Hugh Hefner (search), king of the Playboy (search) empire, says he had to reinvent his identity to leave his Puritan roots behind.

Hefner tells Time magazine he is a direct descendant of William Bradford, a Puritan who came over on the Mayflower.

"There was a great deal of repression in their lives and the way they were raised and, in turn, the way I was raised," he said.

Hefner said he first reinvented himself in high school, when he was rejected by a girl. He started calling himself "Hef" and wore yellow cords, saddle shoes and flannel shirts he wouldn't tuck in instead of what his parents wanted.

Later, after Playboy became successful, he reinvented himself again. He started smoking a pipe, bought a Mercedes-Benz (search) and bought the Playboy mansion.

"I became the personification of the prototype that I was describing in the magazine. I became, in effect, Mr. Playboy," he said.

He credits his success to his transformations.

"Instead of the Puritan world that my folks accepted and, from my perspective, paid the price for, I created a world for myself," he told Time.