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 and Playmate of the Year of 1998. In 2001, the readers of Playboy voted McDougal the runner-up of "The sexiest Playmate of the 1990s".
Karen McDougal in Los Angeles, on October 1, 2011
|Playboy centerfold appearance|
|Preceded by||Inga Drozdova|
|Succeeded by||Heather Kozar|
|Playboy Playmate of the Year|
|Preceded by||Victoria Silvstedt|
|Succeeded by||Heather Kozar|
March 23, 1971 |
Merrillville, Indiana, U.S.
|Measurements||Bust: 34 in (86 cm) C cup
Waist: 24 in (61 cm)
Hips: 34 in (86 cm)
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight||125 lb (57 kg; 8.9 st)|
McDougal taught pre-kindergarten before winning a swimwear competition that launched her career as a glamor, 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.
McDougal is a fitness enthusiast, having since childhood engaged in ballet study and high school sports. She is an avid motorcycle and car collector. Since her Playmate days, she has maintained a largely private social life. The revelation of a 2005-06 alleged affair with Donald Trump put her into the national headlines before and after the 2016 United States presidential election.
Although her Playmate datasheet stated she was born in Gary, Indiana, McDougal was actually born in Merrillville, Indiana, near Gary. She is of Cherokee Indian, Scottish and Irish descent. McDougal is the first daughter in the family, with 3 older brothers, Bob, Dave and Jeff, and a younger sister, Tina. Her mother, Carol, remarried when McDougal was 9 years old and the family moved to Sawyer, Michigan 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. She attended River Valley High School 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. Her high school nickname was "Barbie" due to her wholesome sweetness. After graduating high school in 1989, she attended Ferris State University at Big Rapids, Michigan, majoring in Elementary Education.
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. One of her professional goals has always been to open a learning center for children, but she has put those plans on hold to focus on pursuing roles in acting and modelling.
In 1997, McDougal tried out and won her local Venus Swimwear swimsuit competition in Michigan, earning her place at the international final in Florida. Her victory caught the eye of Playboy photographer David Mecey. Soon after that she was approached by Playboy for a test shoot at Playboy Studio West which she accepted. Upon completing her test shoot, she was promptly selected to return for a complete photo and video shoot and chosen as Miss December 1997. Her pictorial, which was shot by photographers Richard Fegley and Stephen Wayda, has a winter theme and its outdoor portion was shot in the snowy fields near Park City, Utah. Her video, the "Playmate Profile", was featured on Playboy TV soon after her magazine debut.
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. 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". McDougal's PMOY pictorial was featured in the July 1998 issue of Playboy where she also appeared on its cover. In contrast to her Playmate pictorial, her PMOY pictorial has a tropical theme and its outdoor portion was shot at Saint Lucia. 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. 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. 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.
Many regard her as a favorite Playmate 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 runner-up of "Readers' Choice Sexiest Playmate of the 1990s", with Pamela Anderson taking the No.1 spot. In an online chat in 2002, McDougal expressed interest in posing nude for Playboy again if offered.
In March 1999, McDougal became the first woman to appear on the cover of Men's Fitness magazine. Since then she expanded her career into fitness modeling by appearing in fitness and body building magazines such as Muscle & Fitness (January 2000), Physical (June 2004) and Iron Man (October 2005, January 2006, June 2007 and November 2009). She appeared in a 10-page pictorial in the January 2006 issue of Iron Man as "Hardbody" of the month, and on the cover of its October 2005 and June 2007 issues. McDougal returned as "Hardbody" of the month in the November 2009 issue in a pictorial together with fellow Playmate Katie Lohmann. In interviews, she stated that her transition to fitness modeling was unintentional.
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. 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.
In early 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 earlier. She traveled 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. 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.
McDougal appeared in the 2005 Playmates at Play at the Playboy Mansion swimsuit calendar as the calendar girl of July. The calendar was the inaugural Playmates at Play calendar and it was shot on the grounds of Playboy Mansion in 2004. 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.
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. 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.
Television and film
McDougal appeared in a series of sexy television commercials for XFL football league on NBC and UPN with the theme of "Cheerleaders". These edgy XFL commercials with implied nudity backfired and caused a controversy as they were deemed too risqué by the media, they were quietly withdrawn before the launch of 2001 XFL inaugural (and final) season; the footage was nonetheless repurposed later in the season as a publicity stunt for a halftime telecast.
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.
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. Cindy Taylor was the eventual winner of Wild Off!.
After winning the local try out in Los Angeles, McDougal advanced to the 2004 WWE Diva Search special held at the Beacon Theatre in New York as one of 28 finalists. The special was televised live on Spike TV with a live audience on July 15, 2004. 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.
McDougal appeared as one of the interviewees in E! True Hollywood Story of Hugh Hefner first broadcast 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.
She has guest hosted TV programs (Wild On! on E!, VIP Access on Showtime), appeared in other TV programs (such as: Lovespring International, Anger Management, The O'Reilly Factor, Playmate edition of Russian Roulette,[dead link] etc.), movies (cameos in Joe Dirt, Charlie's Angels, Grind, The Girl Next Door and Raising Helen) and music videos with singer David Lee Roth.
In 2010, McDougal became one of the owners of Pharmore Alternatives, a company selling various health and wellness supplements. She attended the 2011 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in January 2011 to promote its products.
McDougal is an avid motorcycle rider and car collector. Her first modelling assignment was being a promotional model at a Harley-Davidson bike show in Detroit. In 2004, she bought a pink custom-built motorcycle, and entered an Easyriders sponsored motorcycle competition in Pomona, where her motorcycle won the Best Radical Custom award. She also professes to be a chocoholic and junk food junkie even when she considers herself a "health nut". In her spare time, she works out 5 days a week to stay in shape. When she was Playmate of the Year of 1998, she had a healthy BMI of 19. 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. McDougal has two tattoos, one is a tattoo of a cat on the second toe of her right foot to honor her cats, the other is that of a cross behind her right ear as a reminder of her spirituality.
McDougal's family members initially did not support her decision to pose for Playboy. 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. Her family has a history of breast cancer, and McDougal, who acknowledges having breast implants, is an advocate of breast cancer awareness. In January 2017, she had her breast implants removed after her health condition worsened. As of 2007, McDougal is residing in Los Angeles and Phoenix, Arizona. In March 2008, McDougal appeared in a topless pictorial and interview in Spanish magazine Interviu in which she discussed her relationship with Bruce Willis at the time.
Alleged affair with Donald Trump
In November 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that McDougal had told her friends that she had an affair with a married Donald Trump from 2006 to 2007, with various sources quoting that it had lasted from ten months to a year. It also reported that American Media, Inc. (AMI), the owner of the National Enquirer, had paid McDougal $150,000 for exclusive rights to her story, but never published it. AMI stated to The Wall Street Journal that it had paid the amount to McDougal not "to kill damaging stories about" Trump, but for "exclusive life rights to any relationship she has had with a then-married man" and "two years’ worth of her fitness columns and magazine covers".
The Wall Street Journal published the story 4 days before the 2016 United States presidential elections, in which Trump was the Republican nominee. Trump was endorsed by the National Enquirer, and was friends with David Pecker, the CEO/Chairman of AMI. Hope Hicks, speaking for the Trump campaign, denied the existence of an affair between Trump and McDougal.
In February 2018, with Trump already elected as President, The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow wrote about the affair and AMI's purchase of the story, largely corroborating the 2016 Wall Street Journal report, except that the affair had gone on for nine months. The story was based on McDougal's handwritten memoirs of the affair, which McDougal's friend passed to Farrow. McDougal confirmed to Farrow that she had written the memoirs. Farrow quotes the memoirs as stating that McDougal first met Trump in June 2006 at a party hosted by Hugh Heffner in the Playboy Mansion. Trump kept in contact with McDougal, and they had sex on the first date. During the affair, she met members of his family and he promised to buy her an apartment in New York. To avoid "paper trails", Trump had McDougal pay for flight and hotel expenses when she flew to meet him, then he reimbursed her. McDougal ended the affair in April 2007 due to guilt and being offended about some of Trump's comments.
McDougal declined to discuss details of the alleged affair due to her agreement with AMI, but she told Farrow that she regretted signing that agreement, saying, "It took my rights away ... I don't know what I'm allowed to talk about. I'm afraid to even mention his name." Farrow also wrote that AMI CEO/Chairman David Pecker has a "favorite tactic" of buying "a story in order to bury it". AMI said it does not publish McDougal's story as it was not credible, and a spokesperson for the White House denied the affair.
- Fegley, Richard, & Wayda, Stephen (photographers). "Winter Wonder", Playboy, vol. 44, issue 12, p. 126-137, December 1997.
- McDougal, Karen (herself) (1998). Playboy: Playmate Profile Video Collection Featuring Miss December 1997, 1994, 1991, 1986 (VHS). USA: Playboy Entertainment.
- Fegley, Richard, & Wayda, Stephen (photographers). "Playmate of the Year: Karen McDougal takes a bow", Playboy, vol. 45, issue 7, p. 130-141, July 1998.
- "About me", at Karen McDougal's official site. Retrieved on March 23, 2009.
- McDougal, Karen (Herself) (1998). Playboy Video Centerfold: Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal (VHS & DVD). USA: Image Entertainment.
- "Model of the Week: Karen McDougal" Archived August 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. at AskMen.com Retrieved on October 20, 2006
- "Karen McDougal: The Real 'Girl Next Door'" at Savvy.com Archived October 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on October 20, 2006
- Playboy CyberClub Chat Transcript: Karen McDougal, Miss December 1997 (membership required) Archived December 4, 2009, at Archive.is November 6, 1997. Retrieved on November 9, 2006
- "Good Day LA @ Skybar" video clip from Video Clips section Archived January 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. of Karen McDougal's official site. Retrieved on December 2, 2006"Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 27, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2006.
- Playboy Cover Gallery 1998 Archived April 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. courtesy of Playboy.com. Retrieved on February 11, 2010 (Mature Content)
- McDougal, Karen (Herself) (1998). The Magic Hour: Episode dates July 2, 1998 (TV-Series). USA: 20th Century Fox Television.
- Playboy CyberClub Chat Transcript: Karen McDougal, Miss December 1997, PMOY 1998 (membership required) Archived December 4, 2009, at Archive.is April 4, 2002. Retrieved November 9, 2006
- Cover of June 2007 issue courtesy of IronMan Magazine. Retrieved on May 7, 2007
- Silverman, Ruth. "Karen McDougal & Katie Lohmann: The Yin and the Yang", Iron Man, Vol. 68, Iss. 11, pg. 222-229, November 2009
- My Galleries of Karen McDougal's official site Retrieved March 23, 2009
- Neveux, Michael. (Photographer) "Playmate Power", Iron Man, Vol. 65, Iss. 1, pg. 228-237, January 2006
- "Pop Questions: Karen McDougal", Playboy, Vol. 53, Iss. 9, pg. 148, September 2006.
- Raving Toy Maniac presents "A Playmate of Your Own" Retrieved on October 20, 2006
- Warrior Princess at the Nudes and Harlequins section of Bill Toma's official website Retrieved on February 7, 2007
- "Vogue Homme International: Net Gains Yuppie Story on David LaChapelle's official website Retrieved on February 25, 2017
- "Hustle-3" photo gallery at Sportsnav.com Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. (in Japanese) Retrieved on October 20, 2006
- Wayda, Stephen. (Photographer) "Playboy:Playmates at Play at the Mansion - 2005 Swimsuit Calendar", John F. Turner, 2004. ISBN 1-4038-1814-2
- "Playboy Swimsuit Calendar for 2005", Reuters by way of China Daily, July 9, 2004. Retrieved on November 9, 2006
- "Neveux, Michael. (Photographer) "Celebrity Playmate Gift Guide", Splat, pg. 56-73, December 2006/January 2007
- ""They are not Cheerleaders - but they play them on TV", XFL.com via XFLBoard.com, September 28, 2000. Retrieved on May 3, 2009
- Ninemire, Valerie "XFL Cheerleaders - Xciting or Xploiting?", About.com, February 2, 2001. Retrieved on December 2, 2006
- "XFL folds after one season", CBC News, May 11, 2001. Retrieved on November 27, 2006
- "The Arena" review by Joe Bob Briggs Retrieved on October 20, 2006
- McDougal, Karen (Herself) (1998). Wild On!: Wild Off! Las Vegas (TV-Series). USA: E! Entertainment.
- "Model of the Week: Cindy Taylor" at AskMen.com Retrieved on December 2, 2006
- "Live Television Network Special To Determine Final 10 In The Worldwide Search For The Next WWE Diva!!" (Press release). World Wrestling Entertainment. July 12, 2004. Archived from the original on June 8, 2007. Retrieved October 27, 2006.
- McDougal, Karen (Herself) (2004). RAW Diva Search Casting Special (TV-Special). USA: Spike TV.
- "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). Game Show Network (Archived at Goliath). December 2, 2002. Archived from the original on March 18, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2007.
- About us at Pharmore Alternatives Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 19, 2011
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- 2011 AEE - Natures Uphoria. AdultXEvents.com. Retrieved June 21, 2011
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- "If a Playmate bought a Bike" - an article from Hot Bike Retrieved on October 20, 2006
- Riggs, Curtis. "Award, Playmate and Giant bringing notoriety to Phoenix Choppers", Sonoran News, February 4, 2004.
- Creager, Ellen. "It takes effort -- and maybe anorexia -- to be model-thin", Detroit Free Press, July 21, 1998.
- "RipeTV presents Playboy Dating: Karen McDougal". Ripe TV via Sling.com Retrieved on February 6, 2008
- Martin, Jennifer (July 1, 1998). "Playmate plans to put title to good use". South Bend Tribune.
- "I thought I was going to die': Former Playboy model has her breast implants removed after claiming they were causing migraines, vision loss and BLACK OUTS". Retrieved February 25, 2017.
- "Karen McDougal, la última novia de Bruce Willis". Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- Farrow, Ronan (February 16, 2018). "Donald Trump, the Playboy Model Karen McDougal, and a System for Concealing Infidelity". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- Palazzolo, Joe; Rothfeld, Michael; Alpert, Lukas (November 4, 2016). "National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump From Playboy Model's Affair Allegation". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
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- Zarroli, Jim (November 8, 2016). "It's All Over But The Voting, As Trump And Clinton Cast Their Ballots". NPR. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Yuhas, Alan. "Trump 'had affair with former Playboy model', report says". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
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