After her standout feature film debut as Lil’ Kim in Notorious, Naturi Naughton hit the small screen with a breakout guest-starring role as a playboy bunny on Mad Men. Now she’s back on the TV—and back in the bunny suit—as the star of the new NBC drama pilot Playboy, about the infamous Chicago club circa 1963.
Tell us about your new show.
I get to play an African American in the sixties—my character’s name is Brenda and she’s a Playboy bunny, the only one [of us] at that time. It’s an honor and it’s super exciting for me.
In real life, women go through rigorous training to become Playboy bunny waitresses. Did you have to do the same?
Yes, I went through bunny training and worked with an original bunny from 1965. She trained us on how to stand, hold trays and do the bunny dip. So I feel like I’m not just learning for a role, but I’m learning a whole new culture and history.
Did the creators of the show see you as a Playboy bunny on Mad Men?
Oddly enough, they did. Imagine Entertainment, Ron Howard and Ron Glazer are producing the show and one of the ladies from the company asked, ‘Were you that girl on Mad Men? You were fabulous!’ It just goes to show you anything is possible if you make a great impression one time.
You’re now a star of Playboy, but Mad Men fans think there could have been more between you and Lane (played by Jared Harris). He was so in love with you.
[Laughs] Aww, I was in love with him on the show, too. It was a great little fling we had and it would be cool to bring her back. But my future is focusing on Playboy, and I’m giving my all to that show right now.
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