Ultraswank.net Interviews Playboy Bunny Sharon Bernstein Peyton.
In 1964 when Sharon Bernstein Peyton was 18 years old she worked as a Showroom Bunny at the brand new Baltimore Playboy Club. Join Ultra Swank as we continue our journey into a more stylish, sexy and sophisticated world as we venture behind the curtain with her to mingle with go getters and high rollers.
Working as a Bunny must have made you mature faster and experience things you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Do you think you would have been the same person today if you never worked at the club?
The Playboy Club was an intense and sophisticated environment, a different world, where I was exposed to many new things. It probably did cause me to mature faster. I learned to apply the, “Fake it till you make it” method. I acted sophisticated like I knew what I was doing until I gained more expertise. This question is very important to me because I believe that this experience had a very meaningful and lasting impact on my life. I don’t believe I would be the same person if I had not been a Playboy Bunny.
There were three significant benefits to being a Playboy Bunny.
The first is that as a Playboy Bunny in the 1960’s, I was a member of a small group of women who were considered, “sex symbols” and received special attention. Even now, 47 years later, people are still interested to know that I was a Bunny. This elevated my sense of self-confidence and self-esteem. For me this training and experience was a kind of finishing school. It gave me a sense of poise that hasn’t diminished in all these years.
The second important benefit was that, not only was this big business, this was show business. Working as a Bunny established my lifetime interest in the entertainment industry. Within a year of leaving Playboy I was married and the co-owner of my own night club business, the Bluesette, where I managed a rock music club, jazz club and booked music talent. Over the years, I also added a passion for mass media, and worked in radio and TV broadcasting, public relations, advertising, and the record industry.
Finally, the main reason why this job had so much impact on me was the fact that this was my first, full-time permanent job after attending college for one year. I was a clean slate. This was a very successful corporation that permeated the culture I grew up in. I carefully observed everything there was to study. I was most impressed and influenced by the fact that the Playboy Club was completely focused on providing superior customer service.
Everything was highly organized to accomplish that goal. Every detail was anticipated down to the last toothpick. I emphasize toothpick because we had custom made black plastic toothpicks that were used for the drink garnishes. When and how they were used was specified, in detail, for each type of drink.
My training as a Playboy Bunny had a permanent effect on my life. It provided a springboard that launched me into the rest of my business education and career. It provided me with learning lessons that calibrated everything that followed. Once they trained me to provide superior customer service, I would never be satisfied in my professional life to provide any customer or client anything less than that. In my personal life, it also set my expectations for how I should be treated as a customer. I expected to receive superior customer service, also.
In retrospect, as I look back over my career, I can easily find the thread that connects my Playboy experience to everything else I’ve accomplished. Throughout my career I applied what I learned as a Playboy Bunny. This translated into my motto for life, “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right, the first time”.
Working in a place were many “go getters” and “high rollers” mingled back in those days, you must have some fascinating stories to tell. Did you ever get to interact with celebrities or famous people?
The only national celebrity that I met, who was not associated with Playboy at the time, was Al Martino, the singer. This occurred one day when I was working the lunch shift in the Playmate Bar with another Bunny who had met Al Martino during her previous job as a stewardess. He stopped by to visit her. Since most of the lunch business had tapered off, and we weren’t busy, he hung out with both of us for a while. He was very nice and charming, and interested in magic. Somehow while we were chatting, he managed to remove my cuff and cufflink from my wrist without me realizing it. I thought it was funny.
Before the club officially opened to customers, we had a special event inside the new Club. This was an “invitation only” party for Baltimore’s local dignitaries and celebrities. My significant memory from that night was an encounter with a well-known and highly respected Baltimore jurist, Judge Solomon Liss. I was wearing my very long, dark brown hair naturally flowing down my back. I began to walk near him when the crowd slowed me down, and I was paused next to him. He reached out and collected some of my hair in his hand and said to me, “This is the most beautiful thing here tonight”. I was very flattered because I was proud of my hair.
In addition to working inside the Club, there were outside opportunities for Bunnies to meet local dignitaries or celebrities by participating in promotional and public relations events. As an unpaid promotion I participated in two softball games. The first one was with the City Hall Press Corp/Journalists, who were local celebrities.
The second game was with the City Sheriffs who weren’t known to me as celebrities. However, their ad hoc leader was Jack Pollack, who I recognized as a local influential and notorious political boss. As you might imagine, these weren’t intended to be serious ball games. The Bunnies were no match for a team of adult men, so we changed the rules and won. Since I was rather athletic as a kid, I was pretty good at softball. During our first game, I got a triple with bases loaded and got my name in the newspaper as Bunny Sherrie.
Continue reading “Confessions of a Baltimore Playboy Bunny — Part Two” at Ultraswank.net.