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Karen McDougal
Karen McDougal.jpg
Karen McDougal at the Home Theater Forum 2007 in Las Vegas
Playboy centerfold appearance
December 1997
Preceded by Inga Drozdova
Succeeded by Heather Kozar
Playmate of the Year
Preceded by Victoria Silvstedt
Succeeded by Heather Kozar
Personal details
Born March 23, 1971 (1971-03-23) (age 38)[1]
Merrillville, Indiana[2]
Measurements Bust: 34 in (86 cm) C cup[1]
Waist: 24 in (61 cm)[1]
Hips: 34 in (86 cm)[1]
Natural bust No
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Weight 125 lb (57 kg; 8.9 st)[1]
Official website

Karen McDougal (born March 23, 1971) is an American model and actress. She is known for her appearances in Playboy magazine as Playmate of the Month for December 1997[1] and Playmate of the Year of 1998.[3] In 2001, the readers of Playboy voted McDougal "No. 2 Sexiest Playmate of the 1990s."[4]

McDougal taught pre-kindergarten before winning a swimwear competition and beginning her career as a glamour, promotional, and swimsuit model. Since her appearances in Playboy, she has extended her career into a wide variety of appearances in mainstream media, including other magazine modeling, television commercials, and minor acting, with mixed success. She has been a successful fitness model, with multiple magazine appearances including being the first woman to appear on the cover of Men's Fitness magazine. She starred in The Arena, a direct-to-video film, and inspired the creation of a fantasy art statuette and a doll. She is interested in pursuing work as a television host.

McDougal is a fitness enthusiast, since childhood ballet study and high school sports, and still noted for ability to perform the straddle split in modeling sessions. She is an avid motorcycle and car collector. Since her Playmate days, she has maintained a largely private social life, though in 2007 the paparazzi reported her dating actor Bruce Willis.



Early life and education

Although her Playmate datasheet stated she was born in Gary, Indiana, McDougal was actually born in Merrillville, Indiana, near Gary.[2] She is of Cherokee Indian and Irish descent.[1] McDougal is the first daughter in the family with 3 older brothers, Bob, Dave and Jeff, and a younger sister, Tina. Her mother, Carol,[5] remarried when McDougal was 9 years old and the family moved to Sawyer, Michigan[6] where she remained until college.

McDougal studied tap dance and ballet as a child. Her childhood dream, prior to teaching and modeling, was to become a ballerina.[1] She attended River Valley High School[6] and became a cheerleader, band member, color guard, volleyball and softball player, as well as Michigan state champion clarinet player for 4 years in a row in high school.[4] Her high school nickname was "Barbie" due to her wholesome sweetness.[1] After graduating high school in 1989,[7] she attended Ferris State University at Big Rapids, Michigan, majoring in Elementary Education.[6]

After 2 years of college, McDougal moved to a Detroit suburb where she taught pre-kindergarten, before being persuaded to try out for a swimsuit competition.[6] One of her professional goals has always been to open a learning center for children,[1] but she has put those plans on hold to focus on pursuing roles in acting and modelling.[7]

Career highlights


In 1997, McDougal tried out and won her local Venus Swimwear swimsuit competition in Michigan. Her victory caught the eye of Playboy photographer David Mecey.[4] Soon after that she was approached by Playboy for a test shoot at Playboy Studio West which she accepted.[6] Upon completing her test shoot, she was promptly selected to return for a complete photo and video shoot and chosen as Miss December 1997.[4] Her pictorial, which was shot by photographers Richard Fegley and Stephen Wayda, has a winter theme[1] and its outdoor portion was shot in the snowy fields near Park City, Utah.[8] Her video, the "Playmate Profile", was featured on Playboy TV soon after her magazine debut.[2]

In May 1998, she was announced to have been chosen by Hugh Hefner and fans as Playmate of the Year (PMOY) of 1998 at a luncheon at the Playboy Mansion.[9] As her reward, she was awarded $100,000 and a special edition silver Shelby Series 1 convertible with a customized Michigan license plate "PMOY 98".[3] In contrast to her Playmate pictorial, her PMOY pictorial in the July 1998 issue of Playboy has a tropical theme and its outdoor portion was shot at Saint Lucia.[3] According to her interview in her Playmate of the Year "Video Centerfold" which was released soon after her PMOY issue debuted, she believes her physical imperfections are her "funny" smile, her crooked pinkies which she inherited from her grandfather and her "ugly feet" which she wishes others would not look at.[5] Because of the popularity of the VH1 television series "Pop-up Video" at the time, one of the segments in her PMOY video was done as a Pop-up Video parody filled with factoids about her and Playboy.[5] During her appearance on The Magic Hour to promote her PMOY issue, McDougal demonstrated her signature pose, straddle split on TV in front of a live studio audience.[10] Playboy has continued to publish her material in Playboy Cyber Club, Playboy Special Edition publications and Playboy Videos.[11][12] In an online chat in 2002, McDougal expressed interest in posing nude for Playboy again if offered.[12]


Fitness modeling

In March 1999, McDougal became the first woman to appear on the cover of Men's Fitness magazine.[4] Since then she began expanding her career into that of a fitness model by appearing in various fitness and body building magazines such as Muscle & Fitness (January 2000), Physical (June 2004) and Iron Man (October 2005, January 2006, June 2007[13] and November 2009[14]).[15] She appeared in a 10-page pictorial in the January 2006 issue of Iron Man as "Hardbody" of the month,[16] and on the cover of the June 2007 Iron Man with film actor Sebastian Siegel. McDougal returned as "Hardbody" of the month in the November 2009 issue in a pictorial together with fellow Playmate Katie Lohmann.[14] In interviews, she stated that her transition to fitness modeling was unintentional.[14][17]

Television and film
Karen McDougal (background) in a XFL cheerleader commercial

McDougal appeared in a series of sexy TV commercials for XFL football league on NBC and UPN with the theme of "Cheerleaders".[18] These edgy XFL commercials with implied nudity backfired and caused a controversy as they were deemed too risqué by the media,[19][20] they were quietly withdrawn before the launch of 2001 XFL inaugural (and final[21]) season.

In 2001, she co-starred with Lisa Dergan in The Arena, a Roger Corman-produced, direct-to-video movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov. The entire production was shot in Russia. In her feature film debut, McDougal's character, Jessemina, is a slave girl who is forced into fighting as a female gladiator in an Ancient Roman colony by its corrupt governor. The role offered McDougal her first opportunity to act in a dramatic role and to demonstrate her physical abilities with the movie's sword fighting sequences. The movie, initially titled Gladiatrix was deemed to be a knockoff of Gladiator. Although the movie was not well received, it has turned into a lesser known cult film.[22]

McDougal was one of twelve contestants in the search for the new host succeeding Brooke Burke for Wild On! in 2002 (known as Wild Off!). The contest took place at The Palms in Las Vegas. Each contestant was given a "wild" challenge to complete and McDougal's challenge was to dress up as Cleopatra and roam the casino at Caesars Palace in the arms of an actor dressed up as Julius Caesar for a day. She completed her challenge and was considered an early favorite by fellow contestants, but did not advance to the final round of 5 contestants.[23] Cindy Taylor was the eventual winner of Wild Off!.[24]

After winning the local try out in Los Angeles, McDougal advanced to World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) RAW Diva Search 2004 special held at the Beacon Theater in New York as one of 28 finalists. The special was televised live on Spike TV with a live audience on July 15, 2004.[25] McDougal, clad in a black bikini, survived 2 rounds of elimination during the 2 hour special, only to be eliminated by the judges in the last round at the end, just prior to the selection of the final 10 contestants eligible for online voting.[26]

McDougal appeared as one of the interviewees in E! True Hollywood Story of Hugh Hefner first broadcasted on April 9, 2006. She briefly described her experience at the Playboy Mansion when she was Miss December 1997. In summer of 2006, McDougal appeared as a fitness model demonstrating all the exercises in a fitness training DVD with Hollywood celebrity fitness trainer Valerie Waters.[17]

McDougal is interested in pursuing hosting duties of TV or sports shows.[16] She has guest hosted TV programs (Wild On! on E!, VIP Access on Showtime), appeared in other TV programs (such as: Lovespring International, The O'Reilly Factor, Playmate edition of Russian Roulette,[27] etc.), movies (cameos in Joe Dirt, Charlie's Angels, Grind, The Girl Next Door and Raising Helen)[11] and music videos (singer David Lee Roth).

Print media and others

Many regard her as a favorite Playmate in recent years because of her combination of beauty, "Girl next door" appeal and curvaceous figure, according to a November 2001 Playboy poll in the special edition Sexiest Playmates. In that issue, she was voted "Readers' Choice No.2 Sexiest Playmate of the 1990s" (Pamela Anderson was voted No.1).[4]

Playboy released a limited edition doll in 2002 based on the likeness of McDougal and emphasized that it was an accurate model of her statuesque physique. Her collectors' figure was originally slated to be the first in the series to be released, however it was delayed due to redesigns.[28] McDougal collaborated with fantasy sculptor Bill Toma in creating a limited edition bronze statuette titled Warrior Princess in 2003. McDougal posed for Toma in the creative process and the pedestal of each statuette bears her signature.[29]

In spring of 2004, McDougal appeared in a photo spread in the Italian edition of Vogue with fellow Playmates, Pamela Anderson, Audra Lynn and Tishara Cousino. It was a tennis themed men's fashion spread shot in Las Vegas by photographer David LaChapelle. The spread contained her first published nudes since her contract with Playboy expired years ago.[30] She travelled to Japan to be one of the eye candies for Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (The Outsiders) when they wrestled at Yokohama, Japan in May 2004.[31] McDougal also participated in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Playboy throughout the year at Las Vegas, New York and Moscow with other Playmates past and present.[15]

McDougal appeared in the 2005 Playmates at Play at the Playboy Mansion swimsuit calendar as the calendar girl of July.[32] The calendar was the inaugural Playmates at Play calendar and it was shot on the grounds of Playboy Mansion in 2004.[33] It was Playboy's first attempt at creating a non-nude swimsuit calendar featuring Playmates similar in style with those from Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. While all Playmates appeared in bikinis in the calendar, McDougal and Hiromi Oshima were the only two Playmates actually wearing only painted on bikinis.[32]

In November 2006, she was part of a trio of Playmates (along with Tina Marie Jordan and Katie Lohmann) that appeared in the "Celebrity Playmate Gift Guide" pictorial of Splat magazine, a paintball enthusiasts magazine. The pictorial showcased new paintball products for the 2006 holiday season.[34] McDougal has also appeared in various pin-up posters, calendars, magazine covers, advertising campaigns, promotional events, clothing, swimwear and lingerie catalogs following her success as Playmate of the Year.[15]

Personal life

McDougal relishes the thrill of speed[35] as she is an avid motorcycle rider and car collector.[36] Her first modelling assignment was being a promotional model at a Harley-Davidson bike show in Detroit.[15] In 2004, she bought a pink custom-built motorcycle,[37] and entered an Easyriders sponsored motorcycle competition in Pomona, where her motorcycle won the Best Radical Custom award.[38] She also professes to be a chocoholic and junk food junkie even when she considers herself a "health nut".[4] In her spare time, she works out 5 days a week to stay in shape.[14] When she was Playmate of the Year of 1998, she had a healthy BMI of 19.[39] Although she is a swimsuit model, she is not a proficient swimmer because of her aquaphobia. She is an animal lover and owned two cats: Brittany and Brandy.[4] McDougal has 2 tattoos,[35] one is a tattoo of a cat on the second toe of her right foot to honor her cats,[12] the other is that of a cross behind her right ear as a reminder of her spirituality.[35]

McDougal's family members initially did not support her decision to pose for Playboy.[7] Eventually, they embraced the fact and her mother appeared in interview segments of her Playmate of the Year "Video Centerfold" as a sign of support.[5] Her family has a history of breast cancer, and McDougal, who acknowledges having breast implants, is an advocate of breast cancer awareness.[40] McDougal currently resides in Los Angeles[16] and Phoenix, Arizona.[37] In an interview in 2007, McDougal stated that she is single.[35] In the same year, she was dating actor Bruce Willis on different occasions.[41][42] The media initially incorrectly identified McDougal as actress Tamara Feldman.[42] In March 2008, McDougal appeared in a topless pictorial and interview in Spanish magazine Interviu discussing her relationship with Willis[43] soon after he began dating model Emma Heming.[44][45]


I'm more mature now and less shy - that happens when you pose nude - but I've always put the feelings of others first. I'm just very nurturing and love to take care of people. - interview, August 2004[7]
I have to admit I was completely smitten when the guy who delivers my bottled water said, "You have the face of an angel and the body of a goddess." - Centerfold on Sex, Playboy magazine, July 2005, Vol. 52, Iss. 7, pg. 113[46]
It just so happened that I was in great shape, so they started using me in fitness magazines. I think it's great that at 38 I'm capable of doing fitness stuff. - Hardbody of the Month, Iron Man magazine, November 2009, Vol 68, Iss.11, pg. 222-229[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Fegley, Richard & Wayda, Stephen. (Photographers) "Winter Wonder", Playboy, Vol. 44, Iss. 12, pg. 126-137, December 1997.
  2. ^ a b c McDougal, Karen (Herself). (1998) Playboy: Playmate Profile Video Collection Featuring Miss December 1997, 1994, 1991, 1986 [VHS]. USA: Playboy Entertainment.
  3. ^ a b c Fegley, Richard & Wayda, Stephen. (Photographers) "Playmate of the Year: Karen McDougal takes a bow", Playboy, Vol. 45, Iss. 7, pg. 130-141, July 1998.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Karen", at Karen McDougal's official site. Retrieved on December 16, 2008
  5. ^ a b c d McDougal, Karen (Herself). (1998) Playboy Video Centerfold: Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal [VHS & DVD]. USA: Image Entertainment.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Model of the Week: Karen McDougal" at Retrieved on October 20, 2006
  7. ^ a b c d "Karen McDougal: The Real 'Girl Next Door'" at Retrieved on October 20, 2006
  8. ^ Playboy CyberClub Chat Transcript: Karen McDougal, Miss December 1997 (membership required) November 6, 1997. Retrieved November 9, 2006
  9. ^ "Good Day LA @ Skybar" video clip from Video Clips section of Karen McDougal's official site. Retrieved on December 2, 2006
  10. ^ "Magic Hour" video clip from Video Clips section of Karen McDougal's official site Retrieved on December 2, 2006.
  11. ^ a b Karen McDougal at the Internet Movie Database Retrieved on 2007-12-27.
  12. ^ a b c Playboy CyberClub Chat Transcript: Karen McDougal, Miss December 1997, PMOY 1998 (membership required) April 4, 2002. Retrieved November 9, 2006
  13. ^ Cover of June 2007 issue courtesy of IronMan Magazine. Retrieved on May 7, 2007
  14. ^ a b c d e Silverman, Ruth. "Karen McDougal & Katie Lohmann: The Yin and the Yang", Iron Man, Vol. 68, Iss. 11, pg. 222-229, November 2009
  15. ^ a b c d Photo gallery section of Karen McDougal's official site Retrieved December 16, 2008
  16. ^ a b c Neveux, Michael. (Photographer) "Playmate Power", Iron Man, Vol. 65, Iss. 1, pg. 228-237, January 2006
  17. ^ a b "Pop Questions: Karen McDougal", Playboy, Vol. 53, Iss. 9, pg. 148, September 2006.
  18. ^ "They are not Cheerleaders - but they play them on TV", via, September 28, 2000. Retrieved on May 3, 2009
  19. ^ Hanacek, Andy. "Let the Games Begin", Pro Football Weekly, February 1, 2001. Retrieved on March 9, 2008
  20. ^ Ninemire, Valerie "XFL Cheerleaders - Xciting or Xploiting?",, February 2, 2001. Retrieved on December 2, 2006
  21. ^ "XFL folds after one season", CBC News, May 11, 2001. Retrieved on November 27, 2006
  22. ^ "The Arena" review by Joe Bob Briggs Retrieved on October 20, 2006
  23. ^ McDougal, Karen (Herself). (1998) Wild On!: Wild Off! Las Vegas [TV-Series]. USA: E! Entertainment.
  24. ^ "Model of the Week: Cindy Taylor" at Retrieved on December 2, 2006
  25. ^ World Wrestling Entertainment (July 12, 2004). "Live Television Network Special To Determine Final 10 In The Worldwide Search For The Next WWE Diva!!". Press release. Retrieved 2006-10-27.  
  26. ^ McDougal, Karen (Herself). (2004) RAW Diva Search Casting Special [TV-Special]. USA: Spike TV.
  27. ^ Game Show Network (Archived at Goliath) (December 2, 2002). "Live Television Network Special To Determine Final 10 In The Worldwide Search For The Next WWE Diva!!Game Show Network Heats Up New Year's Eve With Special Playboy Playmate Edition of Russian Roulette; Long Walks on the Beach and Sensitive Men are Fun, but Falling Thru the Roulette 'Drop Zone' is Much More Exciting!". Press release. Retrieved 2007-12-28.  
  28. ^ Raving Toy Maniac presents "A Playmate of Your Own" Retrieved on October 20, 2006
  29. ^ Warrior Princess at the Nudes and Harlequins section of Bill Toma's official website Retrieved on February 7, 2007 (Artistic Nudity)
  30. ^ Vogue Homme International: Net Gains Yuppie Story on David LaChapelle's official website Retrieved on February 7, 2007 (Artistic Nudity)
  31. ^ "Hustle-3" photo gallery at (Japanese) Retrieved on October 20, 2006
  32. ^ a b Wayda, Stephen. (Photographer) "Playboy:Playmates at Play at the Mansion - 2005 Swimsuit Calendar", John F. Turner, 2004. ISBN 140381814-2
  33. ^ "Playboy Swimsuit Calendar for 2005", Reuters by way of China Daily, July 9, 2004. Retrieved on November 9, 2006
  34. ^ "Neveux, Michael. (Photographer) "Celebrity Playmate Gift Guide", Splat, pg. 56-73, December 2006/January 2007
  35. ^ a b c d RipeTV presents Playboy Dating: Karen McDougal at Ripe TV via Retrieved on February 6, 2008
  36. ^ Kunam, Maman. "RPM Profile: Interview with Karen McDougal", RPM, Issue 7, pg. 70-81, December 2004/January 2005.
  37. ^ a b "If a Playmate bought a Bike" - an article from Hot Bike Retrieved on October 20, 2006
  38. ^ Riggs, Curtis. "Award, Playmate and Giant bringing notoriety to Phoenix Choppers", Sonoran News, February 4, 2004.
  39. ^ Creager, Ellen. "It takes effort -- and maybe anorexia -- to be model-thin", Detroit Free Press, July 21, 1998.
  40. ^ Martin, Jennifer. "Playmate plans to put title to good use", South Bend Tribune, July 1, 1998.
  41. ^ "Bruce Willis: Die Hard Tries Hard for Bunny",, March 19, 2007 Retrieved on August 8, 2007
  42. ^ a b "Bruce Willis and Karen McDougal take yacht holiday", Celebrity, August 7, 2007 Retrieved on August 8, 2007
  43. ^ Montero, Luis Miguel. "Karen McDougal, la última novia de Bruce Willis", Interviu, March 10, 2008 (Spanish) Retrieved on March 11, 2008 (Mature Content)
  44. ^ "Couples Watch:Justine & Jessica, Bruce & Emma...", People, April 7, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
  45. ^ "Emma Heming, Bruce Willis's Grilfriend, models for La Senza", The Daily Telegraph, April 30, 2008. Retrieved on May 17, 2008.
  46. ^ Centerfold on Sex - Karen McDougal at Retrieved on February 7, 2007 (Mature Content)

External links

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