Suze Randall waltzed into the Beverly Hills Hotel with her usual flamboyant flair, all flirty, dressed in a low-cut white cropped blouse that showed off her pushed up breasts, and taut bare midriff. Her slender tanned legs without a ripple in hip-hugging shorts and high-heeled boots. She turned heads strutting into the posh bar, with me tagging behind in my utterly conservative white sharkskin suit.
There was no doubt who was in charge when she introduced me to Larry. He was seated in a booth with his hulking body-guard standing at attention like a watchdog in a zipped up prison-style jumpsuit.
Suze slid into the cream leather bench seat across from him, and I sat next to her facing Larry. “Two scotch, neat,” she ordered, without asking what I wanted. She reached out and petted Mr. Flynt’s hand flirtingly, “Guess what I brought you, Larry baby?” I turned my eyes toward her and she winked. Well, I guessed it was me she was referring to. I expected her next words would be to describe my glowing qualifications as her new stylist at Penthouse, Inc.
Mr. Flynt was young then, he had a few extra pounds, but still a handsome face, with dark curly hair and darting blue eyes. He gave me a look that said it all when he smiled and threw back his drink, plunking both hands down on the table and declared,”Shall we go to my room?”
This man wasted no time.
I looked at Suze, “What room, why?”
I thought we were having cocktails with Larry because Suze had agreed to take on his new Hustler Magazine. I’d only just heard her mention it, and figured meeting Larry was part of my job.
But Suze became all squirmy and excited, biting her lip and clapping her hands to cheer me on, then she waved me away, “Go…go!” So I got up and followed, sandwiched between the Hustler icon with his bodyguard pressing behind us. As we entered the elevator it ran through my mind what Suze had alluded to, “You have a unique look, let’s talk about shooting you some time.”
Shot with an arrow was more like it. Of course, I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect and I hesitated a moment wondering what underwear I was sporting today. I tried to convince myself that it mattered not at all if he liked or disliked me. After all, it was obviously Suze’s idea and I was just another one of her many discoveries plus it was out of my hands and without the option of fleeing and losing my cushy job I decided to get it over with whatever happened. I am a very rational person. I rationalized that Larry would have to get a good look to at my body, to approve me for his magazine. But I admit, I panicked for a moment.
Now, I’m not saying I was particularly fond of this idea but as a single mom, it was appealing to me. The money I mean.
So here I stand in a suite of the Beverly Hills Hotel being asked nicely to remove my clothing with a bodyguard as the witness. I wondered if he was guarding me, or Larry. I had no problem with that. I just didn’t know what he was looking for exactly. I decided to take direction.
Flynt took my hand and guided me, “You can remove your clothing behind the screen, then please lay down on the bed?”
I will never forget lying on my back on the larger than King-size gold bedspread with Larry Flynt standing back, one arm across his waist and the other folded up with a finger in his mouth…as if he was contemplating the weather.
“Spread your legs; now bend your knees and spread them.”
“Sweetheart, turnover and push your ass into the air. Lower. We need to view your cunt from behind.” I took a deep breath, eyes rolling.
It was much like the acts my ex-husband asked me to assume. I just closed my eyes and succumbed to Mr. Flynt’s preferences. I was able to close my mind like I did when father molested me. I felt nothing. I had been taught well. This went way back with me. No problem. A mere reinactment. While I took orders I meditated on love, or rather nature. I imagined a time when snorkeling and found my true self-existing underwater. I would have settled for an existence as a sea urchin or any other creature without two legs. The swimmer that I am was able to omit the disturbance of full-on assault from my own father and husband.
I was twenty-eight years old. Not a scar nor a stretch mark on my body. In my mind, I was still as pure as a virgin. Do you think bad things only happen in the South? I never told a soul about father’s violations. Have faith, obey and ask no questions. I had been born with a level of awareness that those around me did not share. It was my innate early ability to think objectively: to trust my personal skepticism and recognize an untrue or impossible statement pressed on me by what I call Patriarchal bias. It did take some training via failed attempts to be normal or fit in, and here I am with a perfect opportunity to do so.
A few ticks of the clock went by as he paced, then came over and sat on the edge of the bed. His watery blue eyes met mine, “You want to model for me, Sarah?”
“I…I’m not sure,” I said with a half smile.
His large hand gripped mine when he helped me up like a gentleman would. I stood and dressed behind the screen, and stepped out. Then the three of us walked back to the elevator and descended to the bar as if it were actually normal. I was still in denial that I had just experienced the most bizarre afternoon of my life in the penthouse of the Beverly Hills Hotel. My head was spinning.
I guessed Larry and Suze had already hammered out their deal. Suze confided to me that because I’d hesitated he offered me five grand to follow through. I’m sure she got paid plenty for doing the shoot, and I got plenty too. Suze was already paying me a C-note per day which is the most I’d ever taken home on a job.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t completely innocent. I’d heard that Flynt was the first to show “pink” in his magazines and later was a controversial and hated man because of it. I was not to be Playboy Bunny material. It was one thing to spread a woman’s legs slightly, showing a little crotch, but to show the lips of her vagina was daring and obscene. Flynt was sued and nearly killed by an inflamed cultural backlash. But I met him long before all that when he still seemed like a harmless kid.
The day of my shoot I applied my own makeup, of course. I also wore a dark wig because Suze didn’t need another Swedish blonde. They decided to spin me as an exotic Spanish girl named Carmen. I wore a black garter belt with sheer stockings and very tall red patent high heels. I remember sticking my ass out into Suze’s camera when they got that shot Larry Flynt liked in his room. My layout was released in his newer magazine titled “Chic” that was perceived to be the higher class than Hustler, which thrilled me.
I became regular stand-in model material pretty quickly, sometimes on a stage with top-hat and cane as a backup to a scene. When I use the word scene I’m speaking of working ten hour days in a Quonset hut at one of the Hollywood film studio lots. The place was enormous. We shot in various bedroom sets, on stages, in living rooms and kitchens. I modeled a number of times for Suze; shots that ended up in Penthouse, Oui, and Cheri magazine. It was unknown to me how desirable they thought I was because I was an innocent in the industry. I couldn’t believe my luck.
To be continued… Part II: Hollywood with Suze Randall”