As we announced last week, Claire Sinclair is the Playboy Playmate of the Year 2011. The newest pinup queen pays tribute to the glamour royalty of yore. Bettie Page. Dita Von Teese. And now Claire Sinclair—our 2011 Playmate of the Year and the latest addition to the pantheon of pinup queens. Claire wouldn’t have it any other… way. “Pinup girls are timeless,” says the curvaceous 20-year-old, a brunette bundle of brains and beauty. “Dita is contemporary pinup royalty, and Bettie has been one of my biggest inspirations because she was everything a pinup should be—sexy, funny and approachable.”
And so we wanted to bring these quintessential pinup qualities to life in the pictures before you, with, of course, a playful nod to the work of legendary glamour painter Gil Elvgren, the so-called Norman Rockwell of cheesecake. “I’m all about vintage, so I loved the idea,” Claire says. “I mean, getting to swing 10 feet in the air to replicate a 1950s pinup? That’s a dream come true. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.”
Claire’s ascent to Playmate of the Year has been swift and sure. One week after the native Angeleno first posed for our in-house pinup painter Olivia De Berardinis, in fall 2009, she met Hef, who promptly asked her to test shoot for Playmate and ultimately named her Miss October 2010. Next, Claire moved into the Bunny House with fellow PMOYs Hope Dworaczyk and Jayde Nicole and a gaggle of other Playmates, an event captured by E! cameras for the network’s August special The Bunny House. And that was merely a warm-up. Soon thereafter, producers from the fabled burlesque cabaret Crazy Horse Paris invited Claire to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to guest star in the stateside version of their revue. Not two weeks later, Bettie Page Clothing anointed her its official spokesmodel. “Becoming a Playmate opened up so many cool opportunities,” says Claire, who stayed with Holly Madison in her Planet Hollywood suite after performing with the Crazy Horse showgirls. There, E! cameras found her yet again as she became part of Holly’s World. “I knew this was my shot, so I worked my ass off. I even zip-lined down Fremont Street in a Crazy Horse Paris T-shirt for publicity. If they had asked, I would have bungee jumped off the Stratosphere!”
In Vegas she found a kindred spirit in 83-year-old burlesque starlet Tempest Storm. “I love Tempest. She co-starred in one of the only color films Bettie Page ever made, Teaserama. In it there’s a scene where Tempest wakes up and Bettie dresses her. By today’s standards it seems quite innocent, but at the time it was big-time frisky. Back then Tempest was known as the Girl With the Fabulous Front because she had these ginormous boobs, which she had insured for $1 million. Isn’t that fantastic? I don’t think I could be in better hands when it comes to learning about burlesque.”
When it comes to everything else, however, Hef is her numero uno guru. “I trust him with my life and career,” says Claire. She hopes that career includes more burlesque and lots of hosting, acting and writing gigs. (A book fiend, Claire counts David Sedaris and Chuck Palahniuk among her favorite authors.) “There’s so much I want to explore, because I’m curious about everything!” she bubbles forth with her trademark exuberance. “I was determined to become Playmate of the Year, and now that I have, I feel as successful as any 20-year-old could be. I’m so excited about it. I promise you that I’m going to liven it up as the pinuppiest Playmate of the Year you could ever imagine. This is just the beginning.”
Enjoy these pictures and be sure to join Claire Sinclair in the Playboy Cyberclub to see the entire photoshoot.