Tasmanian Playboy Bunnies relive former glory

CENTREFOLDS: Denise Robinson and Janette Robinson having a look at their 1983 Playboy spread. Picture: Neil Richardson
CENTREFOLDS: Denise Robinson and Janette Robinson having a look at their 1983 Playboy spread. Picture: Neil Richardson

While many would shudder at the thought of splaying nude photos of themselves over the pages of an internationally read men’s magazine, Flinders Island-born twins Denise and Janette Robinson didn’t think twice when approached to feature in Playboy.

“I lived on the edge all my life, and when they asked me to be in Playboy, I thought ‘Oh yeah, that’s exciting’,” Denise said.

“It was also a career opportunity, because we wanted to get out of [Launceston], and into Sydney,” Janette chimed in.

Labelled as the Tassie Twins, the pair graced the front cover of Playboy Australia in 1983 for the magazine’s September edition.

It was Denise’s second appearance in Playboy, after featuring on the cover in February, 1983.

“They heard about [Jannette] when I was first shooting, and they said 'We should get her in a centrefold too’ – they got us straight back in to shoot it,” Denise said.

Inside September’s publication was a “sizzling pictorial”, featuring the twins in five photos varying from semi-nude to completely starkers. 

“Back then it was very artsy – we would have never done Penthouse,” Janette said.

“We did Playboy because that was the prestige.” 

Despite the aforementioned prestige, Denise said she was petrified the first time she saw herself on the cover of Playboy.

“When I walked out of my Launceston flat and I saw myself in a cover shot, my tummy dropped and I ran back and hid for the rest of the day, until I got to my father and he said ‘they are beautiful photos darling’.

The twins said this kind of support was shown by their entire family. 

Instead of shaming the girls for baring their bodies for all to see, the family expressed their utmost pride in the girls’ work.

“Our grandmother came to pick us up from the airport with the Playboy in her hand, going ‘It’s so hard to get jobs these days, I’m so proud of our grandchildren’,” Janette said.

“Dad had a pile for his friends that we signed, and he’s still bragging about it.

“But, mum said ‘It would have been nice if you’d worn underwear’.”

While Denise and Janette worked for two years with Playboy in Sydney, they never had the opportunity to mingle with recently deceased Playboy founder Hugh Hefner or lounge in the infamous Playboy Mansion.

However, Denise said she did get a chance to briefly meet Mr Hefner at a chance encounter in Las Vegas. 

“I met Hugh very briefly – he had women all around him,” she said.

“He said ‘Hello’ to me and he knew I was the centrefold, and that I was one of his girls.”