“In class when they ask you to tell something about yourself, I talk about running with the bulls in Pamplona, not about modeling in Playboy.” Kandy Jo is an OSU student, who is not “flaunting”, but instead describes herself as a “YES Man”, always willing to try new opportunities. “I do what I want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” So when a Playboy recruiter spotted her on campus and asked her to pose in the magazine for $500.00, she didn’t think twice. The image, demonstrating her best (physical) assets, and a suggestively placed Benny the Beaver, was published in this month’s “Girls of the PAC-12” feature in Playboy Magazine.
But Kandy Jo has bigger aspirations than just being a pretty face. She is very passionate about music and has been DJing since high school, where she DJ’d her high school dances, and has been a DJ for OSU’s radio station for the last three years. She has thus far enjoyed the opportunities for networking and other experiences Playboy has brought her, and is hoping this will help launch her career goals of working in music television, or working and traveling with musicians.
While some say that Playboy is bad for women – Gloria Steinam said that “A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual” — Kandy Jo says that her experience working with Playboy has been wonderful. “They (Playboy) have a lot of great people working with them, I still keep in touch with my photographer and creative director,” she commented. Kandy Jo is looking forward to more opportunities to work with Playboy, and appeared on Playboy TV and Playboy Radio on October 18th. She says she may be doing more modeling for the magazine as well.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m surprised by how supportive everyone has been,” Kandy Jo said of friends and family, “I’m my dad’s daughter, he raised me, I didn’t know how he would take it, but I was surprised by how supportive he was.” She says that she’s had very little negative feedback, with the exception of some Internet pettiness. Someone on the “OSU Confessions” page on Facebook posted about her, calling her “Kandy Hoe”, and there have been some negative comments on other articles about her, but in response she’s gotten an overwhelming amount of support. Kandy Jo says that “the people who aren’t supportive are the people who don’t know me.”
We live in a world of instagram, snapchat, and picture texts. A 2012 poll from the University of Texas Medical Branch predicts that 30% of people in the 13-26 demographic have naked photos of themselves bouncing around on the Internet. So can people really be that critical of Kandy Jo choosing to bare herself in a magazine? Beyond that, don’t we have to take a critical look about how we raise our young people so that they can enjoy what they see in Internet porn, or browsing through the pictures of a magazine, and still show basic respect to the women who choose to share their bodies in that way? I can almost guarantee that the anonymous poster who called her “Kandy Hoe” has spent some quality time, shall we say… alone, and yet they think it is okay to publicly shame someone.
That being said, there is a reasonable argument for caution. When news broke on October 17, 2013 that Cristy Nicole Deweese was fired from her teaching job in Dallas, Texas for posing in Playboy during her college years. Minnesota mom Jessica Zelinske was fired from her telecommunications job after modeling for the magazine’s “Hot Moms” issue in 2011. These kinds of choices can derail a career if they are seen by the wrong people.
In a July 25th blog post, sex advice columnist and podcast wizard Dan Savage made a unique think of the children argument regarding the issue of Anthony Weiner and the “scandal” of having naked pictures out there on the Internet. “Think of your own children. I promise you, moms and dads of America, your kid is online right now sexting up a storm, swapping dick pics and boob shots, flirting with classmates, cranking up their BFs and GFs before school, during school, after school, etc., and all of their flirty chats, texts, IMs, and pics are going to wind up stored somewhere. Kids today: each and every one of them is creating a smutty digital trail that could be used against them one day—unless we defuse these ticking dick pic time bombs now.” Which makes an interesting point: where would our careers be if every terrible choice we made in our youth could be seen by the Nation. Should this be a disqualifier for women to pursue whatever careers they choose to pursue? If there is a character flaw here, it is only the lack of foresight, and while I didn’t pose for Playboy when I was living the coed life, I did drink Keystone Light, which displays the same kinds of decision making skills.
“I know being in Playboy is a very risqué thing, but I’m still the same person.” Kandy Jo says that the experience has been eye-opening. “It has made me more independent, has sent me to a bigger city, has made me look at everything as an opportunity.”
You can follow Kandy Jo on twitter and instagram, her handle is @MissKandyJo.
by Candy Smith