Holly Madison decided to write a book when she was excelling in her career — starring in the long-running Peepshow in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood, as well as her own E!
reality show Holly's World — and yet fans would not stop asking her about Hugh Hefner and her time as his girlfriend in the Playboy Mansion.
reality show that chronicled part of her time with Hefner (and fellow Playmates/Hefner girlfriends Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt).
In the author's note, Madison writes, "Around the turn of the millennium, it became fashionable for women to appear stupid — to get by solely on their looks and to be concerned only with fame and materialism.
Madison's depression in the Playboy Mansion reached harrowing depths, yet she felt trapped there: by her fears about her limited professional possibilities, by her unwillingness to admit to anyone how sad she really was, and by Hefner's emotional control over her.
The book also explicitly tears down an insidious thread in popular culture in which women have portrayed themselves on reality television as dumb and less than — a phenomenon Madison herself participated in during her time on The Girls Next Door, the E!
She thought it would be a one-time event, but ended up going to the mansion weekly for its Sunday pool parties.
"They weren't commonly available then — I don't even know exactly how he was getting them," Madison said."It was always exactly the same because that's just how he likes to live his life." It was all ritualized, featuring the rotating cast of girlfriends."They knew it was kind of a quote-unquote requirement for living there, and expected," Madison said. The girls would stand there and they'd kind of like put on a show to create a silhouette that something was going on. "It just kind of follows the pattern of how he does things."Her story of that first night is the only time she reveals those sorts of intimate details in the book."I was like, can't you see I'm doing so much better on my own?"It's safe to say that after the revelations in Madison's just-released Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, she has successfully squashed any such questions in the future.She supported herself by working at Hooters in Santa Monica, a job she loved; it also led to her being invited to a party at the Playboy Mansion.One Hooters customer was a friend of Hefner's, and asked her whether she'd like to come to a party — "barely taking the time to meet my eyes," Madison writes.Some of the effects of that moment in the zeitgeist still linger today." Down the Rabbit Hole, which on Wednesday made its debut on the New York Times' hardcover nonfiction bestseller list at No. Sitting on her shaded patio overlooking her garden on a hot summer day, Madison, now 35, said, "I felt like I had something to say about being in the midst of that whole thing that was going on where Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson and Kendra were so celebrated — and I was a part of it too — for being dumb on TV.Part of the reason I wanted to write the book was to show the other side of it." Below, Madison talks to Buzz Feed News about what you don't know in regards to Hefner, her seedy years in the Playboy Mansion, and feminism. She was aware of Playboy, even going to an open call for the magazine's search for its Playmate of the Millennium during her second year of college.It was only one of the things that made me feel bad." Writing about this part — her entrée to living in the mansion and its obligations — was the hardest for Madison. On evenings when they weren't required to be home, there was a 9 p.m. Madison kept her job at Hooters for awhile — not only was it important to her to have contact with the outside world, but she wasn't earning money apart from skimming off of her clothing and beauty allowance from Hefner. She felt bullied by some of the other women, especially Vicky, whom she had thought was her friend.Hefner was withholding, treating her like she was stupid, and criticizing her looks.