The pay-for-play scandal behind many sexy Maxim, Playboy ‘covers’

Any girl generally is a journal cowl lady today — if she’s keen to pony up the dough.

Juliet Amelia, a 45-year-old licensed therapeutic massage therapist from Florida, appeared like the most well liked mannequin round when she all of the sudden appeared on eight Playboy worldwide editions — together with Playboy Sweden, Playboy South Africa and Playboy New Zealand — throughout a 12-month interval from 2018 to 2019,

Amelia — who now sells copies of those covers in addition to different “uncensored images” on her Web web site — additionally was splashed on the entrance web page of British males’s journal FHM in South Africa and Australia throughout the identical time interval.

“Not even Pamela Anderson was on as many covers,” stated Johnny Kortis, former editor and writer of Playboy Slovakia.

Kortis claims Amelia would have added Playboy Slovakia to her assortment apart from the truth that he turned down a $10,000 provide by a photographer.

Juliet Amelia Instagram post
Massage therapist Juliet Amelia has graced the covers of eight worldwide editions of Playboy.
Instagram

Playboy Slovakia is just not on the market, stated Kortis, who claims the apply was so rampant when he was operating the journal that he complained to headquarters, saying it was watering down the model.

Playboy, which now solely runs content material on-line after dropping its print version last year, stated it prohibits fashions from paying to seem within the journal founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953.

“Playboy Enterprises does not condone the practice of charging models to be in our pages or those of our international editions,” stated a Playboy spokeswoman. “This practice is counter to Playboy’s brand standards. We urge any model who has been approached to make us aware of the situation.”

Amelia didn’t return requests for remark.


A Playboy logo on a smartphone in this photo illustration
Playboy stated it doesn’t condone pay for play — and that fashions supplied such offers ought to notify the publication.
SOPA Images/LightRocket through Getty Images

Magazine covers are nonetheless jealously guarded terrain for editors of most US publications. But they’re more and more “for sale” in a shadowy abroad market the place wannabe pinup ladies are promised prime media actual property in alternate for a payment — typically as a lot as $10,000, not together with the price of the wardrobe, make-up, capturing and enhancing, which can be paid for by the mannequin.

Photographers typically dealer these transactions — accumulating cash from keen fashions after which buying the glamor pictures round to abroad variations of in style nudie magazines, sources stated.

“Sometimes you pay the magazine these days and sometimes they do it for free depending on the girl, her social following, her looks and what’s going on in her life,” defined photographer Ryan Dwyer.

If the mannequin is the girlfriend of a well-known athlete, “they will do it for free,” Dwyer stated. “If she’s Lacy the stripper from Vegas, they want to get paid.”

The apply of fashions paying for placement has blossomed thanks partially to social media websites like Instagram, the place all that issues is the looks of success. A cyber “cover” may help aspiring influencers achieve social media followers, which may then result in types of income, like model sponsorships.

Kaila Methven holding a fan and a drink
“Who doesn’t want to be on a cover of Maxim?” stated Kaila Methven, who runs an LA-based lingerie firm.
DailyCeleb.com

And with readership in sharp decline, some magazines can now not afford to finance splashy shoots in unique locales, or pay massive bucks for the publishing rights of an undiscovered magnificence.

“I used to get $7,500 for a cover, $3,500 for a spread for five or six pages,” Dwyer defined, referring to the nice previous days of journal shoots.

“I used to work and see a random hot girl in a coffee shop. Back then, I’d supply clothes and makeup and hair and pay for it all and then sell it to the magazines. I wasn’t just picking up any girl. I knew I could sell it and that’s how I’d get paid,” he stated.  

As journal “budgets started to dwindle,” Dwyer realized he may make more cash churning out covers for girls keen to pay for the privilege.

Kaila Methven on a Playboy cover
Kaila Methven, who lays declare to the title of ‘KFC heiress,’ has appeared on Playboy Mexico.
Instagram/@madamemethven

“I went from shooting hot girls in London, UK and Rome to plastic-surgery chicks that wanted covers. I downgraded for sure quality-wise but financially [it] was the total opposite,” he stated.


“Who doesn’t want to be on a cover of Maxim?” stated Kaila Methven, who goes by the title Madame Methven and runs an LA-based lingerie company.

Cover lady for a “special travel edition” of Maxim South Africa in February 2018 and Playboy Mexico later that very same 12 months, Methven denies she ever paid for a canopy. But the photographer behind her South Africa cowl picture says the journal didn’t rent him — Methven did.

“Her team reached out to me saying they wanted [me] to shoot her,” Irvin Rivera instructed The Post of Methven, who payments herself as a Kentucky Fried Chicken “heiress” since her household as soon as owned an enormous South African hen farm that was a vendor to KFC.

At the top of the shoot, Methven paid for the pictures she appreciated, together with the one which landed her on the Maxim South Africa cowl, he stated.

Rivera stated he wasn’t concerned in getting the picture on the duvet of the journal. “She knows someone from there,” he stated of Maxim South Africa.

Kaila Methven on a Maxim cover
A photographer tells The Post that Kaila Methven paid him for a shot that ended up on Maxim South Africa.
Instagram @madamemethven

Another mannequin who has graced the duvet of Maxim South Africa ended up suing the mum or dad publication, claiming she was duped right into a pay-to-play scheme that resulted in her forking over 1000’s of {dollars} solely to search out out she was being positioned on “fake” covers.

Russian-born Marina Pahomova, also referred to as Marina Pamo, claims she was lured into the alleged scheme by photographer Brian B. Hayes, who offered himself on-line because the unique photographer for Maxim Middle East and Maxim South Africa.

“Some magazines … will ONLY publish my photos on their covers,” he allegedly wrote on his Facebook web page in 2016. “We are proud to provide FREE submissions for those models who book photoshoots with me.”

Once contracted, Hayes instructed Pahomova she would wish to pay $2,000 for a photograph session so he may current the correct of pictures to Maxim, the lawsuit stated.
Hayes then instructed a second picture session so Pahomova may have “other ‘looks’ for the other publications,” costing one other $3,000.

After the second picture shoot was over, Hayes allegedly instructed Pahomova it could value much more cash to get her pictures “on the cover and as a feature inside” Maxim journal.

“Hayes represented to plaintiff that this procedure was a standard business practice including for Maxim,” the lawsuit stated.

He directed her to wire $6,000 to his account and supplied her with the wire directions. To persuade her to pay up, he instructed her he was mates with the editor of Maxim South Africa, Dirk Steenekamp, and even despatched her a screenshot of an allegedly pre-approved Maxim South Africa cowl with Pahomova as the duvet mannequin, the lawsuit stated.

Pahomova was capable of purchase print editions of her May 2016 Maxim South Africa journal cowl. But she claims she was then conned into paying her approach onto a slew of “fake Maxims” that have been allegedly being produced in Muslim international locations that had banned the magazine from showing on newsstands.

“Maxim is defrauding the general public into spending money on purchases of fake Maxims along with defrauding models and commercial advertising that paid for placements in fake Maxims, resulting in damage in the amount of several million dollars,” the lawsuit stated.

Kaila Methven coming out of an SUV
Kaila Methven additionally makes use of the title Madame Methven professionally.
GP/Star Max/GC Images

Maxim, which didn’t reply to requests for remark, claims on its Web web site that it has 27 abroad editions. None of them embody the problems Pahomova flagged as fakes.

In her lawsuit, she stated she believes Hayes duped “hundreds” of fashions over time, and netted himself over $1.5 million.

When The Post referred to as Pahomova final 12 months, she stated the swimsuit was settled and abruptly hung up the cellphone. Maxim seems to have by no means issued a proper response to the lawsuit, which was settled in February 2020, court docket information present.

Neither Steenekamp nor Hayes returned requests for remark about Pahomova’s claims. But within the settlement, Hayes additionally acknowledged that he charged her $6,000 for her Maxim cowl and he gave her again the rights to the two,000 pictures he took of her.

Pahomova was ordered by a decide to pay $15,000 in authorized charges he racked up as a result of she by no means confirmed up for any depositions, authorized papers present. 

Paige Munroe on a Maxim France cover
Fitness mannequin Paige Munroe took a ‘cover’ picture off of her Instagram web page when she realized the story behind it.
Facebook

The apply of paying for covers is condemned by the American Society of Magazine Editors, which boasts members from the nation’s prime shiny magazines.

“ASME’s position on covers for sale — on any content — is: Don’t deceive the reader,” stated Sid Hold, CEO of the commerce affiliation.

Of course, many pay-to-play covers stay solely within the cyber world with no journal pages behind them, and due to this fact haven’t any readers to deceive. Women are sometimes paying for nothing greater than a digital mockup with the journal’s emblem, headline and mannequin that they’ll publish on social media, sources stated.
 
Photographer Joel Alvarez outed this apply in 2019 when he railed on Facebook towards a “mock cover” he claims he shot for Maxim France underneath then-owner Florent Carmin.

“Even though Maxim France never actually went into circulation it’s still nice to see my work on a mock cover,” Alvarez wrote. “But I’ve noticed a lot of [people] posting and even believing that Maxim France is an actual publication.”

Alvarez — known for his 2017 Black Tape Project, that includes stunning ladies wearing outfits manufactured from skimpy, strategically positioned strips {of electrical} tape — connected to his Facebook screed a Maxim France cowl of health mannequin Paige Munroe carrying a gold model of his electric-tape “bikinis.”

The bare-bones cowl gives little greater than an image of Munroe, who boasts 102,000 Instagram followers, with a headline in French that interprets roughly to: “Bombshell of the kind to be respected.” The cowl doesn’t also have a date.

Munroe instructed The Post she didn’t pay for her cowl and was surprised when The Post knowledgeable her that there might have been no journal pages behind it. She stated she did the picture shoot in LA with Alvarez and Carmin believing it was for a print version of the magazine.


Bella Baez
Bella Baez acknowledged spending $12,000 to get an inside unfold and her image on the duvet of Maxim New Zealand.
John Chapple / http://www.JohnChapple.com

“I’ve never paid for a publication in my life. If someone paid for something for me, I was not aware of that, nor would I ask them to do that,” Munroe stated. The Maxim France “cover” was faraway from Munroe’s Instagram web page after The Post contacted her.

Carmin responded to Alvarez’s Facebook publish by threatening authorized motion. “Kindly remove that post of [sic] your page,” he wrote, “or lawsuit will be filed.”

But when reached by The Post, Carmin stated he’s now not in command of Maxim France after getting warmth from Maxim USA over the best way he was operating the enterprise. He stated his issues with the house workplace started shortly after The Post started contacting Maxim US with questions on his operation again in 2020.

In an interview, Carmin acknowledged that he did “very few” print editions of the journal after touchdown the Maxim France license in 2018. He stated he did a number of “digital covers,” typically producing a number of “covers” in a single month.

Carmin additionally insisted he by no means took cash instantly from fashions to seem on his cyber covers. He solely acknowledged being paid by “sponsors” of fashions.

In the case of Munroe, Carmin stated he did the shoot as a “favor” to Alvarez, not in alternate for cash.

Bella Baez instagram post
In addition to the pictures, Bella Baez shared her experiences with despair.
Instagram

While the pay-for-play mannequin of journal covers could be exploitative, some ladies stroll away feeling richer than ever — as was the case for Santa Monica-based health buff Bella Baez, who appeared on Maxim New Zealand’s cowl in 2019.

The California native stated she paid $12,000 to be featured on the duvet and an inside unfold that included an inspiring Q&A about her battle with despair after “a broken heart,”  and the way it led her to get in the very best form of her life and compete in Miss Bikini competitions.

She stated she paid $2,000 for the picture shoot with Hayes, the photographer named within the Pahomova swimsuit. Another $10,000 was “for Maxim to get published and to get a page spread.”

Bella Baez on the cover of Maxim New Zealand
Bella Baez partly financed her foray into Maxim by promoting her useful purses.

And she doesn’t remorse it for a second.

One purpose is that it was cathartic. To pay for the duvet and unfold, Baez offered Chanel baggage she bought from the identical ex-fiancé who despatched her spiraling into despair after they broke up in 2016.

“It’s just materialistic things,” she stated of the designer baggage. “I wanted to share my story and I wanted to inspire people so that, to me, is worth more than a single bag.”

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