Playboy's Lindsay Lohan: Screw Up Or Pin Up?

Once Playboy used to pay the world's most beautiful women to undress now they seem to be chasing the most desperate.
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Once Playboy used to pay the world's most beautiful women to undress now they seem to be chasing the most desperate.


It’s hard to remember now, but there was once a time when Lindsay Lohan was primarily known as an actress. And, by all accounts, a pretty good one. For a moment she was even mentioned in the same breath as Jodie Foster, who successfully negotiated the pressures of child stardom and managed to build a double Oscar-winning career on the back of her precocious performances. It didn’t hurt that Lohan even took on one of Foster’s early breakthrough roles, when she starred in the remake of Disney’s Freaky Friday.

Perky and fresh-faced, rather than classically beautiful, the pretty redhead notched up a series of admittedly undemanding hit movies, culminating in the fantastic Mean Girls. And then it all unrivalled quicker than a River Island cardigan. It was as if she was taking all those cautionary tales about child actors and using them as a ‘Fame For Dummies’ manual.

When she wasn’t falling out of limos with her skirt hitched so high we could see her smiling at both ends, she was turning up at parties looking as though her eyes weren’t just dilated, but seceding from her face altogether.

Dogged by accusations of unprofessional conduct, and a sense of entitlement seldom seen outside of Kensington Palace, she found herself unable to secure a viable acting gig. Despite only being in her early twenties, she’d earned herself a reputation for being as unemployable as Jim Royle. For a while there was talk of Lindsay taking on the role of Linda Lovelace, in a biopic of the tragic performer with a capacious larynx. Sadly, the project went down quicker than its subject ever did, and once again Lindsay was left scrabbling round for something that would pay her mounting legal bills.

Lindsay just isn’t able to keep her nose clean, literally or figuratively, meaning that for the last few years, the only thing anyone’s seen her in is court.  It’s a shame really – if she was based in Vegas rather than LA, she’d have clocked up enough repeat performances to classify it as a residency. Celine Dion got a specially built colosseum for hers.

Custodial sentences and a spell under house arrest also failed in encouraging her to clean up her act, and last week she was hauled into court again for failing to show up for community service. Tough talking judge, Stephanie Sautner, dissed her errant charge, commenting “She is supposed to be an actress from what I hear”. Hasn’t she seen Herbie: Fully Loaded?

Playboy’s quest for cover stars is now plumbing the depths. Instead of immortalising the world’s most beautiful women, they’re settling for tabloid fodder

So where are her parents in all this? After all, she’s only 25 – even if she does look as though she’s got a couple of decades on that. Sadly, Michael and Dina Lohan, who make Josef Fritzl look like the model of effective parenting, have figured that they can make more money from selling their “My agony over Lindsay’s health” stories, than they can by actually getting their daughter clean and sober. Now that she’s an adult, they’re not eligible for a cut of her earnings.

Not to worry though. She might have left her bail hearing another $100,000 lighter, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, it’s a just another flashbulb. According to reports, Lindsay’s agreed to do a nude photoshoot for the legendary soft porn title for a cool million dollars.

There was a time when Playboy demonstrated its dominance of the pictorial self-help marketplace, by securing exclusive shoots with some of the world’s most famous and desirable women. Posing for provocative yet artistic photoshoots, the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch and Cindy Crawford undressed to impress, helping to make Playboy the undisputed top shelf champ.

But something’s changed. In the same way that fame has become a measure of notoriety, rather than actual celebrity, Playboy’s quest for cover stars is now plumbing the depths. Instead of immortalising the world’s most beautiful women, they’re settling for tabloid fodder and stunt casting. In recent years, Heidi Montag, Tara Reid and Paris Hilton have all made the front cover.

With teeth that look like a desecrated graveyard, and the pallid skin of an anaemic elephant, Lindsay is anything but pin-up material. Which makes this whole venture feel like a cynical and entirely unerotic exercise in ambulance chasing. In the 1940s, photojournalist Arthur Fellig became the progenitor of the modern paparazzi, by tagging along with New York’s emergency services and documenting crime scenes through the lens of his camera. As Lindsay’s life continues to fall apart in the glare of the spotlight, it’s not too hard to see the parallels.

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