mansion, Lynn is now happily married with a daughter living in Florida.
She has an animal sanctuary in the country and shows dogs but also lives part-time on a yacht.
Lynn stands by her views of Hefner and says the controversial former publisher transformed her life for the better.
"I wish the people who seem so angry and negative [towards] Hef could look at what he did for them, because our lives wouldn't be the same," she says.
"I do know that 99 percent of everyone at Playboy back Hef and all have wonderful things to say about him."
UNILAD's new Stripped Back series is released from May 1 and takes us back into the Playboy Mansion, featuring interviews with a variety of people who spent time working and living there with Hugh Hefner.