Since starting bunny training, this once-shy miss from the garden state is blooming with new-found poise
Miss Helena Antoniaccio was born 3/21/49 in Morristown, New Jersey. She was top bunny in June of 1969. Almost thirty years later, she was featured again in a follow up photoshoot in their August, 1997 issue (the subject of a future post).
When you meet Helena Antonaccio for the first time, she has a charmingly modest habit of lowering her eyelashes — a persistent holdover from her bashful teens. “I was always a shy type,” she admits, “but since becoming a Bunny, I’ve learned to be more outgoing.
Looking back on it, though, I don’t know how I ever got up the courage even to apply for the job.” Our New Jersey miss had gone to New York to try out for a wig-modeling assignment. “I’d done some face modeling,” she says, “so I had a little confidence in myself. But when I didn’t get picked for the wig layout, I was really depressed. Not ready to go home and admit defeat, I just started walking around — and I found myself in front of The Playboy Club. I had often wondered what it was like, so I went in and, on an impulse, asked the Door Bunny what it took to qualify.
She directed me to the Bunny Mother, who interviewed me, had me try on a costume, and then — just like that — told me I was accepted for training. So instead of being a failure, I went home with an exciting new career. My folks were as happy as I was. And now to be a Playmate, too — I’m sure glad I didn’t get that wig-modeling job.” So are we.
She was later interviewed in 1997, remembering back on how she first hooked up with the magazine:
When Helena first made our acquaintance she had just lost out on a wig modeling gig. She wandered into the New York Playboy Club and asked about a job. The Door Bunny passed her on to the Bunny Mother, who interviewed her, and hired her on the spot.
From there, her move to the Centerfold (June 1969) happened in, well a hop. Cameras are still very much a part of Helena’s world. She models for catalogs and posters and participates in Glamourcon. “My career is blossoming all over again,” Helena says proudly. “Then again, once you become a Playmate, you are special for life.”
You can check in on Ms. Antonaccio’s goings on now via per her personal web site: http://www.helenaantonaccio.com.
She is still very active, using her modeling past as a springboard to market a variety of products, including her book, various health supplements and general good-lifestyle products.
I have lived in New Jersey all my life. With the support I received from family and friends I started modeling when I was 18 years old.
I pursued my modeling career in New York and it was there that I found myself in front of the New York Playboy Club and on a whim tried to be and was accepted as a Bunny at the club. The first week I was there I met Pompeo Posar who took test shoots of me for Playboy and so began an experience that continues to the present. As a result of Pompeo’s shots I became a Playmate and was featured in the June 1969 issue of Playboy as that month’s centerfold.
Being a Bunny was a good experience, I loved the costume, although it was very uncomfortable, it just made you look so damn sexy! I loved the attention, wouldn’t any young girl? Although it was smoky and dark in the club rooms, it was fun for the time I did it. You do meet interesting and memorable people, mobsters, entertainers, and famous people. As far as the other Bunnies working there, well, girls can be rough on you when you are 19 and didn’t even start working there until asked to become a playmate.
A little jealous, but that is human nature. I guess I would have been too if I wanted something and all of the sudden the new girl on the block gets everything. But all in all it was fun and a happy experience.
After being a Bunny for three years I continued with modeling and acting in New York City. I still model and continue to model in the pin up world. I have appeared in Playboy magazine as a ‘Playmate revisited’ in the August 1997 issue. I can also be seen in other pin up & glamour magazines, including ‘Glamour Girls Then and Now’ issue 15.
I have lead a healthy lifestyle my entire adult life. I am a firm believer in exercise and eating unprocessed foods as much as possible. I believe in holistic healing along with conventional medicine. Skin care is very important to me and I would like someday to own my own cosmetic and beauty line. I am currently writing a book on my experiences.
Many people ask me what is your secret in looking and acting so youthful, so it would be nice to share that. It is no secret a positive attitude, exercise and treating your body with respect and utmost care are just some of the things I do.
I have studied astrology for about 25 years now and believe it has major influence on how I live. I have always loved art. I paint and draw landscapes or beautiful woman. I will feature some of my drawings of my pin up girls in the future on my site.
I am really thankful to Mr. Hugh Hefner for making my life a dream come true for picking me as Miss June 1969. All the people associated with Playboy have always been supportive and very kind to me. And his parties are the best!!
By the way, the photographer who did my first professional pictures in 1968 before I became a centerfold recently met with me again and we are working together on new photographs.
This recent video shows Ms. Antoniaccio promoting her signature wine series of products.
Finally, here’s a link to her 2007 book “What’s Your Secret?”
“How One Centerfold Stays Alluring and Fit Past the Age of Fifty”