Naturi Naughton had to do more than just look cute and memorize a few lines to nail her role as a Playboy Bunny in the new NBC series, "Playboy Club."
“I did Bunny training for this role. All the girls had to study,” said Naturi whose coach, Pat Lacey, was one of the first real-life Black Bunnies.
“She taught us how to do everything Bunny. I learned the Bunny Dip and the Bunny Perch,” Naturi told Sister 2 Sister, explaining that there’s a certain way to move in those skintight outfits to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions.
“I’m in this adorable, very fun Bunny suit,” said Naturi who described it as a “tight corset.”
However, learning how to maneuver in the signature Bunny outfit is only the beginning.
“It’s such a different world and you really do have to train to learn how to live in it. I enjoyed that,” said Naturi, who also watched documentaries and read books about the Playboy Club and its employees to prepare for her role.
Pat also helped Naturi prepare by sharing her stories.
“She’s a beautiful Black woman who was one of the few [Black] Bunnies at that time,” Naturi said. “I love just hearing her experiences, and I can channel this into my character. She talks about how wonderful it was for her.”
Naturi is finding the experience enjoyable, too, and although it’s hard work, the dance classes and time in the music studio only add to the fun for her.
“At the end of the day, these are all the things that as a little girl, I dreamed about. I dreamed to be in a position to use all my talents,” she said.
So, in addition to the Bunny training, Naturi also has to attend dance rehearsal and keep her voice intact.
“You’ll see me doing a little singing on the show. I’m looking forward to it,” said the former 3LW group member.
“I have to spend time in the studio working on it, just as I would work on anything else. Fortunately, I practice a lot by myself. I get into rehearsal even when I’m not supposed to be rehearsing. I care so much about presenting something great to our audience. I never want to half-step it. I love working hard for the role ‘cause I really value and appreciate it once I get that opportunity,” said Naturi, whose parts in Fame and the Broadway production of Hairspray, have helped prepare her for her role as Brenda in “Playboy Club.”
“At the end of the day, it’s so good to be in a position where I know as an actress, I can do great work and also sing and dance and there’s also a storyline that fans can all connect to,” said Naturi, who didn’t want to give way too much. “I think it’s going to be a really, really special show.”
Naturi talks about her role as Bunny Brenda below. Watch.
—Tracy L. Scott
Look for more from Naturi in the November 2011 issue of Sister 2 Sister.