La Toya makes her dramatic entrance bursting out from behind the oversized split Playboy cover featuring her close up, holding in her hands the giant reptile snuggly stretched out under her ample bosom. She is seated across from the host Elstner at a small round café table with the bubbles in the champagne flutes rising and the Boa resting peacefully across her lap all through the interview, like a baby at its best behavior . The show goes on without a hitch. Post show, she poses with the guests, the Olympic Gold Medalist Figure Skater,  Katarina Witt and the rock star Udo Lindberg and Oscar Lafontaine – the Minister President of the state of Saarland and the Playboy editor Ulrike Blass. Everyone endures the presence of her bosom buddy. But from what I heard from the German editors on Monday morning, that even so, the crew and the host were all in awe of their disquieting guest. If a  bit scared, they managed a brave face and safe distance from it – just in case. The show went on the records as being one of the most watched with 19.5   million viewers. Ulrike said later that for an international celebrity such as La Toya, she didn’t put out any airs and before parting, she told her that she had really enjoyed her trip and the experience and asked politely if she might be invited again sometime in the future.

Her pictorial contained a full page shot of her with her holding the boa, his body squeezed between her legs and his head winding down and resting on her hip. She is holding him with both of her hands, her eyes closed, lips slightly parted as if having an orgasm. The caption accompanying that shot said: I love snakes. I had hoped to do a shot all covered with snakes; I was kind of disappointed there was only one.  

Two and a half years later, (November 1991), she poses again for Playboy to coincide with her memoire La Toya: Growing Up in the Jackson Family. This time around, the pictorial includes two page spread of boa constrictor, one slithering all over her body, between her legs, winding its way up to skirt her breasts and raise its head between them. Reminiscent of the famous Nastassja Kinski billboard, shot in 1981 by America’s master photographer, Richard Avedon. In another one, she is sticking out her tongue at him almost licking him on the mouth with teasingly playful expressions on her face.

That reminded me of the time some years earlier when my secretary Teresa (Velázquez), all wound-up, reported that they had brought in a couple of boa constrictors to the Playboy studio, waiting to be photographed with the Playmate Ruth Guerri (July 1983) as a part of an erotic fantasy pictorial.  It was an eerie feeling to think that slithering around merely two floors above were deadly, slinking and sliding, coiling and un-coiling creatures. As it turns out, there was only one of them. But still. This is how the photography director  Gary Cole remembers the shoot: Steve Wayda did the shot for a photographer’s erotic portfolio pictorial. I was in the studio and I can tell you that Ruth really got into the shoot, so much that both Steve and I were scratching our heads. I don’t think it was a coincidence that God chose a snake to tempt Eve .Upon further inquiry, Gary elaborates: There was only one snake and yes, it was boa constrictor. I kept it in my pants. (Only joking.) The snake owner brought it in a ventilated box. It had been fed just to discourage any idea it might have about taking a bite out of Ruthie. I believe the snake enjoyed the shoot as much as Ruth did. I believe Steve had similar experience with La Toya and the snake. Naked women and snakes seem to get along. I guess so. And about the snake being fed, the first time around posing with one, the question La Toya asked was: when it had been last fed? Once they told her that a couple of days earlier, so I wasn’t worried. Boas aren’t dangerous unless they’re hungry.

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