The April issue, which hits newsstands Tuesday, March 21, is called “Hey Luenell,” and features the star baring it all, quite tastefully.
“I want to make history with this shoot,” said Luenell. “It’s already made history for me.”
“For the past 52 years, Penthouse magazine has led the conversation about the progression of sex, sexuality, and sex appeal—a conversation that is still woefully unexplored today,” Penthouse CEO Kelly Holland said. He added: “We’re huge fans of Luenell—her style, her attitude, her fierce honesty—and her layout reveals everything about who she is, who we are as a brand, and the world we want women to live in today.”
EUR/Electronic Urban Report caught up with Luenell to discuss her latest risk taking hustle, and why NOW is a better time than any to strip down for this racy publication.
The idea to pose nude for Penthouse came after the magazine hired Luenell for its Pop Shots photo series, where celebrities come in to direct a scene for an issue. After the scenes that she directed turned out superbly, it was Luenell who suggested to the Penthouse editors to turn their attention to her for a spread in the magazine.
“And they didn’t balk at the idea. They didn’t laugh,” she told EURweb’s Lee Bailey exclusively. “We had some production meetings and we thought about some ideas and why this could work and low and behold, they came up with a date and they got one of the greatest photographers in L.A., and they got a guy to come in and do my interview and they had make-up artists and wig stylists and we shot we the shots.”
She admits that she got cold feet the closer she got to the shooting date “because I did have to take in mind the type of pictures I was going to do because I have a daughter in college and some of her friends follow me and I didn’t want to do anything to upset my brothers or disgrace me or my family and my relationships.”
Luenell describes her Penthouse pics as “beautiful and wonderful.”
“I think for the magazine that they’re in, the shots are sexy, beautiful and wonderful and not even a third as racy as the pictures that are proceeding my article or after my article. There’s no vagina shots, no booty holes or nothing like that. Very little breasts — no areolas and all that stuff. There’s nothing in there that I wouldn’t be proud to show anybody, from my pastor to the police.”
Luenell, who will be a recurring character on the second season of TV Land’s “Lopez,” says she is proud of her Penthouse spread because “I rep well for the women my age and my size. Penthouse, Playboy, Hustler… nobody’s ever shot a full-figured model, let alone one that’s 50-years-old, so I’m proud with the way that it came out.”
Ms. Luenell is not here for your criticism about her pics, matter fact, she says, “I don’t care what anybody has to say.”
“My goal in life is to make people laugh and be happy. We’re in such a turmoil right now and everything is so bad, and racially…we’re just… it’s a mess. There has to be some relief. People are looking to comedians now, like they watch the news, for our social commentary. They want us to say what they feel, and that’s what we’re doing. And older, thick curvy women need somebody to speak for them too, and I’ve got nothing but positive responses on my social media, phone calls, emails, texts from everybody from Kim Whitley to Thea Vidale, that are like, “This is amazing! You have big balls. I would never be able to do this. This is so brave.” I just want all these women to find their inner centerfold because there’s enough people out there trying to make you feel bad about yourself. You have to feel good about your own self. So, that’s really why I did it.”
Her Penthouse photoshoot took place inside a “warehouse type studio that I hear people like Usher and will.i.am had also shot there. That gave it credibility to me,” she explained.
“I knew that Penthouse was a reliable, professional magazine. It’s not like I did it for old school Black Tail magazine. The people that I had made friends with there, I trusted them, and then if you really want me to be blunt, everybody ended up being gay anyway. The photographer, the makeup artist, the hairstylist. The only person who wasn’t gay was the guy who did my interview. He’s the one that did the Janet Jackson album cover pose where he’s holding my boobies, that guy, he’s not gay.”
So, what’s been the reaction from her family?
“I haven’t had any reaction from my family, except for one of my sisters. I have three sisters and four brothers. I prefer that my brothers not see it at all. But it’s on Facebook and they haven’t said a word. Only one of my sisters has reached out to me. I don’t care whether they talk to me about it or not. I’ve always been the one to do my own thing anyway.”
She added, “My daughter saw the pictures first. I wanted to know what she thought first and she was very proud of me. She thought they were great. The men in my life, notice I say men “plural,” the men in my life are very proud of the pictures. They think they’re sexy and amazing and I’m glad about that. After that, I don’t care what anybody has to say. After those approvals went through, I was good.
If you think Luenell has a single regret about her nude pictorial, then you haven’t been paying attention to her style and IN YO FACE delivery.
“I told them that I didn’t want them to airbrush me down to some unrealistic figure that was not mine. There’s a couple of bulges hanging out that I wish we could have computerly changed but I had asked them not to and they didn’t, because it’s not about being fake if you’re going to do something like this. The point is to be real so that other real women can relate to you and not think that you look one way when you don’t. I’ve got nothing but positive responses. I want to make this the Penthouse that more women have bought than any other Penthouse.”
Don’t miss Luenell on the second season of TV Land’s “Lopez” when it premieres Wednesday, March 29. Additionally, she has joined the cast of Jamie Foxx’s directorial debut film, “All Star Weekend,” which will hit theaters later this year.
In the meantime, peep more from her Penthouse spread below. The issue hits newsstands Tuesday (03-21-17).