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Brea Bennett at Twistys

July 24, 2003 09:04am
Starbucks Ladies Bare All for Playboy
Source: The Seattle Times
by: Mark Rahner

(SEATTLE, WA) -- Six months after issuing its call for "coffee-making cuties," Playboy magazine next week is releasing its "Women of Starbucks" issue. But it arrives without any models from the company's hometown, Seattle.

The eight-page pictorial in the September issue (which goes on sale Tuesday) rhapsodizes about the coffee giant's "seemingly bottomless supply of gorgeous counter help." Nearly 300 baristas applied to get topless; 10 made the final cut, half of them from California. And despite the men's magazine's second call, for women from Starbucks management, the 10 espresso ecdysiasts all were counter help, says Playboy spokeswoman Theresa Hennessey.

The lack of local participants isn't stopping Playboy from having a magazine signing here, with Anaheim, Calif., cover girl Signe Nordli: It's noon-2 p.m. Monday, at Tower Records, 500 Mercer St.

Does the absence of Seattle women mean they don't pack as much of a jolt, or that nudie mags just aren't their cup of tea?

Hennessey said the photo editor couldn't remember if, or how many, Seattle women applied. (Several made e-mail inquiries to The Seattle Times.) Juan Valdez would be proud. But is Starbucks? The company notably was terse about the matter in February, and little has changed.

"Our original statement stands," said spokeswoman Audrey Lincoff. "What we said was that we're not affiliated with it and we don't endorse it."

The company has always been fiercely protective of its public image. Knowing that, Playboy avoided using any Starbucks logo or trademark in the pictorial. There's a bunny head in place of the Starbucks mermaid on the familiar-looking green apron.

Lincoff did clear up a question that went unanswered at the time of Playboy's original call, saying there would be no repercussions for employees simply for posing.

"We do not dictate what partners do in their spare time," she said. "Our culture embraces diversity."

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