Monday, March 24, 2008


Playboy photographers traveled throughout the Southeast this past spring to see hundreds of college girls audition for the 10-page “Girls of the SEC” section of the magazine. Thirty-eight girls from the 12 SEC schools, including four Auburn University girls, were selected and are featured in Playboy’s October issue.
Chanel Nielson, a senior in biomedical science, and Alyssa Tyler, a junior in fashion merchandising, were among the four Auburn students selected.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to do Playboy because it’s the biggest men’s magazine in the country,” said Nielson, who has been modeling four years. “The exposure you get is great because so many celebrities have done it.”
Tyler has no modeling experience, but was equally enthusiastic about the opportunity.
“It’s something that I always said I would like to do and never had the opportunity to do,” Tyler said. “I found out from a friend at the Opelika-Auburn News, and I went for it.”
Nielson said she found out about the Playboy auditions by chance. Some of her classmates told her about the Playboy photographers’ stop in Auburn during a lab.
The auditions were held in March at the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center. Playboy staff instructed girls to fill out paperwork in one room and to be photographed in another.
Both girls said they thought they were going to be nervous at the audition, but they weren’t.
The next day, the girls received a call from Playboy.
“I saw the caller ID, and I was like ‘Oh my God! Yes!’” Nielson said. “I called like 10 people. I called my mom and my best friends immediately.”
Tyler said the caller asked what her plans were for the following Friday, and she replied she was going to the beach. The caller then asked Tyler if she would stay in town and attend a photo shoot for Playboy instead of going to the beach.
“I was really, really excited,” Tyler said. “I was kind of speechless.”
Tyler said her friends were also excited for her, but her mother believes she will regret modeling for Playboy.
Nielson’s mother, however, had the opposite reaction.
“My mother was probably more excited than me,” she said. Nielson said she is grateful for the support she has received from her friends, family and other people.
The following weekend, Nielson and Tyler, along with fellow Auburn students Lauren Lee and Britni Leigh, went back to the hotel to pose for the pictures that would be printed in the 10-page SEC girl section.
Nielson said again she was not nervous, but Tyler felt differently.
“I asked the three other girls at the hotel, ‘Are you guys nervous?’ and they said no, and I was like, ‘Well, I am,’” Tyler said.
Nielson said they spent almost an entire day at the photo shoot.
“It was long,” Nielson said. “Lauren and I did the shoot together. We got there at 12, and didn’t start until five. Then, it was an hour and a half of constant picture-taking.”
Tyler said the photographing process was easy and professionally-done.
“You would think it would be hard to undress in front of a camera, but it’s not,” Tyler said. “The photographers made me feel comfortable.”
Since the issue’s publication, both girls have been recognized by other people as “Girls of the SEC.”
“I am recognized at my job especially,” said Nielson, who works at Hooters.
Tyler is taking a break from school and is working as a cocktail waitress at The Wine Loft in Mobile, where she said she also is regularly recognized from Playboy although her name was misprinted in the magazine.
Tyler’s picture is paired with the name Brittney Brookwood and Brookwood’s information. The error has been corrected online.
Nielson also spotted a misprint in her information. The magazine says her ambition is to be a playmate, but she is actually going to school to be an obstetrician, she said.
All typos aside, Nielson said she enjoyed her experience with Playboy.
“I have no regrets,” Neilson said.
Playboy’s October issue hit newsstands Sept. 7, and is also available online at
Playboy has featured college pictorials for 31 years. The magazine last published a “Girls of the SEC” section in its October 2001 issue.

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