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Because you’re a centerfold doesn’t mean you don’t have entrepreneurial ambitions. Just ask Clarissa Irene Riccio—aka Claire Sinclair
Photograph by Ethan Pines
» “The first time I posed nude, I remember feeling so relieved that I didn’t have to model clothing. Every time I’d modeled before, it had been all about making the clothing look good. Models tend to feel like a living rack after a while.”
» Raised in El Sereno and Long Beach, Riccio began modeling at 14. Later her father, a memorabilia dealer, put her in contact with pinup artist and longtime Playboy contributor Olivia De Berardinis, who showed some paintings of Riccio to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
» When a nude Marilyn Monroe graced the pages of Playboy’s premiere issue in December 1953, she was dubbed “Sweetheart of the Month.” Margie Harrison—Miss January 1954—was the first Playmate.
» “My dad had a collection of vintage Playboys, and when I was a kid I’d flip through them. Playboy originally represented the all-natural girl-next-door who you could see walking down the street. Men would look at one of those Playmates and were like, ‘This looks like a girl I know working at my office.’ And it’s kind of gone into a different direction over the years, into a more plastic-y one, which I’m not for, by the way.”
» “Claire Sinclair, my Playmate name? I’ve always been Claire—I’ve never been Clarissa. In high school I was dating Oliver Sinclair, and everyone teased us: If you guys get married, you’ll be Claire Sinclair. When we split, I thought if I ever got an opportunity to use that name, I would.”
» When the 20-year-old Riccio was selected as Miss October 2010, Playboy’s editors rejected her idea of posing as a pinup from the 1950s. Named 2011’s Playmate of the Year last April, she received $100,000, a car, and a Harley-Davidson.
» “My lifelong goal is to start a chain of teen nightclubs. There would be no drinking, but there would have to be a lot of security. Teen clubs are so scarce that there’s almost nowhere for kids to go. I’m still representing the child inside of me who felt denied, who’s still being denied. I’m missing so many opportunities as Playmate of the Year—the thousands of dollars I could be making at club appearances are being taken away from me because I’m not yet 21.”
» Riccio plans to open her first teen nightclub by the time she’s 25. She already has picked out a name—Sinclair’s—and chosen a logo depicting herself.
» “For me, Claire Sinclair is like an alter ego. It’s about having fun and letting go. Even Hef—he’s not Hef, he’s Hugh. He’s this little nerd who created this person in a comic book and became him. It’s a character. Everyone should have one.”
» “It’s all about creating, when you’re posing nude, the illusion of extreme curves.”