Fo Porter, a former contestant on the hit reality TV series “America’s Next Top Model,” was ready to bare it all.
The model, who is Playboy’s Playmate for April 2019, said she was inspired by her pal Brook Power, 2017 Playmate of the Year, who was originally shot for the men’s lifestyle magazine two months post-pregnancy. Now, Porter is hoping her images will inspire others to not only embrace their natural figure but proudly flaunt it with ease, as well as love their so-called imperfections.
Porter spoke with Fox News about why she wasn’t nervous going nude in front of cameras, what she thinks of Playboy’s critics, and how she dealt with the pressures of looking perfect within the modeling industry.
Fox News: Were you nervous stripping down for Playboy?
Fo Porter: I couldn’t wait to get my clothes off *laughs*. My first nude appearance was for a Justin Timberlake music video called "Tunnel Vision." It was basically the same year when "Blurred Lines" came out… I did an opposite music video when Justin Timberlake’s face appeared on my body. It was one of those experiences where I didn’t know I had that flame inside of me. And because it was done in such a respective way, I thought, "I want to be naked all the time." I’m ready to flaunt this, respectfully and tastefully, wherever I can. But I wasn’t nervous at all, to be honest. It just felt liberating. And I was excited about that.
Fox News: What has this experience taught you?
Porter: That I’m human *laughs*. I started with, I don’t have a flat tummy. I gave myself a break. I think that’s what I learned. Giving yourself a break. And also, not being so serious. There was always this pressure that you had to look and be a certain way. But once I truly started being who I am – this dorky girl from Albuquerque – I was able to open up and just be liberated. So it’s been great.
Fox News: What does it mean to be a Playmate in 2019?
Porter: To be Playmate of the Year in 2020 *laughs*. But to me honestly, we’ve all seen the brand evolved. It’s no longer the blonde with the big boobs. And you can totally be that and comfortable in your own skin. But I also feel that to be a Playmate in 2019 is to be self-confident. Playboy wants to see new personalities, new faces, new body figures. I just think that Playboy, for me as a Playmate, is about being honest. I’m so honored to be who I am within the magazine. Being a Playmate today is being real. Being whoever you are.
Fox News: Some critics may say Playboy isn’t empowering, that it’s just a magazine with photos of naked women. How would you respond to those critics?
Porter: I think you haven’t read Playboy. I think was Hugh Hefner did was a revolution. I think he made it OK to talk about sex. … There was a time when it was scandalous to show your ankle. We’ve come so far from that. … Trust me, when Hugh Hefner passed away, I had friends who were making posts on social media saying this man exploited women. I never ever saw that.
I never felt it was a dirty magazine. I thought it was a liberating magazine. He made it OK to talk about sex openly. Hugh Hefner made it OK for people to freely talk about pleasure — there’s so much that came from it and I don’t think we would be where we are today in society if it wasn’t for a magazine like Playboy. But if you want to feel differently, to each their own. But for those who feel the magazine is liberating, I’m on that side.
Fox News: As a model, did you ever feel pressure to look a certain way?
Porter: I went through a really dark time when the industry made me feel like I was less than. And it was because, within myself, I just didn’t have that confidence to push through. That’s when I took the time to focus on myself. I got my certification in Pilates. I took a good year off so I can focus on myself. I got married. I grew out my hair. And I think once I stopped giving a f---, that’s when the industry started changing.
It’s becoming more and more welcoming. People want cellulite. People want rolls. People want freckles. People want diversity. But yeah, I struggled with that even three, four years ago. I struggled with my self-image. But I definitely feel it has changed in the best way possible. But it’s still an industry that’s still marketing, targeting. But I know where I stand. I know where my stance is with other people who view me. But I’m so happy it’s finally changing.
Fox News: You told Playboy your body changed unexpectedly since you started modeling. What happened?
Porter: That’s just womanhood. When you’re 19, you think your body is going to stay the same way as a 19-year-old. But it’s honestly so beautiful to see your body go through changes. Yes, it’s a tough thing in itself. Whatever is happening, is happening. I think it impacted myself and the way I saw other people. I stopped judging other models. I wasn’t so spiteful. The evolution of my body and the way it has grown, so to speak, is absolutely beautiful. I’m a totally new person from what I was just three years ago.
I felt beautiful. I felt confident in who I am and how I treat other people. I just feel so much more of myself than I ever been. And I love it. … My husband and I want to have kids soon, so I know that’s another step where my body will go completely haywire and I won’t know what to do with myself. But I have that trust that this is what’s supposed to happen. … Your body is the best instrument you’ll ever own.
Fox News: You were previously a contestant on Cycle 12 of “America’s Next Top Model." What surprised you the most about being a part of that reality show?
Porter: That I could be a model *laughs*. I remember watching it and being like I want to be there. … it was always in the back of my mind. … My mother would go, 'ANTM is having an audition, you should try it out!' I went but I just thought, I’m not getting a callback. … Three months later, I was a final contestant. I never really knew I could be a model, I never knew I could get it. It was honestly one of the best experiences of my entire life. … It just made me feel like modeling was a possibility. And it was.
Playboy's Spring 2019 issue is currently on newsstands.