Jenny McCarthy will only pose nude again if…

In the Zone: Jenny McCarthy talks strong women, Playboy, posing nude today, vaccine controversies and Jim Carrey’s ex-girlfriend’s suicide

Jenny McCarthy got candid about her near-disastrous audition for Playboy at age 22.

“When I was trying out to be a centerfold, they actually gave the girls five days of a test,” the 44-year-old model and actress recalled on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” Sunday.

However, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner wasn’t impressed by McCarthy’s look.

“So eight hours a day for five days, on day four, the producer said, ‘Come meet with me, Hef is on the phone’,” she explained. “And Hef said, ‘You’ve got one more chance. Go home and practice, because your face looks like you just hit a deer with your car. You look so horrified.'”

McCarthy continued, “So I went home that night trying to find sexy, and I came back and go, ‘OK, listen, all you’re going to get is a smile. That’s all I know how to do’.”

McCarthy’s megawatt smile landed her the deal of a lifetime – she was selected out of thousands of applicants for Playboy’s October 1993 issue. She went on to receive the coveted title of “Playmate of the Year.”

Hefner died in late September at age 91.

McCarthy never forgot about the opportunity Hefner gave her to make it big. She previously spoke about her relationship with Hefner on her self-titled SiriusXM radio show, calling him “the most good-hearted, caring, generous, supportive friend and mentor.”

“He’d always say, ‘Thanks for sharing the dream, Jen’,” she said at the time while holding back tears. “And when I thought about him passing last night, I just thought, I wanted one more chance to say thanks. Thank you for sharing your dream with me and for giving so many girls and so many people the opportunity of a lifetime.”

She added, “I will always miss you Hef. You will never be forgotten.”

Jenny McCarthy: From Catholic School to Playboy

She went from a Midwestern Catholic schoolgirl to the pages of Playboy. As if that’s not enough of a step, the beautiful and talented Jenny McCarthy rode that Playmate stardom all the way to the big and small screens. Now, as a successful actress, comedienne, TV host, activist, author and former SHAPE cover girl, the proof of McCarthy’s staying power is in the pudding.

The 39-year old single mom recently added designer to her accolades, partnering up with the popular Kim Kardashian-backed site, and is even launching her own diet plan. A lot has happened since we last caught up with her so we sat down to get the scoop.

SHAPE: First off, why did you want to collaborate with ShoeDazzle?

Jenny McCarthy (JM): I designed a shoe for Autism Awareness Month and it sold out in just a few days. Either the shoe was that awesome or I have an army of moms out there who want to help out my cause.

SHAPE: I think it’s safe to say mostly everyone knows about your work for Autism, but for readers who are unfamiliar, tell us why the cause is so important to you?

JM: My 9-year old son Evan was diagnosed with in 2002. I made a promise to God that if I was pointed in the right direction as to how to heal my son, I would teach the world how I did it. Since then I have not stopped raising funds and awareness for this cause.

SHAPE: You’re always in such great shape. What are your favorite workout routines and any fitness tips and tricks you can share?

JM: I love yoga and hate running on the treadmill, but I still do it 45 minutes a day. I have a motto: “Running 45 minutes a day, keeps the fat away.”

SHAPE: You’re a host, comedian, author, model, and an actress… What’s next on your roster?

JM: OK, are ya ready? I’m hosting Love in the Wild for NBC, which premieres in June. I’m hosting another show for NBC called Surprise Surprise, which comes out this July. My late-night talk show for Vh1 premieres this fall, and my 8th book comes out in October called Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic!

SHAPE: Any tips for busy moms like yourself, and busy women in general, to incorporate fitness into their lives?

JM: Yes, you JUST GOTTA DO IT. Wake up early and JUST DO IT. I have to yell that to myself every morning. Working out does make you happy. If you are feeling depressed in your life, working out is way better then Abilify!

SHAPE: What about dieting? I know you’ve mentioned Weight Watchers in the past. Any special diets you follow now?

JM: Yes, I created one called The Soup Diet. It will be in stores soon!

  • By Jené Luciani

Jenny McCarthy

When we think ‘hometown girl’, we think of Jenny McCarthy. She’s one of Playboy’s greatest success stories, and so much more than a model – she’s an actress and TV hostess extraordinaire, author of eight bestselling books, and most recently, an activist. Born in Evergreen Park, Illinois, Jenny rose to fame as Playmate of the Month in October 1993, and her beauty and charm won her Playmate of the Year in 1994. In that first flush of fame – and flush with cash – she moved to Los Angeles, where she hosted Hot Rocks, an uncensored music video series on Playboy TV. From there, she became a host on MTV’s Singled Out, and later, she coined her own late-night slot, The Jenny McCarthy Show. With the glamour of an ingénue and a sense of humor that would make your older brother blush, Jenny became a movie star, and her roles in BASEketball, Scream 3 and Scary Movie 3cemented her place in Hollywood and pop culture at large. Miss McCarthy is a Chicago girl, and with a tip of the top hat to Hugh Hefner’s home base, she never forgot where she came from. She continued to model for Playboy, with covers and features in January 2005 and June 2012 issues of the magazine, and she was the second woman – and first Playmate – to be a Celebrity Photographer for the Cyber Club. She’s guest starred on countless sitcoms, including The Drew Carey Show, Just Shoot Me and Two and a Half Men, served as a co-host on The View, and in 2014 wed actor Donnie Wahlberg. She’s come under fire for her social and political opinions, but with all the classic style and grace of a Playmate, she knows what she wants, and is not afraid to get it. From Polish kielbasa vendor to meaty roles in film and television, a helping hand to a round of applause, one thing is for sure – Jenny McCarthy is here to stay.

Wondering how Jenny McCarthy’s just-shy-of-40-year-old body has held up since she was named Playboy’s Playmate of the Year nearly 20 years ago?

Well, open your eyes and feast them on her just-released “this is what Jim Carrey gave up” eight-page Playboy pictorial — McCarthy’s seventh spread to date — which features the anti-vaccine activist in full-on birthday suit mode.

“I’m really proud of it,” the mother of one told People magazine earlier this week. “The pictures are really gorgeous and classy. They could be out of W magazine. They’re really elegant. It’s probably a lot more sophisticated than a lot of the stuff you’d see of people with their clothes on.”

If you’re the kind of lady or lad who just likes to be teased, that can also be arranged.

Playboy’s MASSIVE SUMMER DOUBLE ISSUE is on stands now.

UPDATE: So it seems Egotastic obtained those images illegally. For shame. But Playboy Plus members can still see the full gallery over here. The rest of you can put on a trench coat and a fedora and head down to the adult magazine section of Books-A-Million like everyone else.

About 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism, according to an estimate by the CDC, a number that has grown significantly over time.

The diagnosis can be a source of severe emotional and financial stress on families. A 2014 study found that it costs $2.4 million to support a person with autism throughout the course of his or her life.

“I wake up every day and not only fear for my own child but for all of these kids,” McCarthy, 45, said.

The actress and advocate has also drawn controversy by promoting the idea that vaccines may be linked to increased incidence of autism, an argument that has been scientifically unsubstantiated. (In the past decade, researchers have come a long way in narrowing down which factors do make autism more likely to develop.)

McCarthy talked to CNBC during trading firm BTIG’s 16th annual Commissions for Charity Day, when celebrities act as guest traders and raise money for a range of causes.

With the help of other big names, including Bill Clinton and Shaquille O’Neal, BTIG raised more than $5 million.

McCarthy said she would love to see more celebrities use their public platform for good. “We already have the gratitude of having a blessed life for doing what we love so why not be more of service in this lifetime and find something that people desperately need and fill it,” she said.

“Don’t wait to have the cause happen to you in your life, go ahead and pay it forward.”

For Mother’s Day, McCarthy said she is planning on a day with Evan, now a teenager.

“My son thinks that Mother’s Day means that he gets to tell me whatever he wants to do so I let him have that rule,” she said. “I make it his day too.”

More from Personal Finance:
Bill Clinton tells CNBC: New tax law is a ‘bullet aimed at New York and California’
Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila Ali on her father’s legacy
Serena Williams on motherhood and money

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