Here Tiffany talks about what it was like to pose and how she'd do it all over again "in a heartbeat!"
Why did you decide to pose for Playboy?
For me, it was [that I was] still perceived like, "Oh, you’re that mall girl." [Laughs.] Which was really frustrating. Although I’m very proud of my success — how I started, all of that — but as a woman trying to bring new music to light that was really all anyone wanted to talk about: "What’s the mall’s been like? Did you like the mall?" And I was like, "Really?" I came off that tour and all of a sudden I got the call from Playboy. I was going through a divorce — as a woman, I was like, "That is a great idea!"
How did it affect your career?
It was a confidence booster. I never thought that I’d be posing nude in Playboy to work my career or push my music. It seemed a little bizarre to me [at first], but when I’m 80 years old, I’m going to look back on these pictures and think, "Wow, that was really cool." But it definitely did work. A lot of TV shows that I’d been asking to do, my PR people were trying to get me on there for the new album [2000's The Color of Silence], and no bites — from The View to a lot of different shows. But as soon as I posed for Playboy, we couldn’t stop the phone ringing. It worked.
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What were the negative reactions like?
When you’re talking branding or representing somebody for a commercial, a lot of people don’t want to be associated [with nudity]. I’ve had that little bit of backlash, but for the most part it’s been very favorable. It’s always going to be there in my life. I love the pictures. It really opened up more of a male audience for me, which was really cool. More than it was being naked, it was about being a woman.
What was the experience of posing like?
It was wonderful. I couldn’t eat anything during the two days I was posing, but they’ll give you whatever you want to eat! I was like, "I don’t think I can" [Laughs.] But after, they throw you a big party.
Did you think about posing for Playboy when you were just starting your career?
Oh, no. I started out as a kid, I was only 15, so we couldn’t even talk about that. It was hard for my label and my management to figure out how to bridge that gap: How to make me a valid older teen, young adult, and be a little more sexy and flirty. There’s a fine line there. For me, I got frustrated at 18 and dyed my hair black and got my nose pierced! [Laughs.] I probably did it all wrong.
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What do you think about younger artists on the rise, these days, who decide to pose nude?
It’s a great honor to be asked to pose for Playboy. I do think that as a woman, it is your choice. As a career move, it definitely launches you into a different brand, it expands that brand. You’re not just a musician; you’re a sex symbol. Maybe with a band it’s different, but for women, the image is so important — what you wear, your hair — all of it.
Have any artists reached out for advice before posing themselves?
I usually meet the girls after: Carnie Wilson — we talked about how she posed — or Downtown Julie Brown. These are my friends. It’s funny that we all have that in common, the Playboy shoot. Everybody I know [who did it] thinks it was an amazing experience. They make you feel beautiful.
Would you do it again?
Yeah, I probably would do it again! I had a young son when I did it — some family members weren’t happy about it — but I was happy with it. Now, I’m 43 years old, I would do it again in a heartbeat! [Laughs.]
This story originally appeared in the April 11 issue of Billboard.